Wednesday, December 30, 2009

09.39 King Suckerman by George Pelecanos

King Suckerman (1979) by George Pelecanos
Trade, Serpent's Tail, 313 p.

This is the second book in the well regarded quadrilogy of Washington DC written by George Pelecanos. After reading the first, The Big Blowdown, I immediately picked up this one and started it. While not quite as good as the first, this novel definitely holds its own.

This book takes place in the 70s and is linked to the first with the son of Pete Karras being one of the main characters. Karras and his buddy Clay play basketball and generally get laid back. One day they get mixed up in a drug deal gone bad and end up with all the money and a funky lady. When the well-armed dealer starts spilling blood to get to the cash, Clay and Karras must take a stand, go straight, and get justice--or maybe just sweet revenge.

I really enjoyed the milieu of this book (1976 the Bicentennial year, Blaxploitation, drugs and basketball) but I didn't feel that the characters were as richly drawn as in the previous book. I am going to keep my eyes open for the final two in the DC Quartet, The Sweet Forever and Shame The Devil.

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