By George Pelecanos
Grand Central - 2003 (reviewed 2002)
Explicit sex, violence and language
Reviewed by: Susan McBride,
HELL TO PAY is the first book by George Pelecanos that I've read, though I'm almost ashamed to admit it, since he's widely praised as one of our best writers of crime fiction. I have to say that, having finished the novel last night, I had to think a lot about what I wanted to say. At the crux of the story is private investigator Derek Strange's search for truth, not only involving the drive-by shooting of a young boy who played football on his neighborhood football team and the background check of a prospective groom of a close friend's daughter, but also of a greater meaning of life in the hard urban war-zone that is D.C. A former police officer, Strange has experienced violence on every possible level, sometimes as a participate and sometimes as a witness. His own life isn't anywhere near perfect, and he wonders if it will ever be.
After reading HELL TO PAY, I felt a profound sense of sadness, for the people who inhabit Pelecanos' story, those who have to get up each day and worry about simply surviving. For readers who like tales that are gritty, graphic and real, I would dare to say Pelecanos is your man.
Reviews of other titles in this series.
Reviewer Susan McBride is the author of And Then She Was Gone, Overkill the Debutante Dropout mystery series,The Debs, The Debs: Love, Lies and Texas Dips, The Cougar Club, Little Black Dress
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