- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
In the summer of 1976, the nation's capital is gearing up for the Bicentennial. Captain Beefheart's on the eight-track, and the hot new film "King Suckerman" has everyone talking. Two knockaround guys named Clay and Karras are out looking for trouble when they stumble onto a drug deal gone bad and end up with a pile of money that isn't theirs. When the well-armed dealer starts spilling blood to get to the cash, Clay and Karras must take a stand, go straight, and get justice—or ...
In the summer of 1976, the nation's capital is gearing up for the Bicentennial. Captain Beefheart's on the eight-track, and the hot new film "King Suckerman" has everyone talking. Two knockaround guys named Clay and Karras are out looking for trouble when they stumble onto a drug deal gone bad and end up with a pile of money that isn't theirs. When the well-armed dealer starts spilling blood to get to the cash, Clay and Karras must take a stand, go straight, and get justice—or maybe just sweet revenge.
One minute, big-talking dealer Eddie Marchetti and his executive assistant, Clarence Tate, are setting up a peaceful buy for visiting ex-con Wilton Cooper and his buddies; the next minute, Dimitri Karras and Marcus Clay, who've come to score some dope, have slightly overreacted to an insulting remark Eddie made to his stoned-out girlfriend Vivian Lee. The next thing you know, Dimitri and Marcus are backing out the door with Vivian and with $20,000 that isn't theirs. Eddie, who calls himself "Eddie Spags" and tries to talk like Superfly, is too gutless to do anything but goggle. But Cooper swings into action as swiftly as Dimitri and Marcus shut down his deal in the first place. Backed up by half-wit brothers Ronald and Russell Thomas and by Bobby Roy Clagget, a kid who'd rather shoot than get involved in a lot of talking, Cooper tracks his prey to their homes (a memorable high-wire scene between Cooper, polite as pie, and Dimitri's mother) and places of business (a predictable shoot-up at Marcus's record store). It's all for the money, of course—only it isn't: Dimitri and Marcus, who know they've made a big mistake, would love to find a safe way to offload the loot, and imperturbable Cooper isn't nearly as interested in recovering the coin—he insists he's only a broker on Eddie's behalf—as in exterminating the upstarts. Pelecanos keeps up the tension with constant collisions over race, sex, and what passes for honor, as the characters hurtle toward a climactic Fourth of July confrontation that reads like a downscale urban remake of The Wild Bunch.
Now that he's gotten rid of the outsized heroes of The Big Blowdown (1996), Pelecanos can concentrate on what he does best: showing lowlifes at work, bragging, sweating, killing. As Eddie Spags would say, this book smokes.
Posted February 17, 2008
For those who have yet to read Pelecanos, I would reccomend starting with this one. It is violent and funny and without a doubt his 'coolest' book. As the Karras/Clay series goes on it on it gets even better, more of the soul Pelecanos is known for. I started with the Karras/Clay trilogy (King Suckerman, The Sweet Forever, Shame the Devil) before reading the Strange/Quinn Quartet (Right as Rain, Hell to Pay, Soul Circus, Hard Revolution) and each book is great. But I'll always love the K/C trilogy the most. So unlike anything in crime fiction before or since. Basically three really great revenge stories. Pelecanos is the most organic crime writer alive, his books like the best of American movies - great genre stories with something bigger to say than their genre trappings usually allow (think Chinatown, The Wild Bunch, The Godfather).
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 20, 2010
I Also Recommend:
This is an amazing book!!! I just finished it about 30 seconds ago and I just had to spread the word out to all readers that George Pelecanos is one of the greatest crime novelists of all time. Pelecanos, along with peers such as Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, and Richard Price, write crime novels that are entertaining, heart-felt, and also very realistic.
I do not want to really describe the plot because the reader should just open this book and enter Washington D.C. in 1976. With the amazing writing from Pelecanos, it is not hard to do this. Pelecanos greatly describes the music, clothes, cars, movies and television shows of the period. Read all of his books along with all the books of the writers I have mentioned above, plus all the seasons of The Wire, you will not be dissapointed.
Posted October 17, 2007
I have read and enjoyed several of the more recent (2001 - 2004) Pelecanos books and bought this 1997 earlier one. It is mostly drugs, swearing, murder, masturbation and sodomy. My copy is going into the trash.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.