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Nick's Trip (Nick Stefanos #2)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  1,064 Ratings  ·  70 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
Apr 18, 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 09, 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
Jul 31, 2016 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 13, 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
Nov 02, 2015 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
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
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
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 27, 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
Al Santiago
Feb 18, 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
Apr 05, 2012 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
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.
David Sayre
Apr 06, 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
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
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
Dec 22, 2013 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.
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.
John The
Feb 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
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
Sep 18, 2014 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
Jun 08, 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
Sep 16, 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
Jul 21, 2015 Ed rated it liked it
#2 in the Nick Stefanos series. A novel from acclaimed author Pelecanos that I found curiously unengaging.

Nick Stefanos, Washington D.C. PI / bartender, is engaged by a high school friend to find his wife. Her trail leads to her hometown in Southern MD and an old boyfriend. Nick and Billy go on an alcohol fueled road trip to trace her, a reenactment of their last meeting 15 years earlier. Nick also looks for the killer of a friend and gets involved with mobsters and crooked cops.
Jul 07, 2014 Martin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't find this to be a very good example of the genre. But one of the things Pelecanos did poorly was what kept me reading. He was obsessive about putting Washington DC details into the narrative: streets, bars, bands, at one point he mentions 'listening to Weasel' without explaining Weasel was a longtime DJ on the hip radio station in town. It was an era and a city I knew well. He parks his car across the street from my house. I had moved from there years prior to the scene, but still, it w ...more
Shawn Cosby
Mar 26, 2015 Shawn Cosby rated it liked it
the author has a great grasp of "private eye" speak.nick talks in grand metaphors and an almost nihilistic interior monologue.Unfortunately the story is a bit weak. the structure of the story is a bit odd and it throws the rhythm of the book off by several beats. but nick is an interesting character. his descent into alcoholism is painfully realistic.. I just wish the writer had put as much detail into the plot ....
Mike Jensen
Dec 15, 2014 Mike Jensen marked it as books-abandoned
I get why Pelecanos has a cult following. You pack enough dower negativity into your prose and gullible people who respond to that like junkies will think you are doing high art. I know we were in trouble on the first page when I read, "An Arctic wind had dropped into town that evening with the suddenness of a distaff emotion." What a pig.

I finished a chapter and a page. That was plenty.
Leslie Yambor
Aug 08, 2016 Leslie Yambor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
His books are fun to read, though a bit grating since like many hard core detective dudes they are either drinking or recovering alcoholics or hung over all the while solving cases. This one is a bit dated - but since it was his first book in this series I read it. I think I will read one of his more current books and give a more detailed review.
John Culuris
Jul 04, 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
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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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