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Hard Revolution: A Novel (Derek Strange & Terry Quinn #4)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  1,967 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
In this epic showdown from "one of the best crime novelists alive" (Dennis Lehane), police officer Derek Strange hunts his brother's killer through a city erupting with rage.
Published March 1st 2004 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2004)
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Dan Schwent
May 09, 2013 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, pelecanos
The Strange brothers grow up in Washington DC in the 1950's and 60's and take radically different paths. Derek becomes a cop while Dennis doesn't become much of anything. Can Dennis avoid ending up in jail for running with the wrong crowd? Can Derek keep his personal feelings out of his police work?

The fourth Derek Strange tale is a story from Derek's youth, showing what decisions he made that made him a bad ass private detective in the present day. Pelecanos uses historical events and the music
Jul 09, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strange & Stefanos are currently engaging in fisticuffs in my heart in order to determine who will be the number one man in my life. I love Derek Strange, but I didn't realize just how deeply those feelings ran until I met the young, police officer version of him. So, swoon! I didn't quite twig to the whole Alvin Jones connection & what that all meant, so it was a pleasant surprise to meet baby Granville Oliver, even though I didn't particularly care for the ending of Hell To Pay.
Sep 20, 2011 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read_2012
Similar in style and substance to Pelecanos’ penultimate DC Quartet, ‘Hard Revolution’ is the forth novel to feature Derek Strange. Rather than a follow-up to the last Strange and Quinn PI novel ‘Soul Circus’, ‘Hard Revolution’ takes us back to a younger Derek growing up in the late 50’s and then on to his career as a police officer timed around the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968.

The echoes of a revolution are omnipresent, racial vilification bears a similar resemblance to Ed Lacy’
Feb 02, 2010 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Hard Revolution works as a prequel for Pelecanos’s Quinn-Strange books and as an important piece in his interwoven portrait of Washington D.C. that he has painted via the medium of serial fiction. The ’68 riots and their influence on the city has long been a motif in his work. This moment of rage and self destruction that has cast a decades long shadow on the black working class and their neighborhoods. Pelecanos uses a stripped down reporter style delivery (even more than usual) that still mana
Χρήστος Καψάλης
Απλά τέλειο. Ένας κορυφαίος λογοτέχνης γράφει εξαιρετικά μια σκληρή ιστορία. Ο G.Pelecanos έχει το χάρισμα και την τύχη να είναι ένας από τους καλύτερους συγγραφείς της δεκαετίας μας. Το ότι γράφει noir ιστορίες είναι δική μας τύχη.

Όπως συνήθως, στις σελίδες της «Φλεγόμενης Πόλης» δεν θα βρείτε κανένα σασπένς με την κλασσικά αστυνομική έννοια του όρου. Κανένα κυνηγητό, καμιά έκπληξη, καμιά ανατρεπτική πλοκή. Κι όμως δεν θες να αφήσεις αυτό που διαβάζεις. Σαν να νιώθεις ένα γαργαλητό στον νωτιαίο
Larry Bassett
If you know popular (R&R, R&B, Motown) music, George Pelecanos will tell you what year it is by the tunes and the bands and other identifying details. Part I of Hard Revolution opens in the spring of 1959. I am not one who knows the music so the date on the lead page helps me out. You can just enjoy knowing that what you read in the next 71 pages is really taking you back to 1959 in metro DC. We meet Derek Strange as a teenager. We will get to know him better later in this book and in se ...more
May 12, 2010 Ice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, favorites
This fourth book in the Derek Strange cycle (Right as Rain, Hell to Pay, and Soul Circus precede it), finally takes longtime readers of Pelecanos to an event we've been waiting for him to deal with: Washington, D.C.'s 1968 riots. I wasn't even born until a few years after the riots, but growing up in D.C., it was hard to miss the physical and psychic scars they left on the city. Once again Pelecanos brilliantly uses the pulp crime novel as a vehicle for his sociocultural history of Washington, D ...more
Pelecanos was a writer/producer for best television show ever "The Wire," and most articles and reviews I've read about him stress how much more "literary" his crime novels are than his contemporaries'. I'll have to take the word of his books' blurbs for it that he's one of the best American crime novelists, but even though the two books I read by him were entertaining, they still have the same lack of subtlety and cliche (or "archetypical") characters and plots that make genre fiction genre fic ...more
Aug 16, 2009 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
my favorite of the derek strange novels by far, and the one where pelecanos pulls everything together into something really rich and surprising. truth be told, this is the first of the four novels i've read of his that approaches the scope of the wire (for which he was a screenwriter).

the story here cuts back to the late sixties, when strange was a rookie cop. as one part of an ensemble cast, strange's world opens up into a mini-universe, and the sense of what's to come (both in terms of the cha
Aug 24, 2015 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When is an historical novel not an historical novel? How about when it uses historical events as the backdrop, instead of the driver, of stories of everyday lives?

In Hard Revolution, the backdrop is the days and weeks in Washington, DC just before and after Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968. Derek Strange, Frank Vaughn, their friends, families, work mates, and adversaries, white and black, native-born and immigrant, go about their daily lives in the multifaceted ferment of late 60s DC
Dec 24, 2007 Tobey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
One minute I was learning who George Pelecanos was and the next I had a copy of this book in my hand. This book gives the background story of Derek Strange, one of Pelecanos' reoccuring characters. I read it first, and now I am excited to read more and see how the character was developed before this backstory was released.

Aug 05, 2008 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
excellent story
Robert Fegley
Good, but not his best effort.
Lauren Sandler
May 30, 2012 Lauren Sandler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brother gets a bit heavy handed at times, and needs to be a bit more selective about his florid references to every deep cut on DC radio, but man I was taken with this.
Jan 28, 2008 Guy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Uitgelezen: Hard Revolution (2004) van Amerikaanse misdaadschrijver George Pelecanos, wiens naam meer en meer lijkt op te duiken, zowel in binnen- als buitenland. En terecht, want deze schrijver, die in 1992 (op z’n vijfendertigste) debuteerde, is intussen uitgegroeid tot een van m’n favoriete misdaadschrijvers (samen met James Ellroy en Michael Connelly). Pelecanos is niet enkel een romanschrijver, maar ook essayist, script writer (hij schreef enkele episodes voor de geweldige HBO-serie The Wir ...more
Allison Kirchner
I read a newspaper interview with the author where Pelecanos said that "Hard Revolution" was one of his favorites and he would recommend it to someone reading him for the first time. I was also interested to see that Pelecanos is working with Michael Connelly on the new "Bosch" series available on Amazon.

I was lukewarm through the first few discs. The reader did black voices much better than white voices, and it took me a while to appreciate the different story lines. The book finished strongly
Aug 09, 2014 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, history
If you want a crime thriller with a fast plot, lots of action and suspense, then this is not the novel for you. I rated it 3 for those reasons.

But before you read my review, I would encourage you to read reviews by others who consider this book excellent... many more people seem to like this book than dislike it. I do not want my viewpoint to stop you from reading a book that you might enjoy.

But if you want to read a book that brings to life the culture, attitudes and drama of civil rights in th
Mar 22, 2017 Malamas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Για ακόμα μια φορά ωραίος ο Πελεκάνος. Ωραίοι χαρακτήρες, τους οποίους στους δίνει χειροπιαστούς, ώστε να μπεις στην ψυχοσύνθεση του καθενός. Το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο εκτός από τη μουσική με την οποία είναι επενδυμένο (όπως και όλα τα βιβλία του), είναι γεμάτο και ιστορικά γεγονότα από τις οδομαχίες μετά τη δολοφονία του Κινγκ.
Dec 19, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Hard Revolution" is a novel that shows a great writer, George Pelecanos, at the top of his game. Pelecanos writes in the crime fiction genre, and this novel is certainly crime fiction. However, given the level of detail, "Hard Revolution" could also be called historical fiction. It takes place in the upheaval leading up to and following the Martin Luther King assassination. Here, Pelecanos presents the city he loves in vivid detail as it struggles though that period of change and realignment we ...more
Tyler Collison
Oct 27, 2011 Tyler Collison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Pelecanos is often categorized as a crime writer. The inciting incidents in his novels are often crimes, and his protagonists are almost always motivated by justice (or revenge, but what's the difference?), but to call Pelecanos a "crime writer" is to pigeonhole him unfairly. In Hard Revolution he follows some cops around, but more than anything this novel is an emblem of a decade of civil unrest—that of MLK-era Washington, D.C.

In Revolution, Pelecanos follows factions of the ongoing raci
Sep 25, 2016 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a reader now, what I want in a work of fiction is great sentences, an approach to form, structure, and style that reveals an author's personality and point of view, and a story driven by complex characters first, plot and action second. I like authors who use words like musicians use sounds, photographers use light and shadow, and filmmakers use space and movement. I go to George Pelecanos, on the other hand, for the exact opposite of everything I've said above. He takes me back to what I wan ...more
Lisa H.
Nov 24, 2012 Lisa H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every time I pick up a George Pelecanos book, I have to convince myself to get it: his stories just don't seem to translate very well to compelling book-jacket blurbs. And every time, I am so glad I did.

What Pelecanos does so beautifully is to portray the often-boring everyday routines of police officers and petty criminals who may or may not have any direct interaction, interposing their stories as the characters cross paths at seemingly random points, until he pulls those threads in to a centr
Jan 24, 2013 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My boyfriend read “Hard Revolution” first. It was one of his $1.99 National Liquidator specials. He really didn’t like it all that much, but he kept insisting that I would. The author, George Pelecanos was a writer for “The Wire” (one of my all-time favorite series). So for me, that was reason enough to give his book a try.

The story takes place in Washington, DC from the 1950’s though the 60’s. Its main focus is on the racial tension of that era. The cast of characters, both black and white are
Sep 28, 2010 Trena rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This is some horrible writing.

One of my book clubs wanted to read a local author so we decided to give this guy a shot. I will give him that he did his research. He clearly went down to the library and copied down all the headlines from the Washington Post and Life magazine for the relevant time periods. Then he shuffled those headlines with a map and filled in the spaces with a few words.

The first section introduces a cast of thousands, each with no character development because there isn
Sarah O.
Nov 12, 2010 Sarah O. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I totally loved the atmosphere and characters of this book. I think Pelecanos does a fine job of summarizing the social mood at the time. The book takes place in 1969 and Derek Strange is just starting out in the Washington D.C. police force during a time of increased racial tension. The action of the book takes place during the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Washington D.C. riots that ensued. Strange has problems of his own, though, in investigating the hit-and-run murder ...more
Matt Allen
Mar 11, 2013 Matt Allen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reads
The final novel in Pelecanos's Strange/Quinn quartet is presented as a prequel. Like the timeline of the fourth related to the first three, I found Hard Revolution a step back.

I appreciate what Pelecanos tried to do. Something very macro--a snapshot of a real time and culture told through the micro focus of fictional heroes and villains. Very Dennis Lehane and The Given Day. Both books had a bit of distance in the narrative that didn't really work for me.

With a plot that's long to unfold, it's
Apr 02, 2012 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard Revolution By George Pelecanos

If you've never read any George Pelecanos this
prequel would be a good place to start, as
although it wasn't his first book it takes you
right back to the roots of Derek Strange and
several other regular Pelecanos characters, back
in the 60's this book which is set a few weeks
prior to the murder of Martin Luther king and in
the ensuing riots in Washington really sets up
the other novels where George pelecanos uses
many of the core caracters such as Nick Stefa
Jan 30, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What really makes this book special is the backdrop of Washington D.C. in the late-1960's and all the upheaval that was going on at this time. One of the characters explains that no revolution is ever easy, and the results of this time are being seen in today's current environment. I loved the descriptions of the characters through the kind of music they liked and listened to and why. It was a very unique way to get to know them, but one should be familiar with the music and artists in order to ...more
Brian Grover
I haven't read any of the others, but this is a "prequel" to a series of books Pelecanos has written about a DC cop named Derek Strange. This sets the table with some events in the late '50s when strange is just a kid in danger of falling in with a bad crowed, then jumps forward to 1968, when he's a rookie cop. Over the course of a week his ne'er do well brother is murdered, then MLK is assassinated and Strange has to deal with a city erupting in riot as he hunts his brother's killer.

Pelecanos i
Aug 03, 2008 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More than a crime novel, this book is really a study of race relations in the 1960's. It took me a while to get into the flow of the book and to keep the various characters straight, but it was definitely worth the effort. Pelecanos is a master at creating narrative tension; you know what's going to happen, you just don't know exactly how it's all going to unfold, and the joy of the book is sticking with it to find out. He does a great job capturing speech patterns and attitudes; I find myself c ...more
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George P. Pelecanos (born 1957 in Washington, D.C.) is an American author of detective fiction set primarily in the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. He is also a film and television producer and a television writer. He has worked extensively on the HBO series The Wire. His novels use an ensemble cast of characters, following their exploits across several generations. While there are ...more
More about George Pelecanos...

Other Books in the Series

Derek Strange & Terry Quinn (5 books)
  • Right as Rain (Derek Strange and Terry Quinn #1)
  • Hell to Pay
  • Soul Circus (Derek Strange and Terry Quinn, #3)
  • What It Was

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