I too have recently started getting into Pelecanos. Many of his books are part of various series, so you could pick up the first in those series, e.g., KING SUCKERMAN (or THE BIG BLOWDOWN, which is sort of a "prequel" to that series) or RIGHT AS RAIN.
However, if you're a hardboiled fan, I'd recommend SHOEDOG, which is an excellent little stand-alone heist novel. I read this one a few months ago, and it felt to me like an homage to the "Parker" series, and I mean that in a very good way.
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