Little Brown / TimeWarner
Date: March, 2003
it at Amazon
Crime Fiction / Thriller
Notes: Explicit violence and language.
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
Strange Series, No 3
Soul Circus is
the eleventh crime novel by George Pelecanos, but just the second
I've read. My introduction to the author was in Hell to Pay,
his previous book. After I'd finished that one, I wasn't sure I
wanted to read another. There was something so unsettling about
the story he told; the characters, in particular, disturbed me.
There didn't seem to be a shining light in the bunch. When I look
back now, I realize that Pelecanos had done his job so thoroughly
that the troubling lives of the people in his book had affected
me like few novels do. Soul Circus treads on the same turf
in Washington, D.C., down in the trenches, where the drug dealers
and their posses rule and victims are plenty.
Derek Strange, ex-cop turned PI, has
married his longtime girlfriend, Janice, and has moved in with her
and her son Lionel. He's taken on work for the defense team of a
notorious drug dealer named Granville Oliver, who's about to go
on trial for murder. Strange needs to dig up some doubt that Granville
murdered his own uncle in order to help the man avoid the death
penalty. Despite what appears to be an impossible task, Strange
manages to find a lead: a woman named Devra Stokes, who used to
date Granville's rival and might have some info that points the
finger at the other man.
In the midst of his work for Granville's
defense team, Strange and his partner, Terry Quinn, are hired by
an odd-looking dude named Mario Durham to track down his old girlfriend.
They do it in a pinch, and soon find out the woman was murdered.
Their guilt over leading her killer right to her doorstep sparks
a fire in Strange and Quinn, and they go after Mario to make things
right, only to find themselves once again entangled in a world of
gangsters, drugs and guns where there's little--if any--respect
for human life.
One of the characters in Soul Circus
talks about being told by a "Muslim dude" that "it
was like we were in some kind of circus down here--and we were in
the ring, performing like the white man expects us to. One big ring
of souls, killin' each other while Mr. Charlie claps."
With chillingly stark prose and beautifully
Pelecanos takes readers to front row seats at this "soul circus,"
and it's often hard to watch. You may flinch now and then, but you
can't avert your eyes.
Reviews of other titles in
Hell to Pay,
No 2 [Book]
Soul Circus, No 3 [Book]
Hard Revolution, No 4 [Audio]