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Hell to Pay

Pelecanos, George

2,118 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0316695068 / ISBN 13: 9780316695060
Published by Little Brown, Boston, 2002
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

Breakout book for a writer who portrays the gritty underside of life in riveting novels usually set in Washington, D.C. Bookseller Inventory # 92150

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Hell to Pay

Publisher: Little Brown, Boston

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Cloth

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Derek Strange and Terry Quinn, the team of private investigators who made their stunning debut in Right As Rain, are hired to find a 14-year-old white girl from the suburbs who's run away from home and is now working as a prostitute. The two ex-cops think they know D.C.'s dangers, but nothing in their experience has prepared them for Worldwide Wilson, the pimp whose territory they're intruding upon.

Combining inimitable neighborhood flavor, action scenes that rank among the best in fiction, and a clear-eyed view of morality in a world with few rules, "Hell to Pay" is another Pelecanos masterpiece for his ever-expanding audience to savor.

Review:

In Hell to Pay, Washington, D.C., is just one more thug in an endless list of thugs who brutalize the poor, the weak, and the young. The primary victim this time is a rising star on Derek Strange's Pee Wee football team. In this city where making T-shirts for bereaved families of young murder victims is a full-time business, the boy is an accidental victim in a war between drug dealers and lowlifes.

Private investigator Strange, in his second George Pelecanos outing (after 2001's Right as Rain), has seen enough of this face of D.C. His relationship to his secretary/lover Janine sputters in the wake of increasing, irrational infidelities. His moral compass swings wildly as he tracks the killers, Garfield "Death" Potter and friends. Not knowing if he can be satisfied seeing these men in prison, Strange contemplates other brands of "justice."

For fans of Pelecanos, all the usual trappings are here: the hyper-real dialogue, the bloody street fights, the immersion in classic R&B, and the most current music on the streets. Pelecanos does stumble in a few places. His narrative becomes wooden at times, and his plot features a couple of glaring coincidences (e.g., Strange just happens to jot down the license plate of a car that later turns out to be the one driven by the murderers). But Pelecanos is the real deal in noir. If Dennis Lehane owns Boston and Michael Connelly is master of L.A., Pelecanos is dark D.C.'s intimate chronicler. --Patrick O'Kelley

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