Marcus Clay's record store is at the epicenter of the drug trade in Washington, D.C., in the mid-1980s. Dimitri Karras, his best friend and store manager, is rapidly developing a nasty drug habit. But things get worse when the two men witness the theft of the bag of a local drug lord who is willing to destroy the entire neighborhood to get it back. "A detailed and emotionally powerful crime novel."--"Chicago Tribune."
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George P. Pelecanos's latest book is not only a tremendously detailed and emotionally powerful crime novel but also a virtual compendium and update of his other excellent novels that are all similarly rooted in the nonpolitical neighborhoods of Washington, D.C. Brought back for major roles are Marcus Clay, Dimitri Karras, and other important players from King Suckerman. There are poignant cameos by Randolph of Shoedog as well as the two Nick Stefanos--grandfather and grandson--from The Big Blowdown, A Firing Offense, Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go, and Nick's Trip. As always, Pelecanos uses jabs of pop music, basketball, clothes, and cars to quickly root us in time and place.
It's 1986, 10 years after the Bicentennial events of King Suckerman, so a woman in her 30s wears a Susanna Hoffs-style haircut "from the cover of the 'All Over the Place' album, not the redone look off the new LP." Dimitri, after a brief career as a teacher, is now working full-time for his friend Marcus's expanded chain of four Real Right record stores; he drives a BMW 325 and wears his graying hair moussed and spiked. (He also snorts more cocaine than Al Pacino did in Scarface, one of several films used as icons here.) The doomed basketball star Len Bias--just finishing his college career and about to sign a huge deal with the Boston Celtics--is on TV screens everywhere, admired equally by the former local hoops hero Clay and a conflicted cop named Kevin Murphy who has misplaced his moral compass. The complicated, satisfying plot involves $25,000 stolen from a drug dealer; several children in peril; smart adults who screw up their lives in dumb ways; and the speed with which violence festers and explodes in unexpected directions. --Dick AdlerFrom the Back Cover:
It's March madness. And the college boys are playing basketball on TV. But on the streets of D.C., the homeboys are dealing, dissing, dying. From behind plate glass, with an 80s backbeat pounding in his brain, Marcus Clay watches it all happen, and prays that he can make a go with his downtown record store. Then a car comes careening down U Street. And what Marcus sees next will plunge him into the middle of a war.
A drug runner is decapitated in the crash. A bystander -- a white boy desperate to buy a woman's love -- snatches a bag of cash from the wreck. And a prince of crime wants it back. . . . For Marcus's buddy, Dimitri Karras, the mayhem is a chance to make a score. For a pair of dirty cops it's a chance to get free. And for dozens of lives swept up into the maelstrom, it's just another springtime in America's capital, where the game is played for keeps . . .
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