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Summary and book reviews of Right As Rain by George Pelecanos

Right As Rain

by George Pelecanos

Right As Rain
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2001, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2002, 336 pages

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Book Summary

A masterwork of psychological intrigue and dramatic plotting leading up to an explosive, unforgettable climax.

George Pelecanos, "one of those dangerous writers who aren't afraid to take risks" (New York Times), delivers a brilliant and blazingly fast-paced novel about family secrets and retribution set on the dark side of Washington, D.C.—the side that politicians and diplomats never dare to enter.

Derek Strange is an ex-cop who's making a good living with his own business, a detective agency called Strange Investigations. A new case hits him close to home: A police officer has been slain by another policeman in a confusing late-night clash, and the dead officer's mother asks Strange to help her make sense of his killing. That mother's request sends Strange into the darkest chasms of the D.C. underworld, where police officers and criminals operate by their own secret laws, and where human life is sometimes of less consequence than cash, drugs, and other forms of currency. Strange is joined in his quest by Terry Quinn, the officer who was exonerated in the police inquiry into the shooting but who is still haunted by that terrifying night. Together Strange and Quinn confront the ravages of an unquenchable drug trade, the realities of race in the capital police force, and some of the most implacable, dead-eyed killers ever to haunt the pages of a novel.

The storytelling brilliance and emotional force of George Pelecanos's novels have led other masters of crime fiction to hail him as "one of the best crime novelists alive" (Dennis Lehane) and "the best-kept secret in crime fiction—maybe all fiction" (Michael Connelly). In Right as Rain he has written his most immediate and powerful book ever, a masterwork of psychological intrigue and dramatic plotting leading up to an explosive, unforgettable climax. It is a novel that confirms George Pelecanos's place among the giants of crime fiction.

Chapter One

What Derek Strange was worried about, looking at Jimmy Simmons sitting there, spilling over a chair on the other side of his desk, was that Simmons was going to pick some of Strange's personal shit up off the desktop in front of him and start winging it across the room. Either that or get to bawling like a damn baby. Strange didn't know which thing he wanted to happen less. He had some items on that desk that meant a lot to him: gifts women had given him over the years, tokens of gratitude from clients, and a couple of Redskins souvenirs from back in the 1960s. But watching a man cry, that was one thing he could not take.

"Tell me again, Derek." Simmons's lip was trembling, and pools of tears were threatening to break from the corners of his bloodshot eyes. "Tell me again what that motherfucker looked like, man."

"It's all in the report," said Strange.

"I'm gonna kill him, see? And right after that, I'm gonna kill his ass again."

"You're talkin' no sense,...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Library Journal

Anybody looking for nonstop adventure should be steered elsewhere (a Redskins game, maybe), but if readers like their action interspersed with conversations about the neighborhood and the good old days, Pelecanos delivers.

Publisher's Weekly

Nearly a decade after Pelecanos (Shame the Devil; Nick's Trip) introduced Nick Stefanos to the private eye scene, the hard-boiled specialist has come up with a new urban gumshoe who's just as tantalizing to watch in action..

Library Journal

Anybody looking for nonstop adventure should be steered elsewhere (a Redskins game, maybe), but if readers like their action interspersed with conversations about the neighborhood and the good old days, Pelecanos delivers.

Author Blurb Harlan Coben, author of Darkest Fear
Right As Rain is flat-out the best PI novel I've read this year-a massively entertaining, high-octane page-turner from George Pelecanos, one of our best writers.

Author Blurb Elmore Leonard, author of Pagan Babies
A terrific book, full of characters I wish I had thought of. With Right As Rain Pelecanos goes high on my list of writers I have to read.

Author Blurb Harlan Coben, author of Darkest Fear
Right As Rain is flat-out the best PI novel I've read this year-a massively entertaining, high-octane page-turner from George Pelecanos, one of our best writers.

Author Blurb Elmore Leonard, author of Pagan Babies
A terrific book, full of characters I wish I had thought of. With Right As Rain Pelecanos goes high on my list of writers I have to read.

Author Blurb James Crumley, author of The Last Good Kiss
Right As Rain is a fine book, a terrific read, a hard look at the underbelly of Washington, D.C., and a compelling story. It sparkles with intelligence, good humor, and a wonderful decency.

Author Blurb Robert Ferrigno, author of Heartbreaker
Right As Rain is Pelecano's best book yet, full of vivid characters, dead-on dialogue, and an intricate plot that never seems false or forced. I loved every page.

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