From Publishers Weekly Starred Review
In yet another gem of urban noir, bestseller Pelecanos (The Night Gardener) explores the possibility of making the turnaround, of starting over and building a new life, regardless of the past. One summer day in 1972, three teenage white boys—Alex Pappas and his friends Billy Cachoris and Pete Whitten—drive into a poor Washington, D.C., neighborhood, high on booze and weed, looking for trouble. They confront three young black men, Billy winds up dead and Alex badly beaten. In 2007, Alex runs the family coffee shop, as did his father, and grieves for his son, recently killed in Iraq. Then, one of the black survivors of the incident contacts Alex, opening a door that may finally put the trauma of the past to rest. At the same time, another survivor, the man who beat Alex, has gotten out of prison and has extortion on his mind. The result is a beautifully written and thought-provoking novel of crime, friendship, aging and redemption.
"Pelecanos does what few, if any, American writers do: He tells the truth. Twain told the truth; Faulkner toyed with the truth; Hemingway told his version of the truth and Chandler certainly told a cold, cynical truth. Pelecanos' truth is from deep in the heart, from places where red blood cells know more than all the sweet, heady words truth usually hides behind." (Chicago Sun-Times Randy Michael Signor )