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The Turnaround

by George Pelecanos
read by Dion Graham

      One summer night Alex Pappas unwittingly gets into a car with two other white teenagers who drive into a poor black neighborhood. For fun they toss a cherry pie at some black teenagers and taunt them. In a short time the driver is dead, Alex is severely beaten and six lives are altered forever.

The author handles this situation deftly. The reader is fast forwarded to a time when these same teenagers are middle aged. Alexís young son has been killed in Iraq, and he meets one of black teenagers at Walter Reed Medical Center. Again the reader meets basically the same characters, but at this time some of the characters are trying to come to terms with "the incident." However, at least one character is trying to take advantage of the situation to cover up for his bad choices in life.

The novel has a strong sense of family, especially between fathers and sons. The situation between fathers and sons is strong but loving. Despite the tragic nature of the novel, the families seem to be well grounded.

The listener (in this case the audio version) is held in suspense as part of the cast tries to come to term with the consequences of the tragic incident while others want to exacerbate the situation and profit personally

The novel takes us from the rock and roll days of the 1970ís to the modern day Walter Reed Medical Center which has come under attack for its lack of caring for the veterans. The authors depicts both eras in a graphic and realistic faction.

Dion Graham does an excellent job in reading the novel especially when one considers the large number of characters involved in the plot. This is a very easy book to listen to. The suspense will keep the listener glued to the reading of the text.

The Book

Hachette Audio
August 1, 2008
Abridged Audiobook 5 CDís / 6 Hours
Noir Crime / Fiction
More at
NOTE: Violence and Sex

The Reviewer

Willie Elliott
Reviewed 2008
© 2008