Summary and book reviews of Hard Revolution by George Pelecanos

Hard Revolution

A Novel

by George Pelecanos

Hard Revolution
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2004, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2005, 464 pages

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Book Summary

'Written in rich, observant prose, this is a brilliant study of a society tearing apart as racial tensions escalate after the King killing.' Publishers Weekly

Derek Strange is a rookie cop, the job he's dreamed of since he was a boy. His brother, Dennis, has not been as fortunate; home from the service with a disability pension and zero prospects, he is man with good intentions but bad habits. Derek has always looked out for Dennis, but no amount of brotherly love can save him from the dangerous world of Alvin Jones, a local bottom-feeder, hustler, and stone killer who draws him into his web of violence.

While the rookie cop navigates the rocky terrain of a city in turmoil, a family in crisis, and his love for a woman he has driven away, Frank Vaughn, a cop at the opposite end of his career, investigates the vicious hit and run of a young black man. Vaughn's personal life is a shambles, but he's good police; he pursues the killers with sharklike intent. Meanwhile, in Memphis, a prophet is murdered, igniting a volcanic chain of events that will leave the nation's capital burned, divided, and decimated, forever changing the lives of its working-class inhabitants.

Chapter One

DEREK STRANGE GOT down in a three-point stance. He breathed evenly, as his father had instructed him to do, and took in the pleasant smell of April. Magnolias, dogwoods, and cherry trees were in bloom around the city. The scent of their flowers, and the heavy fragrance of a nearby lilac bush growing against a residential fence, filled the air.

"You keep your back straight," said Derek, "like you're gonna set a dinner up on it. You ain't want your butt up in the air, either. That way you're ready. You just blow right out, like, and hit the holes. Bust on through."

Derek and his Saturday companion, Billy Georgelakos, were in an alley that ran behind the Three-Star Diner on a single-number block of Kennedy Street, at the eastern edge of Northwest D.C. Both were twelve years old.

"Like your man," said Billy, sitting on a milk crate, an Our Army at War comic book rolled tightly in his meaty hand.

"Yeah," said Derek. "Here go Jim Brown right here." ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Washington Post

George Pelecanos writes with intelligence and complexity, as well as with a sober recognition of the evil at large in the world.

Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, MS) - JC Patterson

Pelecanos has brought forth a street-tough humanity as tangible as a drive-by shooting and as passionate as a Shakespearian tragedy…. Do yourself a favor, pick up a Pelecanos today.

Esquire Magazine

Two cops struggling to do their jobs against the backdrop of a violent uprising Their paths collide in the middle of a full-fury revolution, in an electrifying climax to the most powerful book yet from George Pelecanos, the poet laureate of the D.C. crime world.

Newsweek - Malcolm Jones

Pelecanos has the first-rate writer's ability to entertain you and break your heart on the same page.

USA Today - Carol Memmott

Pelecanos's writing is as polished and exquisitely honed as the guns that wreak havoc in the neighborhoods where his novels are set.

Washington Post Book World - Maureen Corrigan

Pelecanos writes with intelligence and complexity, as well as with a sober recognition of the evil at large in the world.

Kirkus Reviews

The most conventionally ambitious of Pelecanos's sprawling studies of D.C. crime pat in its sociological determinism, harrowing in its portraits of each hopeless loser and the few ex-losers who escape.

Booklist - Bill Ott

Starred Review. Pelecanos has been justly celebrated for his noir sensibility and his gritty portraits of the streets of Washington, D.C., but he hasn't been recognized for what may be his greatest achievement redefining the art of writing serial fiction

Library Journal - Craig L Shufelt

As with the previous Strange works, this is a superior crime novel from one of the genre's outstanding writers.

Publishers Weekly

Written in rich, observant prose, the novel is a brilliant study of a society tearing apart as racial tensions escalate after the King killing; no wonder some observers have pointed to Pelecanos as the kind of thriller writer who should be nominated for a National Book Award.

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