Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What It Was -- George Pelecanos

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear (1972) that some of us remember well. It was the time of blaxploitation, Plymouth Furies, Isaac Hayes (and Roberta Flack), Kool cigarettes, and just plain cool.

George Pelecanos knows the territory -- the music, the styles, the attitudes -- and they're all on display here as private-eye Derek Strange and his former partner, Frank Vaughn, go after a stone killer known as Red Fury (like the car). Red even has a soundtrack: "Red Fury, he's the man/Try and stop him if you can." If Red were into country music, he'd be singing, "Life fast, love hard, die young."

Readers familiar with Strange from previous books will be glad to meet his youthful self again. The novel is framed by the present-day Strange telling his tale to Nick Stafanos, and other familiar character, and it's a fast, lean story that moves like a Plymouth Fury peeling away from a stoplight. Check it out.

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