Right as Rain
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Right as Rain (Derek Strange and Terry Quinn #1)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  2,521 ratings  ·  154 reviews
Derek Strange is a black ex-cop in Washington D.C. who now makes a living running his own private detective agency. He is hired to investigate the killing of an off-duty black policeman by a white police officer -- a killing that was supposedly accidental, but that has opened difficult questions about racism on the force. In the course of that investigation the white offic...more
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Published November 16th 2008 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2001)
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Dan Schwent
A white cop kills an off-duty black cop and the black cop's mother hires Derek Strange to get to the bottom of things. Strange stumbles into a world of drug dealers and dirty cops, and the only man who can help him is Terry Quinn, the white cop who shot the son of the woman who hired him...

Right as Rain kicks off the Derek Strange series. Strange, a sixty-ish black PI, is a pretty smooth character, a former cop who is fond of westerns. Terry Quinn is a white disgraced former cop who works in a u...more
Holy bejesus, Right as Rain is good. Workmanlike, maybe, but the kind of workmanlike that leads you to admire a well-made tool (heh) or table and say, "That sucker will last forever. Solid." I picked Right as Rain up after reading Drama City and finished the last sixty pages in the bath today. Very satisfying. Both the bath and the novel. Right as Rain is up there, as far as I'm concerned, with Ellroy's and MacDonald's best. Nothing too out of the ordinary here, nothing groundbreaking, but top-n...more
Stew Weiss
Pelecanos is one of my standby favorites. Aside from being a writer on HBO's "The Wire", he's the only author that I bother to read in hardback. His stories are set in the District of Columbia and its surrounding counties, but have little to do with the bustling Federal City and its corridors of power. Pelecanos writes about the dispossessed of DC, those who scratch out livings in Anacostia and the Northeast. Hard-boiled fiction from a city that always seems on the edge of boiling over. Right as...more
The first Derek Strange novel. Strange, an ex-MPD cop getting into the PI business, is approached by the mother of a fellow black police officer who was shot during an arrest by a white cop, now off the force also. The shooting was cleared, but the mother wants to clear her own son’s name, to counteract the popular image of him raving and pointing a gun at police officers. Strange questions the shooter, a wiry bundle of rage named Terry Quinn, now working at a bookstore. They get along, despite...more
Larry Bassett
George Pelecanos has his fingerprints all over this book. He has written 16 books and Right As Rain is the ninth. In this book Derek Strange and Terry Quinn are introduced for what turns out to be a three book series. He published his first novel in 1992; Right As Rain was published in 2001. As you can see, he writes about one book per year.

You know it is Pelecanos because there are cars, music and location. Let’s check it out!
Strange sat low behind the wheel of his white-over-black ’89 Capric
I just discovered Pelecanos, and I’d like to issue him a challenge, because I think he’s a very talented writer. Mr. Pelecanos, someday please write a buddy novel about, say, a middle-aged woman detective and the gay former football player she teams up with. I think you could do it, maybe even have fun with it. To make it even more of a departure, start the story out someplace bland like Old Town Alexandria.

“Right as Rain” is the first in a series about two former cops in Washington, D.C. Derek...more

Here’s the situation in a nutshell. On a dark side street in Washington, DC, a black man is holding a gun to the head of a white man lying on the ground. When the police arrive, there’s a lot of noise and confusion. The black guy is yelling something at the cops, but they can’t hear him. When he sweeps his gun in their direction, the white cop, a guy by the name of Terry Quinn, shoots him down. It turns out the black “assailant” is also a cop named Chris Wilson who had been screaming...more
this is a real-deal page turner. i can't remember the last time i read a book this quickly. i flew through all of its 360-ish pages in a day and a half.

beyond that, it was the perfect remedy for the withdrawl i've been feeling since hbo's the wire (which pelecanos wrote for) came to its conclusion. like the wire, this novel is full of complex, three-dimensional characters dealing with complex, three-dimensional circumstances. it also shares the tv show's sensitive (but not touchy-feeley sensitiv...more
Derrick Strange sets out to investigate the shooting death of off-duty officer Chris Wilson, at the request of Wilson's mother. Wilson was shot by a fellow police officer, and the DC police force had already investigated and cleared Terry Quinn, the officer who shot Wilson, but Wilson's mother is not satisfied with their findings and doesn't like the way her son was portrayed through the official investigation. Strange not only uncovers new details in this unfortunate death, but he also uncovers...more
Another disappointing novel from an author who I initially thought was a real contender, up there with James Lee Burke and Elmore Leonard. But he's at least a division below, relegated there with this story of a "good black ex cop" and "good-ish white ex cop" getting their relationship together through mutual respect. Pass the sick bag George, as the white boy brings his black father figure obscure Motown vinyl (of course) recordings from his record boutique.
I also didn't appreciate the occasion...more
Oh my yes. I am currently having a full-on literary affair with George Pelecanos. I mean, I'm pretty sure that he's unaware of it, but I am all there.
Gritty and makes me want to drink.
I worked in Washington DC for more than 30 years. The author does a great job in capturing the DC that tourists don't see. This is a gritty book that is packed with realism. His characters are well developed and the author ties multiple story lines neatly together at the end. He captures the difficult race relation that exist in DC accurately. His description of the drug "shooting gallery" is not for the faint of heart but that culture exists.

This is the first novel I have read by the author and...more
A crime novel set in Washington DC which brings together an ageing black private investigator and a young white ex-cop. The plot is a fairly routine one involving drug dealers. The real strength of the novel is the way it explores issues of racism in considerable depth and with a great deal of subtlety. Terry Quinn, the white ex-cop, is a fascinating character with all kinds of conflicted motivations. He’s a man who has to face some unpleasant truths about himself, and he finds the courage to do...more
Cullen Gallagher
This is the first Pelecanos novel I have read, and I immediately want to go find some more! Highly cinematic style that includes structuring chapters into short segments that feel like "scenes," particularly when they are "cross-cut" at moments of great suspense so as to seem simultaneous, as well as great attention to music (almost every "scene" has a song that Pelecanos calls attention to). Pelecanos smartly doesn't draw just from noir, and in fact the movie feels as much like an urban western...more
Lukasz Pruski
Not my favorite Pelecanos book. True, the writing is solid, plot is interesting, and the book is a real page-turner. DC is, as usual, shown masterfully. But there is nothing more there for me. I value other books by this author much more (for instance, "Hell to Pay", "King Suckerman", "Night Gardener"). I felt closer to all the racial tensions, poverty, and social issues shown in these books. Here, the author "paints-by-numbers", almost like "Now I will write about racial tensions", and he does....more
(#1 in the Strange Series)- Derek Strange is an ex-cop who now runs his own private detective agency. The mother of a young police officer killed by another cop hires him to clear up the lingering doubts surrounding her son's death. Although Terry Quinn, the other cop, has been cleared in the official investigation, his guilt torments him. After Strange interviews him, Quinn joins the investigation, even though in part he is investigating himself and whether his own prejudices led him to pull t...more
Michael Martz
This book has been around for awhile, and I wish I'd come across it earlier. Usually, when I 'discover' an author with a deep catalog, I'll read the latest book, then go back and start at the beginning and work forward. For some reason, I'd bounced around with George Pelecanos and had already read the other Strange novels, and it was a pleasure getting into this one and learning about the genesis of the relationship between Derek and Terry Quinn.

As with all of his novels, Mr. Pelecanos paints a...more
Sometimes, a book contains all of the ingredients one would expect, yet be unsatisfying. Somewhat like a puzzle where you have all the pieces and can put them together, but the picture that results does not seem worth the effort. Right As Rain is one such book.

The plot is not bad, but nothing exciting or particularly original either. The main characters -- the two detectives and the bad guys -- are not boring, but neither are they terribly interesting, considering the issues the author attempts...more
Rally Soong
Crime/mystery fiction as it should be! The realistic setting, dialogue, etc. puts you in that perfect noir zone: social critic, observer, and with your sense of social justice mixed with a shot of whiskey, a 2 fisted delivery of a grand finale that ends with a bit of that barf after-taste and raw knuckles. Good characters and use of music to set the place and era of Washington DC- the less fancy part.
Excellent P.I. novel. Derek Strange, D.C. private investigator, is hired by the mother of a slain police officer to clear his besmirched name. Along the way, Strange is joined by the white ex-cop who did the shooting, and they uncover a world of drugs, murder, and corruption. What sets this apart is the quality of the writing - the characters breathe, and they have depth. A quality read.
Derek Strange is a PI in Washington, DC and is hired by a dead cop's mother to find out the real circumstances of her son's death and clear his good name. I "read" this book with my ears and while the story was ok and the plot was ok, the reading was magical. Richard Allen is the narrator and he is amazing. It was like listening to a radio play. A truly wonderful experience.
Bill  Kerwin
The first of the Strange-Quinn mystery series, with a black and white pair of former cops working as private detectives in the D.C. area. It is an effective and violent thriller, and deals perceptively with issues of race.
Nov 20, 2013 AC marked it as i-get-the-picture  ·  review of another edition
Sounded phony to me, as soon as the main character, a tough, black, private dick up in Petworth...says to the woman he's...ah... 'doing'...something about "our African-American culture".
I suppose the risk of creating characters who border on antiheroes is that particular flaws may be insurmountable for some. It took me a long time to warm up to these two, and I still have reservations (do not discount that this is likely his very intent). But my bigger problem with this debut of a new serial slice of D.C. is that it is absolutely perfect Pelecanos - when every facet is there, and flawlessly polished, well... maybe it's like the difference between a technically perfect rendition...more
Christopher David
Pelecanos is widely credited with that moment in each season of The Wire, right about Episode 11, when multiple plot threads converge in a flurry of violence and surprises. His books usually exhibit the same practice. Here, the plot matters less than the themes. Pelecanos is interested especially in race relations, and his best stuff arises from his protagonist partners, an older, noncommittal black man and a young, hotheaded white man. The issues raised are difficult and dealt with respectfully...more
Michael Donnelly
This is a good page turner with strong characterization. Pelecano's writing mechanics are good - no flashbacks, diversions, irrelevant subplots - and the plot keeps moving.

At times the plot seems too contrived or machined and so begs credulity.

Characters have nuance and depth because of moral ambiguity - their flaws add dimension, and help engage the reader.

There are dashes of literary quality work here and there - this is a talented writer.

This is the first in a series, and my first look at Pe...more
George Pelecanos has been compared to Dennis Lehane and Dennis is a big fan of George Peleconos. It is easy to see why. Lehane writes of Boston, Pelecanos writes of Washington DC -- both take you into the neighorhoods and into the lives of long time residents. The worlds they describe are gritty and dangerous and harsh. Right As Rain knocked me for a loop at the end. WOW. What a book. Hardboiled and violent, yet with deeply complex characters/ Pelecanos shows several sides to events from the dif...more
George Pelecanos is simply a genius! Most readers, outside of D.C., have never heard of Pelecanos; those who have probably know him as one of the writers of the highly acclaimed television series, The Wire. As Michael Connelly’s blurb on the cover states: “Those in the know read Pelecanos.” For years, critics, such as Patrick Anderson of the Washington Post, have heralded him as one of today’s top crime masters. Right as Rain is the first in his four-book series featuring D.C. private eye Derek...more
Gritty hardboiled realism? I would not say the gravitational pull to this type of reading comes naturally to me, but when it is by the screenwriter (or maybe producer, I'm not sure) for the series "Wired", and authors quotes say things like "Those in the know read Pelecanos," and ".... is flat-out the best PI novel I've read this year--a massively entertaining, high-octane page-turner from George Pelecanos, one of our best writers", I tend to get interested. George Pelecanos showed up on one of...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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