Customer Reviews for

Hell to Pay (Derek Strange & Terry Quinn Series #2)

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

The deliverance of hope in darkness

George Pelecanos is a crime novelist unlike any other. By page two (or even one), you know you're in GP territory. He has an indelible 'style' that is almost a 'non-style'. His dialogue, particularly among the hopeless who survive (literally) in the ghetto, is dead-a...
George Pelecanos is a crime novelist unlike any other. By page two (or even one), you know you're in GP territory. He has an indelible 'style' that is almost a 'non-style'. His dialogue, particularly among the hopeless who survive (literally) in the ghetto, is dead-accurate, often terrifying, and almost tactile. His books, at first blush, appear to be artless, but he paints painful pictures of the brutality of the streets. In 'Hell to Pay,' he offers us, once again, the imperfections of Derek Strange, a conflicted man of both great and weak moral strength. His girlfriend suspects he's on a mission to 'save the world,' and, of course, that's untrue. The world-weary, sadly pragmatic Strange only wants to save those few he thinks he CAN save among the ghetto's embattled and disaffected youth. Strange is an interesting protagonist -- no hard-boiled kick-ass, but a man in his late 50s who still harbors nostalgia over his late father, a cook in a Greek diner. His partner, Terry Quinn, the white man with rage in his veins, seemingly cannot resist the dangers of the ghetto and its thugs, who will never accept him, and regularly disrespect him. This pecularity in Quinn is a reminder of the torture of his inner conflict: he's a man seeking acceptance in BOTH worlds (white and black). Pelecanos has no 'seamless' plot with tricks galore (a la the brilliant Michael Connelly). He just drives a brutal story forward with dialogue that leaps from the page. I don't think anyone uses dialogue as a narrative device the way GP does. This is a strong story that, despite its terror and darkness, is about the possibility of salvation, the deliverance of hope that is personified in the imperfections and all-too-human flaws of Derek Strange.

posted by Anonymous on July 31, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Can't seem to engage me ..

Maybe I'm not "hip" enough to enjoy this book or maybe being a white, middle-class man prevents me from identifying with the poor, black characters in this book. Either way, Pelecanos, whose reviews are always great and is often favorably compared to other authors I enj...
Maybe I'm not "hip" enough to enjoy this book or maybe being a white, middle-class man prevents me from identifying with the poor, black characters in this book. Either way, Pelecanos, whose reviews are always great and is often favorably compared to other authors I enjoy like Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly, just doesn't do it for me in this one. I read RIGHT AS RAIN as well hoping that I'd like this series, but I just can't say I do. Maybe his other series is better and worth a look at.

posted by Anonymous on November 20, 2002

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  • Posted April 14, 2012

    Great read.

    Keeps you reading. Good book.

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    Good Read.

    First book I've read by George Pelecanos, liked it and will read more from him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2003

    Is it Fiction ?

    Nearly 25 years ago I lived near 14th street. The book got me immediately on the hook and I felt that it describes in a way reality.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

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