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

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,513 Ratings  ·  194 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 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
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.
Jul 22, 2014 RandomAnthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-noir
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
Jul 23, 2007 Stew Weiss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 11, 2010 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
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
Josiah Hawkins
Apr 22, 2015 Josiah Hawkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-and-noir
This book made its way onto my to reads list because I learned that the author was one of the many writers for the The Wire, a TV show that had fever pitch fandom all through its run and for a good long while after. Now for those that haven't seen the wire but like the true crime genre you need to stop what your doing and go watch some of it.

The story of Right as Rain is one that seems pretty simple on surface level but the further you get into it the deeper it becomes, the base story is as foll
Jul 27, 2012 Ensiform rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
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
Jul 05, 2014 Maddy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2002-reads

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
Jul 16, 2008 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gritty and makes me want to drink.
Luca Lesi
Jan 10, 2015 Luca Lesi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In un mondo dove il crimine è la regola e la giustizia l'eccezione, Derek Strange, al volante della sua Caprice nera e bianca dell'89, ascoltava una cassetta dei Blackbyrds mentre percorreva Georgia Avenue in direzione sud.
Strade di sangue, titolo più scontato rispetto all'originale Right as rain, parte un po' confuso, ma poi, come fosse un corridore nero che calpesta con grinta le piste di atletica leggera, si allunga e alla distanza mostra la sua gagliardia.
Sarà ma il problema è che io non s
Larry Bassett
Nov 10, 2010 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime
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
Sep 25, 2008 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
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
Nov 21, 2007 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 24, 2015 ScroogeMon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
DC !!! I know where everything is.
Nov 06, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ken Schloman
Mar 24, 2014 Ken Schloman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Cullen Gallagher
May 07, 2008 Cullen Gallagher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Jul 04, 2014 Michael Martz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
There's some good stuff here to be sure but a lot of cliche as well. The style is old-school noir mixed with contemporary D.C. street/drug culture and a lot of pop music references thrown in which is fun for music geeks like me. A little Parliament anyone? Oh yeah!

Pelecanos wears his influences a little too much on his sleeve and I found myself wishing I was just reading a Goodis book instead. But I was engrossed in the last quarter of the book so I can't complain too much.
Apr 14, 2014 Navin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Rally Soong
Nov 12, 2012 Rally Soong rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 28, 2008 Larry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 06, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 28, 2014 Vaelin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Pelecanos is credited as being a writer for the series "The Wire" and it really shows in this book; a well thought out police/investigator thriller with some spectacular environmental description and commentary about the state of Washington DC and its inner city decay

Worth a look if you are into this genre!
Gritty is the operative word for Pelecanos and this book. Unfortunately, there is a lot of gritty detective writers out there today and I'm getting a bit worn out when it comes to gritty, so I gave it a three.

But you know, if you're looking for gritty, if you like gritty, it's a solid four or more.
Ωραίος ο Πελεκάνος. Θέτει πάντα το θέμα του ρατσισμού στην αμερικάνικη κοινωνία και επιμένει σε αυτό. Και μπαίνει και στην ψυχολογία του ατόμου πάνω σε αυτό το θέμα
Arax Miltiadous
Nov 26, 2012 Arax Miltiadous rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arax by: S.pyros 45 staff
αυτό μου άρεσε πολύ περισσότερο. χαρισμένο σαν δώρο γενεθλίων,με βοήθησε να αποκτήσω μια πιο αντικειμενική άποψη. βρήκα τον συγγραφέα πολύ πιο ισορροπημένο στις εκρήξεις τεστοστερόνης του και τον βασικό χαρακτήρα του ( Strange) πιο πολυμήχανο και εφευρετικό.
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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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Other Books in the Series

Derek Strange & Terry Quinn (5 books)
  • Hell to Pay
  • Soul Circus (Derek Strange and Terry Quinn, #3)
  • Hard Revolution
  • What It Was

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