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The Way Home

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,013 Ratings  ·  282 Reviews
Christopher Flynn is trying to get it right. After years of trouble and rebellion that enraged his father and nearly cost him his life, he has a steady job in his father's company, he's seriously dating a woman he respects, and, aside from the distrust that lingers in his father's eyes, his mistakes are firmly in the past.

One day on the job, Chris and his partner come acro
323 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2009)
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D. Pow
Aug 26, 2009 D. Pow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Darrell Reimer
Aug 04, 2009 Darrell Reimer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 25, 2011 Jake rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 14, 2010 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 04, 2010 Christy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 05, 2009 Tony rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 25, 2009 Margot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
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.
Jul 05, 2014 Maddy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
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
Feb 05, 2010 Kemper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
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
May 21, 2009 Toby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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
Anche attori e registi importanti dicono che le serie televisive si spingono in territori di sperimentazione che il cinema ormai diserta (per inseguire piuttosto sequel, prequel, remake, spin off, videogiochi, fumetti…): le serie televisive, sia per il linguaggio narrativo che quello visivo, adesso hanno preso il ruolo del cinema, diventato invece sempre più mainstream.

E il primo aspetto che colpisce i grandi attori e i grandi registi avvicinandosi a una serie televisiva è la possibilit
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 really liked it  ·  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
Sep 11, 2013 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 16, 2009 Erik rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 30, 2009 Lars Guthrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 13, 2016 Henry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 06, 2015 Randy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read a number of books by Mr. Pelecanos and being a huge fan of The Wire I didn't hesitate to pick this book up when I came across it in the list of our library's audio books. The story sounded bland and uncomplicated but the reviewer touted the ability of the man who reads The Way Home. Couldn't agree more. It was a simple story but beautifully and clearly told, without artifice or plot tricks. The story moves evenly to a logical conclusion. A satisfying conclusion. A sort of happy endin ...more
Steve In Ludlow
Jan 18, 2011 Steve In Ludlow rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
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
Apr 09, 2014 Marca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 21, 2014 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 04, 2014 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 02, 2015 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
This is only the second Pelecanos book that I've read, but it makes me want to find his others. He has a talent for depicting characters with a troubled past, and people torn between doing what they think they should do and what they think is the right thing to do (which is not always the same). In this novel he focuses on three boys who served time together in a juvenile detention facility in Maryland and how it limits the opportunities they have as adults. He throws in a realistic suspense plo ...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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