Tuesday, December 04, 2007

07.15 Drama City by George P. Pelecanos

Pelecanos Drama City

Drama City (2005) by George P. Pelecanos
Pbk, Warner Books, 308 p.

Pelecanos' books are strangely unavailable here in western Canada. They rarely show up in used book stores and the mainstream booksellers stock very little. Given that he is such a solid crime writer I find this extremely odd.

Of course, I heard about Pelecanos because he has contributed to some of the writing on one of my favorite television shows, The Wire. Additionally, my friend Olman reviewed a number of early Pelecanos (The Big Blowdown, King Suckerman, The Sweet Forever and Shame The Devil) books this year.

Drama City is less of a crime novel than a slice of life thriller. Lorenzo Brown is an ex-con who is now working for the Humane Society. He lives a small life that allows him to stay clean and keep a distance between himself and his old best friend, now a drug kingpin. The other thread in the novel tracks Rachel Lopez, a sexy parole officer who has her own battles with sex and alcohol.

The story is a fairly straightforward intertwining of these two characters in the world of DC gangs and the dogfighting world. Pelecanos' strength, it seems to me, is his ability to write in the voice of whichever character is on the page. The problem at least in this book is that the overall plot feels forced.

Still, this is one of his more recent novels and one problem that many long running genre authors have is that as their voice becomes more distinct, the writing becomes lazier. Nevertheless, this book was still a fairly entertaining, quick read.

1 comment:

Olman Feelyus said...

I think your final concern is very nicely put. I go back and forth with Pelecanos. He's always competent, but some of his books seem forced at times, as you said.

Ultimately, though, I like his stuff. I'm glad meezly referred him to me.

I don't know about the bookstores here, but there is a pretty good collection of his books at the library here. Maybe you should check out the Vancouver library.