The Way Home
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The Way Home

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,628 ratings  ·  250 reviews
Deep beneath the floorboards of a house he's renovating, Chris Flynn discovers a hidden bag full of cash. Chris has learned life's lessons the hard way so, resisting the temptation of easy money, he puts the fortune back. But Chris has a troubled past and this find could bring his new life tumbling down.
Paperback, 309 pages
Published 2009 by Phoenix
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D. Pow
The Way Home is another stellar effort from George Pelecanos, one of the greatest working writers in America today.

Though Pelecanos works under the aegis of crime writer his novels have become vastly more encompassing than that, so acute at displaying American Dreams, lost & found, and so spot on in the rare and exact eye he puts on the working class and under class of the Washington DC area that it becomes increasingly apparent that his work is serious and lasting literature, and that he...more
Dan Schwent
Chris Flynn is a troubled youth from DC and after some brushes with the law, finds himself in reform school. Upon his release, he is walking the straight and narrow, working for his father, when he and a friend stumble upon a gym bag full of money on a carpet laying job. They don't take the money but it goes missing anyway and the owners come gunning for them. Can Chris stay on the right path or will he fall back into his old ways?

In The Way Home, Pelecanos revisits themes from some his earlier...more
James Thane
This is a solid effort from George Pelecanos, but it suffers by comparison to some of his better books. Its principal themes involve the relationship between fathers and sons and the inadequacies of the juvenile justice system. But you get the feeling that Pelecanos is so determined to focus on these issues that he occasionally allows the story suffer for it.

The main protagonist, Chris Flynn, lost his way as a teenager, but for reasons that aren't entirely clear. He comes from a solid, two-paren...more
Darrell Reimer
I’m skeptical whenever a critic claims a genre writer “gets better with every book.” Most writers I’ve followed (including, perhaps especially, the high-falutin’ types) work steadily until they find their groove. Once established, they return to the groove and work it until it becomes a rut. George Pelecanos came on the crime fiction scene just over 15 years ago, and immediately proved himself as someone worth reading. And, dammit, he gets better with every book. He definitely has his groove, bu...more
Jake
Just a note: There's a spoiler in the final third of this review, but it shouldn't matter to you because it is an annoying spoiler and part of the reason you shouldn't read The Way Home. ON WITH THE REVIEW!!

I expected more from one of the writers of The Wire. I guess this is unfair to George Pelecanos. I mean it's not his fault that the other fiction writers associated with The Best Show Ever Aired are all gods of the crime-fiction realm. Not everyone can be Dennis Lehane, Richard Price, or even...more
Christy
Although Thomas Flynn never attended college, he became a successful entrepreneur. All he wants for his son, Chris, is to see him go to college and succeed in life. But Chris has no interest in school and drifts toward a life of drugs and petty crime. Placed in a juvenile facility until 18, Chris takes a job with his father once he graduates high school. Although Flynn is disappointed in Chris and Chris resents his father’s plans for his future, the two learn to work together without conflict. T...more
Lisa
I was led to buy this book by the little tag above the author's name, telling me it was 'by one of the award winning writers of The Wire'. Sadly, The Way Home did not live up to the standard this suggests. The Wire was compelling and essential viewing, peopled by characters that all felt real to me. The Way Home was pedestrian storytelling peopled by characters that could have been interesting if given a chance, only for Pelecanos to decide not to show any growth or change but simply tell us abo...more
Larry Bassett
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tony
Pelecanos, George. THE WAY HOME. (2009). **. This is a well-written book in a pedestrian kind of way, but it is not what I expected from a hard-boiled thriller writer of Pelecanos’ talent. It is more of a novel of crime and punishment and redemption of a young boy who is placed in a juvenile detention center and is expected to rehabilitate himself. It is a screed against the inhuman aspects of such detention centers and a call to arms to change the system. Rather than being issued as a novel for...more
Margot
Tom and Amanda Flynn believed that if you raised a child in a comfortable home, good schools, church and with two loving parents, it should be what a child needs to be successful in life. It didn't seem to work for their son, Christopher. By the time Chris was sixteen his grades were down, he stopped playing sports, started shoplifting, fighting, smoking marijuana and was headed for jail.

A stretch in a juvenile jail worked for Chris. He grew up and learned what he had to do to stay out of jail....more
Maddy
PROTAGONIST: The Flynn family
SERIES: Standalone
RATING: 3.25

Thomas Flynn is a successful business owner, whose family life is unfortunately a difficult one. His son, Christopher, is one of those kids who seems destined to end up in trouble. Ultimately, he is sentenced to juvenile prison; and the relationship with his father is strained to the breaking point. Chris experiences an epiphany while serving his time and is ready to change his ways upon his release at the age of 26. But Thomas is not fo...more
Kemper
Pelecanos adds his twist to a standard crime story: people find a large sum of money and trouble follows. As always with Pelecanos, the crime is far less important than the characters. Most of this one hinges on a father-son relationship with son Chris trying to live down his past as a teen-age criminal and his father's disappointment that he hasn't grown into a more successful man.

The first part of the book is about young Chris committing a minor crime spree just because of teen-age stupidity a...more
Toby
I'm really torn on my opinion of this one. My main complaint is quite similar to my issue with Pelecanos' previous novel The Turnaround, in that it was a bit too transparent in trumpeting the importance of Honor and Responsibility and Fathers Having A Catch With Their Sons.

Which is a shame, because the story and the characters are compelling enough to convey such points. The author's experience as a writer for The Wire shows through, as he maintains his ability to tell layered crime stories suf...more
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Shortly after they were married, Thomas and Amanda Flynn had a baby girl, Kate, who lived for two days. After a few more years of trying, they finally had a boy, Chris, who never could quite live up to the image of Kate that Thomas had in his mind. Thomas would always think about what Kate would be doing, had she lived. Chris quit trying to please his father and got into trouble for stealing, using and selling drugs, fighting and reckless driving. He was finally sentenced to Juvenile Detention w...more
Amy Meyer
Nov 11, 2009 Amy Meyer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys crime fiction and good writing
Recommended to Amy by: I won it
Title: The Way Home
Author: George Pelecanos
ISBN: 978-0-316-15649-3
Pages: 323
Release Date: May 2009
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Genre: Literary Crime Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary: Hidden beneath the floorboards in a house he's remodeling, Christopher Flynn discovers something very tempting-and troubling. Summoning every bit of maturity and every lesson he's learned the hard way, Chris leaves what he found where he found it and tells his job partner to forget it, too. Knowing trouble w...more
Mark
The Way Home is good, concise story about the changing relationship of a father and son during the son's sudden descent into juvenile delinquency and mischief. When Chris Flynn suddenly jumps the tracks from becoming a promising college bound young man to a rebellious, drug-dabbling underachiever, his father Thomas is beside himself with guilt and frustration. Chris' road ultimately leads to a stint in juvenile detention, where he forges a bond with several other young men on similar paths. Upon...more
Erik
The power of George Pelecanos is in his deeply realistic characterizations of his protagonists and his characters' dialogue, which is some of the best I have ever come across in any genre. You feel for them, feel like you know them, and love and hate them. In this respect, this book is vintage Pelecanos. That said, there is a Pelecanos formula for plot that he rarely deviates from, which is there are some good guys, there are some bad guys, and then the good guys debate whether to go above the l...more
Lars Guthrie
In his past three novels, 'The Night Gardener,' 'The Turnaround,' and now 'The Way Home,' Pelecanos has gone from being a great crime novelist to a great novelist without losing any of the attributes that made him such a master of crime fiction: an ear for authentic dialogue, a feel for the details of life in the nation's capital and its suburbs, a connoiseur's appreciation of pop music and culture, and a gift for portraying splendid villains who are unrepentingly evil. The deliciously bad-to-th...more
Vannessagrace Vannessagrace
I was impressed with The Way Home.

I was impressed how George Pelecanos plunged into the challenge of taking on a subject far too often ignored in all communities and that subject is how to save our youth after they’ve served time in a juvenile facility.

Pelecanos shows how the prison system fails our children after punishing them, and often punishing them to severely. The system punishes our children then throws them back into the communities that failed them.

In The Way Home we follow four you...more
Christina
I started another book, had to return it to the library, and knocked out The Way Home while waiting for the original book I started to become available again. All that to say, this is a fast read. And, while this does not have the plot richness and depth of The Night Gardener, my favorite Pelecanos novel, it still had the elements that I love from this author: his incredible ear for dialogue, his generous use of Washington locations for the action--and not "K-Street" Washington, but the real Was...more
Steve In Ludlow
I've read all of the Pelecanos novels, starting with Drama City and then getting back into the various cycles. This was disappointing. I can see that he is trying to broaden out his scope but I don't think this one rings true. For new readers I suggest you start with his earlier novels which build into a rich fabric of characters that weave in and out of plots. You will experience better plots, great characters and fantastic dialogue. Leave the Way Home till later.
Lindsay Luke
The story of a working class white kid in DC who gets in trouble and ends up in juvenile detention. He gets out and is working for his father's carpet installation business when he is presented with a situation where a great deal of cash is found. He has three choices, take the money, turn the money in to the police, or leave it and pretend nothing happened he chooses to leave it. Some reviewers have said this doesn't ring true, but denial and inertia are powerful forces, so it seemed quite plau...more
Marca
Christopher Flynn is out of juvie after a drug-fueled, wild teen-hood of thefts and car crashes. Chris seemed irredeemable when he went into juvie, but now that he is out, he wants to live a quiet life under the radar. He works for his father’s carpet company installing carpets with a friend Ben he met in juvie and is trying to help. Chris is white and Ben is black. Chris’s father is still uncertain as to whether he can trust Chris or not, and Chris tries to maintain that trust. One day, Chris a...more
Patricia Baker
have never read anything by this author. picked out the title because it was set in the Washington DC area where I lived at one time. did not know of all the places mentioned in the book, but felt some relationship to the locale. also felt somewhat connected to the parents in this story. I wonder what it is that makes a future successful person to buck the wishes of his family and do a 180. have to say that the parents, especially the mom, hung in there for the longest time to see somewhat of a...more
Nathan
George Pelecanos, one of the writers for the acclaimed show, The Wire, spins a DC tale about a relatively well-to-do son who finds his way off the straight and narrow & into a juvenile facility. The early part of this crime novel deals with the limitations of family upbringing and the way that society's expectations (college, family, upward mobility) are a blueprint, at best, in an America dripping with temptation and inequality.

There, Chris Flynn wrestles with his new surroundings, compare...more
Josh
A crime thriller that's also about fathers and sons and the juvenile detention system, The Way Home is a gripping, if occasionally frustrating, read. The star rating is a little inadequate here, and I went back and forth on whether to give this book three or four stars. The negatives: Pelecanos doesn't write women characters very well, at least in this book, his descriptive style can be a little pedestrian, and his dialogue occasionally devolves into speechifying and awkward exposition. On the p...more
Don Crouch
Expectations are so important when reading a book, and, yes, when writing about one as well.

We expect our finest crime novelists to consistently deliver great crime novels. No great revelation there, right? But what happens when a genre writer moves "beyond his modifier" and starts to produce books that are, to coin an Obama-nism, "post-noir"?

Well, they become Dennis Lehane. Or George Pelecanos.

The Way Home continues on that path for Pelecanos. It is an outstanding character-driven novel about f...more
Andrew
Excellent as usual--Pelecanos's recent work, everything since Hard Revolution or so, has been incredibly high-quality and focused so much on the human side, the character development side, that you often have no idea where the plot is headed until the last fifth or so of the book. The Way Home is no exception. This is one of those "don't read the back cover unless you want to find out what happens 3/4 of the way through the book" sort of books, because the only way to explain the plot is to tell...more
Chad Showalter
This was the first Pelecanos novel I've read, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Crime with a twist. A young man with a storied, criminal past has finally escaped the 'old life' and is living a decent life as a carpet installer. But the past has a way of catching up with you. When Chris and his friend (also an ex-juvenile offender getting a second chance) find a bag of cash under the floor they're installing carpet on trouble ensues.

Overall, the book is about a father and son, their re...more
Paul
Mar 25, 2011 Paul rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of intelligent crime fiction
Shelves: crime, read-in-2010
I enjoyed this book. It builds slowly but by the end I was gripped. What could have been written as a straight-forward crime thriller became a brooding meditation on the effects of crime on young boys and men - and their families.

But that sounds a bit analytical. The thing I enjoyed about this book was that it put a crime story in the context of a person's relationships. It wasn't just a question of "what will happen? will they get the bad guy?" it was "what's this going to do to his mum, dad,...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
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“If the storytellers told it true, all stories would end in death. But that will come in time...Not today.” 2 likes
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