The Big Blowdown (1996) by George P. Pelecanos Trade, Serpent's Tail, 313 p.
This is the first in George Pelecanos' 'DC Quartet' of crime novels that take place in the capitol. I'd heard of Pelecanos through his work on The Wire and then read the Quartet reviews over on Olman's blog in 2007. I finally pulled tis down off the shelf at the end of the year because I knew it would be a good read.
Needless to say, I was very pleased that I did. Pelecanos is a fine writer and he truly has a love for DC. The story follows Pete Karras, a Greek-American, in the 1940's after the war. It weaves a tale of crime, betrayal and friendship through the years. I won't post more here on the plot because the journey of discovery is really fun. I'll just say that the final confrontation is a real blast.
I'd say that this book is the best of the first two in the Quartet as I have only read those.