Monday, 10 January 2011

"Shame the Devil" by George Pelecanos

Year: 2000
Number of Pages: 307 pages
Genre: Crime, thriller

Summary: Washington D.C., July 1995: Frank Farrow is a ruthless professional criminal and remorseless killer. When his robbery of a pizza parlour goes violently wrong, five of the restaurant's employees are shot dead, and a child is killed during the getaway. One of the robbers, who also happens to be Farrow's brother, is killed by a police officer, who is in turn severely wounded.
Two and a half years later and the robbery remains unsolved. The relatives of the dead are still trying to put their lives back together. However, Farrow and his fellow killer, Roman Otis, return to D.C. to get violent revenge on the cop who killed Farrow's brother. But they are not the only ones seeking vengence.

Opinions: George Pelecanos is probably best known for writing several episodes of the HBO television series The Wire (2002-2008). However he is also an acclaimed crime novelist whose novels are all set in and around his native Washington D.C. Like a lot of Pelecanos' work, this novel deals with themes of betrayal, loyalty, family, friendship, redemption and the difficulty of doing the right thing in a violent world, as well as classic American cars and soul and funk music of the seventies. This novel forms the final part of Pelecanos' "D.C. Quartet" (the others being The Big Blowdown (1996), King Suckerman (1997) and The Sweet Forever (1998)) and features regular Pelecanos characters Dimitri Karras and private investigator Nick Stefanos.
The book features a large cast of characters and a number of plot strands, with the main storyline almost being a subplot for most of the book.
Pelecanos is a talented writer with a fine grasp of character and detail and a strong ear for dialogue.
Definitely recommended for fans of crime fiction and thrillers.

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