Monday, August 22, 2005

"Shoedog" by George Pelecanos

Few crime novelists can hook you like George Pelecanos. His 1994 stand-alone “Shoedog” was out-of-print until last fall in paperback….great news!

There are no good guys in this tale of violence, extreme betrayal and social realism. Every character is morally questionable. Like great film-noir, the cast is either anti-hero or villain.

After drifting worldwide for seventeen years, Constantine decides to hitchhike back to DC. He accepts a ride from an older hood called Polk (everyone in “Shoedog” goes by one name).

Outside DC, Polk needs to make a stop to “collect some dough.” That stop sets a dreadfully dark caper in motion for Constantine.

A dual liquor robbery in DC on payday…two inside men on both jobs and a driver. Well cased and set up…it looks okay…and no one has a chance to say no.

In the great noir tradition a woman upsets loyalties and outsiders are after Polk.

The dénouement is stunning and will resound in your mind for an extensive period.

Packed with remarkable dialogue, suspense, treachery, fanatical duplicity and filled with superb pop culture references, “Shoedog” is best read in black and white.

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