Wednesday, May 7, 2014

SHOEDOG by George Pelecanos


George Pelecanos has mentioned before that with Shoedog, one of his earliest novels, he wanted to write a no-frills, hard-boiled, straight up paperback crime thriller that can be read in one afternoon. With me, he succeeded. Shoedog starts off blazing, with a tour-de-force 2nd chapter that skillfully sets up the entire eventful backstory of the lead character Constantine. And it never lags during it's exciting tale about our antihero, an aimless drifter who finally returns home to inner-city DC, and gets involved in a heist that is just aching to go wrong. It definitely feels different from all the other books Pelecanos has written, in that it has the dark, depressing sense of nihilistic atmosphere that's present in many of the classic noir dramas.

Pelecanos's wonderful knack of creating interesting and genuine characters is on display here as well, including the level-headed and hard-working Randolph, who takes real pride in his job at selling women's shoes and who might just be Constantine's only help when shit hits the fan. Another solid one from one of my favorite writers. And it has a great final line.

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