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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
George Pelecanos takes a step back in time to give us a prequel to his bestselling and highly admired Derek Strange P.I. series (Soul Circus, Hell to Pay, Right as Rain), allowing a greater insight into the development of Strange's tough-guy, justice-at-any-cost character.
In 1968, weeks before the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and at the height of the battle for civil rights, Strange is a young black cop new to the police force and partnered with an older white man. By contrast, his brother Dennis is getting deeper into crime as he and some acquaintances plan to knock over a convenience store. Strange's personal issues and family matters take a backseat to the explosive times, as Washington's inner city erupts in riots following Kings' murder.
Pelecanos's vivid, astute, and meaningful narrative makes Hard Revolution an accomplished study of a culture tearing itself to pieces in the face of major social change. The conflicts of the world at large are perfectly represented in the protagonist, as Strange is forced to fight against his brother, neighbors who condemn him for serving the white power structure, and, ultimately himself. It's a true testament to Pelecanos's skill that no single plot element or story thread -- including the senseless murder of a black man by a drunken trio of white bank robbers -- outweighs the others. He uses his adept noir sensibility to further define personal tragedy and its greater symbolic meaning.