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Nick's Trip (Nick Stefanos #2)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  1,124 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
The second title in the Nick Stefanos series. Pelecanos is hot.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Serpent's Tail (first published January 1st 1993)
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Dan Schwent
Mar 24, 2013 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
Whe a high school friend of Nick's hires him to find his missing wife, Nick takes the case and quickly finds out nothing is as it seems. While Nick looks for the wife, he also looks into the murder of a reporter friend of his. Are the two events linked? Will Nick be able to solve the cases and escape with his life?

As Nick Stefanos' life continues to side downhill, pushed by a waterfall of booze, my esteem for George Pelecanos continutes to rise. Nick's Trip, much like the previous novel, A Firin
Apr 03, 2013 Kemper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nick Stefanos walked away from his job as head of advertising for an electronics retailer to become a private investigator. At least that was the plan, but with the detective business being slow, Nick is also working as a bartender in a dive that lets him regularly indulge in his main hobby of binge drinking.

You might think that getting hired by his old friend Billy to track down his missing wife would get Nick to put a cork in the jug, but you’d be wrong. Billy was doing business with a small-t
James Thane
This is the second installment in George Pelecanos's trilogy featuring Nick Stefanos, who lives in Washington, D.C. When last seen in A Firing Offense, Nick had left his job at Nutty Nathan's electronic store and had gotten his license as a P.I. Clients are few and far between, though, and so Nick takes a job as a bartender in a dive bar called the Spot where there's never a lack of clients.

There's no lack of booze at the Spot either, and Nick seems in danger of watching his young life slip away
Nov 06, 2015 Ted rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
”Now one of those sows – that one over there – she’s lyin’ back because she senses it’s her time to die. I haven’t fed her for twenty-four hours, for the reason of the mess the killin’ makes if there’s food in her belly …”


George Pelecanos’ second novel, published in 1993. This is the second of the three “Nick Stefanos” novels (the others being A Firing Offense (1992) and Down By the River Where the Dead Men Go (1995).

Narrated by the main character (named – can you guess? …
Jun 05, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it
Oh Nick, Nick, you crazy fool, you. I'm doing a sober month right now, but in July, let's totally hook up & do shots of bourbon & drink beers all night long, shall we? At least once all the bang-bang is done, because I'm happy to leave all bit that to you. And as much as I'd like to join you on the cigarettes, I'm afraid I'll have to pass on those too, because I am not going down that road ever again.

First off, I am absolutely mad for the covers of the Serpent's Tail editions of these b
Oct 18, 2013 Josh rated it liked it
NICK'S TRIP is a booze soaked road trip into the underbelly of greed and deceit. What looks to be a simple enough missing persons case turns complex when Nick's high school friend casually omits portions of the truth to travel with Nick down memory lane, all the while building lies and laying the foundation for murder.

Unlike A FIRING OFFENCE, Nick Stefanos is a fully fledged PI working in a bar to supplement his chosen career. This allows him to pick and choose his caseload. So when an old high
Larry Bassett
Jan 22, 2011 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, crime
Nick’s Tripwas originally published in 1993. It is also Pelecanos’ second published book. You will note that my links are leading you to the individual books on GR rather than the collected book Three Great Novels Down By The River A Firing Offense Nick's Trip that I am reading. I think the Three Great Novels book is a rather rare find. I think I just lucked out and found a relatively cheap one.

I thought that this book, the second in the trio, is much better than the first. For me, I found it t
Michael Martz
Oct 06, 2016 Michael Martz rated it really liked it
I began reading George Pelecanos after binge-watching The Wire a few years back and discovering he was one of the creative minds behind it. I've bounced around in his catalog ever since and finally got around to Nick's Trip, his 2nd novel. It's a beaut, with a good plot, great characters, and real noir writing.

As with all his books, Pelecanos has a knack for painting a scene, particularly those set in the DC area. He obviously is a music fan and always includes aural sensations in his prose, wh
Nov 30, 2008 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Nick Stefanos, newly licensed P.I., has discovered that just hanging out the shingle in the yellow pages is not enough to bring in hoards of customers, so to help pay the rent he hires out as a bartender to help make ends meet. That’s where his old drinking buddy, Billy Goodrich, finds him, hoping to secure Nick’s investigative services. It seems Billy’s wife, April, has run off and disappeared, ostensibly with Joey DiGiardano, son of an aging local crime boss. For old time’s sake, Nick takes th ...more
May 31, 2016 Julie rated it liked it
Again, a fun, energetic romp through the early Pelecanos series featuring the obviously semi-autobiographical bartender/electronics salesguy/private eye, Nick Stefanos. Although it was an enjoyable read, I became increasingly annoyed by all the "magical" business. Not literally supernatural, thank God, but annoying none-the-less.

For instance, we've got this magic dog, one that never needs to be fed, watered, walked, groomed, or paid attention to. This is the kind of dog who, the one time he is l
Tim Niland
Jun 09, 2014 Tim Niland rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
This is the second novel in the Nick Stephanos trilogy, Nick is a former retail executive turned private investigator. Business on the PI front is pretty weak for Nick, and he is tending bar at a dive called The Spot in order to make ends meet. When a friend from his teenage years comes to the bar looking to hire Nick to find his estranged wife, Nick reluctantly takes on the case. It turns out that the wife had taken on with a local mob figure and then absconded with a large amount of money befo ...more
Jun 21, 2011 Katherine rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
*Really, I'd give this 3.5 stars.
“ 'You worry too much,' I said, but judging from the pale look on Billy's face, that bit of analysis didn't help” (32).
“...and his partner was the saxman, an aging, bottom-heavy Greek I had seen around town who took his scotch through a straw” (32).
“As I watched him cross the room, I felt an odd sadness, that sense of irrevocable loss one feels upon seeing a friend who has changed so drastically over so many years” (36).
“ '...and shut her eyes, shut her eyes slow
Apr 08, 2011 David rated it really liked it
I read "Nick's Trip" right after "A Firing Offense". It is an improvement. Unlike the first book, this one seems to have a fairly coherent plot that is stretched evenly throughout the book and comes to a satisfactory end. There are diversions into drug binges and drunken benders, and an interesting subplot with a lesbian who wants to become a mom. However, in this novel, the diversions are secondary to the plot.

Unfortunately, Pelecanos' greatest creation from the first novel, Johnny McGinnes, is
Al Santiago
Feb 11, 2015 Al Santiago rated it it was ok
This second novel in the Nick Stefanos series fails to measure up to the cleverness of the first novel, A Firing Offense. Now a fully-licensed gumshoe, Stefanos drifts (and drinks in an absurd fashion) through his investigations laboriously trying to come off like a bad-ass while contemplating existential ramblings in a cheap knock off of Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn. The story line felt very "Dick Wolf-ish" (Law & Order) and only my obsessive compulsion that requires me to finish a bo ...more
Mar 13, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it
Nick has problems. Specifically, he has one underlying problem at the heart of his estrangement from friends, lovers, and family. This problem is never explained or resolved in this volume, but I don't mind. As with the first installment in this series, there are music and pop culture references galore. The plot is tight and the writing entertaining.
Paul Bryant
Oct 31, 2007 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: thriller fans
I don't read many crime novels but I read this and it was very excellent, almost believable, if that isn't asking too much of a thriller.
Sep 09, 2012 Tfitoby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
Endless descriptions of bars and what music plays and what street he's driving on. It gets a little tedious. I probably won't bother with the third Stefanos book.
Dave N
Jan 16, 2017 Dave N rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-noir
Compared with the first book in the series, A Firing Offense, Nick's Trip starts off on a much better note. The Spot is a much more interesting backdrop than the electronics store, and Stefanos feels less like a professional pursuing a hobby (or obsession) and more like a broken down drunk, which makes the character more likable somehow. Add to that another great road trip like the one with McGinness in Offense (two, if you count the retelling of his earlier trip) and you have what should add up ...more
Jan 28, 2017 Aditya rated it liked it
Mini Review

An alcoholic solves a couple of murders (one of them is solved by the neighboring hobo); drinks an unnaturally, odious amount of alcohol (Pelecanos somehow converts drinking into an ostentatious act deriving a voyeuristic pleasure from describing it); sprouts cynical witticisms that feels completely forced (because he essentially behaves like a stupid teenager just after he had delivered the latest bombastic platitude) and listens to atrocious hippie music (on the plus side you will r
Toby Turner
Jan 11, 2017 Toby Turner rated it it was amazing
Second book in the series and the standard gets higher. Pelecanos delivers both in pace and description. I can't recommend highly enough
Jan 05, 2009 Stop added it
Shelves: interviewees
Read the STOP SMILING interview with George Pelecanos:

This interview appeared in the STOP SMILING DC Issue

The Stop Smiling Interview with George Pelecanos
By Walker Lamond

It turns out the paper coasters on George Pelecanos’ coffee table were lifted from the short-lived City Museum of DC. Printed up to promote the museum’s opening and tout the city’s hometown heroes, they read, “Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Elmore Leonard, all rolled into one Silver Spring boy.” Pelecanos
David Sayre
Mar 28, 2016 David Sayre rated it really liked it
This was a terrific continuation of the Nick Stefanos series that Pelecanos began with "A Firing Offense".

One of the things I liked best about this story was that the writer shows the official beginning of Nick's private detective career. Nick works part-time as a bartender, a job he took once he realized that the private detection business may not pay enough for him to live on. It allows for some interesting dynamics in Nick's life.

Perhaps one of the aspects of this story, as in most of Pelecan
Sep 14, 2013 Gordon rated it liked it
Nick's Trip is grim and strong like Chandler. Pelecanos, to those who are familiar with The Wire is one of the Baltimore boys club that wrote for it in the early days. He has the sparse, pure style of the best journalists and a familiarity with drinking and smoking that old journalists understood and embraced as the necessities of their job. Nick, the central character of this book, is a private detective who undertakes a trip for his old friend, Billy, to find his missing wife. As with the best ...more
Apr 12, 2011 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nick Stefanos, DC bartender with a new P.I. license, lives in a noir world--a world where honor and friendship are the things that matter most, and where violence and betrayal hide in every shadowy alley and in the darkened corners of dreary old-man taverns. When his old friend Billy Goodrich, co-pilot of Nick's fabled coming-of-age trip at 18, appears in the Spot requesting Nick's help in locating his missing wife, Nick readily agrees. A man is there for his friends, even those he hasn't seen i ...more
3.5 stars for me...

A year later in Nick's life he is bartending and doing his PI stuff on the side. His old friend contacts him. He needs his help to find his wife April. The whole case is a slippery slope of who done it. Money is involved which is really all anyone wants back. April really just is collateral damage.

This is the second book of the series and as with the first I am saying I liked it but really have no clue as why. It just sucks you in.

And the side stories, I thought there might ha
John The
Jan 28, 2016 John The rated it it was ok
As I'd already bought the whole Nick Stefanos series it was with a great deal of trepidation that I approached this, the second in the series, after detesting the series opener.
This was better, a better story, more character development (although there is absolutely nothing to like about Nick himself) and a bit more focus on plot. That said there is still a huge chunk of the book devoted to describing in minute detail Nick's drinking, smoking, drug taking, clothes and love of music and how he ev
John Culuris
May 17, 2016 John Culuris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Nick Stefanos’ second book, he is now officially a PI. Nick’s Trip has him taking on two cases, one of a friend whose murder had gone unsolved long enough, the other in the person of a childhood friend who walks through the door of the bar in which Nick supposedly works part time; he spends more time there than doing any actual investigating. While Nick’s world only touches the street-level life that Pelecanos has become known for exploring, he still finds new and refreshing ways to examine t ...more
Jun 15, 2015 Christian rated it it was amazing
The second Nick Stefanos novel has a much tighter plot than its predecessor, and I found it to be more entertaining and satisfying in its conclusion. I think what bothered me about the first Stefanos book was that it felt meandering throughout the majority and rushed in its conclusion. In a good way, it reminded me of a Charles Willeford book, in that it captured the time and the place of the character's reality and was ultimately less focused on the plot. This time around, we get the same old b ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Jim rated it did not like it
Wow. It's like Pelecanos took all the enjoyable bits from his first book, stacked them in a Weber grill, then watched the whole thing burn while kicking back with a bottle of Old Grand-Dad and listening to Hüsker Dü. What's left is a repetitive litany of "Here's what I drank at the bar, here's what I drank while driving, here's what cred-building music I listen to, here's my flashback recollection of what I drank years ago, and here's what I'm drinking now while hot lesbians ask me to dish up my ...more
Christopher David
Aug 25, 2014 Christopher David rated it liked it
Even ho-hum Pelecanos is still really good. His plots get a little weird when he leaves D.C. This is the earliest of his books I've read (I've probably read 10), and his writing's as raw and young as his characters are. But the book still works because he's still got style and substance. Pelecanos is also the master of a literary trick Stephen King uses pretty well, and David Simon nailed in "Homicide": telling us about characters through what they're listening to. King and Simon reserve it for ...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

Nick Stefanos (3 books)
  • A Firing Offense
  • Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go

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