Shoedog

( 4 )

Overview

From "the poet laureate of the D.C. crime world" ("Esquire") comes this powerful early novel, now available in paperback for the first time—the noirish story of how a Washington, D.C., liquor store heist shows a drifter named Constantine what it means to be a shoedog. Martin's Press.

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Shoedog

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Overview

From "the poet laureate of the D.C. crime world" ("Esquire") comes this powerful early novel, now available in paperback for the first time—the noirish story of how a Washington, D.C., liquor store heist shows a drifter named Constantine what it means to be a shoedog. Martin's Press.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sixty years ago, in The Postman Always Rings Twice , James M. Cain established the drifter as a dark knight of American crime fiction. Pelecanos ( Nick's Trip ) continues that tradition here, following Constantine, an enigmatic wanderer who falls into a den of thieves and disproves the adage that there's no honor among them. Hitchhiking south from Maryland to nowhere, Constantine takes a lift from an old man who stops at a country mansion to get some money. There Grimes, an equally old but wealthy man who organizes heists as a hobby, invites the pair to help rob two D.C. liquor stores. Swayed by ``the Beat'' (``the Beat was knowing that he was into something wrong, and the fear of it, and the point when the fear was no longer there. It was a hot buzz . . .''), Constantine signs on as a driver. He and his colleagues, who are all being blackmailed by Grimes, drink, plan and pick up women, with Constantine dangerously zeroing in on Grimes's young lover (``there was a freshness in her like newly printed money''). The robberies themselves, marred by a doublecross, go down fast and bad, leading Constantine to avenge his fallen partners by taking justice into his own hands. All sinners, none saints, the small-time hoods in this authentic world are crisply limned here in their fallible humanity. (May)
Emily Melton
Constantine is a burned-out, jive-loving, booze-guzzling, sex-junkie, chain-smoking, longhaired druggie loner who's searching for something he'll never find. Leaving his Washington, D.C., home at age 17, Constantine has circled the globe, traveling light, sleeping in fleabags and flophouses, working every kind of odd job from slinging hash to cleaning toilets. Back in the U.S. after years of roaming, Constantine hitches a ride with Polk, an old geezer headed for Florida. But there's one stop Polk needs to make, and it turns out to be a stop that changes Constantine's life forever. Grimes, an old army buddy of Polk's, offers the two men big bucks if they'll rob a liquor store--an easy, quick, in-and-out holdup. But things go badly wrong, and in the aftermath of the violence come tragedy and death. In the best tradition of hard-boiled fiction, Pelecanos' haunting, gritty story works its way deep into his readers' collective psyches, simultaneously shocking, attracting, and repelling us with its unvarnished, unbeautiful realism and its explosive, stomach-churning violence. An exceptional, memorable book from a fine writer who is also the author of the equally impressive Nick Stefanos series, which includes "Nick's Trip".
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446610742
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/4/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 625,759
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

George Pelecanos is the author of several highly praised and bestselling novels, including The Cut, What It Was, The Way Home, The Turnaround, and The Night Gardener. He is also an independent-film producer, an essayist, and the recipient of numerous international writing awards. He was a producer and Emmy-nominated writer for The Wire and currently writes for the acclaimed HBO series Treme. He lives in Maryland.

Biography

Few writers have employed the mean streets of Washington, D.C. as effectively as George Pelecanos, the award-winning author of two acclaimed detective series and several standalone noirs of exceptional quality.

Pelecanos debuted in 1992, with A Firing Offense, a fast-paced crime novel that introduced Nick Stefanos, a Greek-American advertising executive for an electronics chain who is reluctantly drawn into investigative work when a stock boy at his company goes missing. By book's end, Nick has lost his job and applied for his P.I. license, paving the way for further (mis)adventures. Neverthless, the series has proved anything but predictable. Some books move forward in time to reveal Nick's sad descent into alcoholism; others flash back to investigate his family's past—with Nick relegated to cameo appearances in stories that span several generations and feature a cast of interrelated characters. Beloved by readers and critics alike, the Stefanos books cast unsparing light on a city tragically mired in crime, poverty, and racism.

In his Derek Strange and Terry Quinn series, Pelecanos delves further into the racial and cultural divide between white and black. Beginning with 2001's Right as Rain, these novels feature a "salt and pepper" team of ex-cops turned detectives who forge an uneasy friendship as they investigate cases in the blighted heart of D.C. The very model of noir, the stories are steeped in the violence, brutality, and despair of urban life, but the dynamic between the tough but sensitive Strange and his younger, more volatile partner offers a hopeful and humanizing counterbalance.

A distinguishing characteristic of Pelecanos's writing is an inclusion of musical references to create atmosphere, anchor period settings, and develop his characters' personalities. (His 2004 novel Hard Revolution, a prequel to the Strange/Quinn books, was packaged in limited quantity with a CD of '70s soul music.) Pelecanos has also published mysteries and thrillers, short fiction, reviews and essays, and screenplays for film and television—most notably HBO's superb urban procedural The Wire.

Good To Know

In our interview, Pelecanos shared some interesting anecdotes about past gigs:

"I began to work at my father's lunch counter in downtown D. C. when I was 11 years old, the summer after the riots of April 1968. It was the single most influential experience of my life. Everything I've written about since has seeds in that summer."

"Another good job I had was selling women's shoes, for obvious reasons. Writing for a living isn't bad, either. It beats digging ditches or washing dishes. I know, because I've done those things, too."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2014

    Lorrie

    Why is the $6.99 copy " not availale for purchase at this time" but the $9.99 one is ? Whats that about ?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Shoedog

    George Pelecanos is my favorite author. All of his books are incredibly fun and are like watching a great movie. Shoedog is not a series novel, so it has a different feel to his Strange, D.C, or Stefanos novels, and Pelecanos wanted to go for that 70's action/hard-boiled novel feel and the reader can easily see that he succeeds. I read this in less than half a day because I couldn't put it down. This was a fun book, as are all of Pelecanos' books are.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2005

    Could've been better

    the ending was too abrupt. Many characters storlines went nowhere(Weiner for example and Shoedog himself). Also the title was misleading. It wasn't even the lead character.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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