RARA-AVIS: Soul Circus

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 25 Mar 2003

Has anyone read the new one from our old friend Mr. Pelecanos, SOUL CIRCUS
(2003)? I noticed he was going on tour and called a store in Seattle where was doing a signing and had them ship up a copy. I had a bunch of stuff to do Saturday, but I couldn't put the book down. Now I'm short on sleep and behind on an essay, but it was worth it.

Bad reviewers still sometimes say that a crime book is so good it
"transcends the genre" and becomes actual literature. Pelecanos's stuff is some of the best writing in the US these days, and we all know it, and we don't need to make up any nonsense about leaving the genre. This book finishes up the Derek Strange/Terry Quinn story from RIGHT AS RAIN (2001) and HELL TO PAY (2002). (It also has an update on how Marcus Clay and Nick Stefanos are doing.) It's got the music, the westerns, the gunfights and shootouts, the gangsters, the losers, the cars, the women, the drugs, and the badass behaviour we expect. It's also got the deeper issues: race, politics, guns and society, honour, fate, raising children, love, redemption, how to be a decent person in a bad world. It's all wrapped up in the streets of Washington and Pelecanos's terse, natural style and large cast of characters.

All that and he does it regularly every year.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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