What It Was [NOOK Book]

Overview

Washington, D.C., 1972. Derek Strange has left the police department and set up shop as a private investigator. His former partner, Frank "Hound Dog" Vaughn, is still on the force. When a young woman comes to Strange asking for his help recovering a cheap ring she claims has sentimental value, the case leads him onto Vaughn's turf, where a local drug addict's been murdered, shot point-blank in his apartment. Soon both men are on the trail of a ruthless killer: Red Fury, so called for his looks and the car his ...
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What It Was

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Overview

Washington, D.C., 1972. Derek Strange has left the police department and set up shop as a private investigator. His former partner, Frank "Hound Dog" Vaughn, is still on the force. When a young woman comes to Strange asking for his help recovering a cheap ring she claims has sentimental value, the case leads him onto Vaughn's turf, where a local drug addict's been murdered, shot point-blank in his apartment. Soon both men are on the trail of a ruthless killer: Red Fury, so called for his looks and the car his girlfriend drives, but a name that fits his personality all too well. Red Fury doesn't have a retirement plan, as Vaughn points out - he doesn't care who he has to cross, or kill, to get what he wants. As the violence escalates and the stakes get higher, Strange and Vaughn know the only way to catch their man is to do it their own way.

Rich with details of place and time - the cars, the music, the clothes - and fueled by non-stop action, this is Pelecanos writing in the hard-boiled noir style that won him his earliest fans and placed him firmly in the ranks of the top crime writers in America.
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Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
…a sleek, fast-paced crime tale…
—The New York Times
Patrick Anderson
In recent decades, as American crime fiction has reached new heights, a few novels have been outstanding, including Dennis Lehane's Mystic River, Laura Lippman's What the Dead Know and Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series. The five [Derek] Strange novels belong on that list. They're about crime, but, finally, they're a profound meditation on good and evil in this city, mostly in parts of it that many of us pass through often but never really see.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
At the start of this action-driven novel, a special treat for longtime Pelecanos fans, two old friends, Derek Strange and Nick Stefanos, enjoy a few drinks in a Washington, D.C., bar, where Strange relates a story that has become the stuff of myth on the streets. Flashback to 1972, one of the most volatile and exciting years in the country's history. Strange, who left the D.C. police force after the ‘68 riots, has set up shop as a private investigator. A young woman hires Strange to find a stolen ring, and the case soon leads him to a homicide scene, where he meets up with his former partner, Frank "Hound Dog" Vaughn. Vaughn is on the trail of a killer, Robert Lee Jones, whose street name, Red Fury, fits not just his temperament but his formidable girlfriend's sleek red-over-white Plymouth Fury GT Sport. As Vaughn and Strange work their respective cases, a series of increasingly brazen and violent crimes keep bringing them together. They quickly realize that the only way to take down Red Fury is to do it their own way. Inspired by a real chapter in D.C. history, Pelecanos (The Cut) gives us the rich period detail—the cars, clothes, music, and attitude—of the 1970s. Agent: Sloan Harris, ICM. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316209557
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 1/23/2012
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 104,828
  • File size: 2 MB

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 4
( 43 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    recommended

    great characters and dialogue

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    Good Book

    Very good book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    As always, Pelecanos a good read

    Exciting from beginning to end. Great protagonists, and a good story line.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 2, 2012

    If you lived then read this now!

    From the clothes to the cars the characters are genuine and I felt like I was in a time machine. Thats why I read so much to escape reality. Am I alone in this?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2012

    liked it

    Liked the book and will go out of my way to read more by the author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Exciting

    Starts slow, but picks up pace and i sure consider it a pageturner.

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  • Posted April 27, 2012

    Makes me want to read more Pelecanos

    Great read. Brought back memories of another time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2012

    Too boring!!!!

    I couldn't get into the charactors, so i didn'r finish the book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012

    Highly Recommend

    I really enjoyed this book. I suffered with the main character through all of his choices. I enjoyed the ending also.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 7, 2012

    Not what I expected.

    Didn't relate with any of the characters. Didn't like the story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    Good read.

    Not all world, but very good reading, especially if you grew up in the 70's.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 27, 2012

    Not what I was expecting.

    It turned out to be an interesting story. Was surprised how it ended.

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

    Not what I expected- well worth the time to read!

    Not something I would typically pick for a book but the era seemed interesting so I decided to go for it. Vivid, detailed descriptions and colorful characters- it read like a movie. I highly recommend it if you can handle the underworld action and the sometimes blurry lines between the good guys and the bad guys.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 23, 2012

    good book

    well written entertaining book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

    its ok

    'what is was' - well what is was is just ok.... I didn't even finish it as it failed to hold my attention .....

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2012

    not my type of reading

    couldn't get past the first couple of chapters, didn't keep my interest.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012

    Ok

    Too much, where was the other entire police force, the fact that nobody could find red who was right under their nose.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews

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