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Hell to Pay (Derek Strange and Terry Quinn #2)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  1,559 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Derek Strange and Terry Quinn, the team of private investigators who made their stunning debut in Right As Rain, are hired to find a 14-year-old white girl from the suburbs who's run away from home and is now working as a prostitute. The two ex-cops think they know D.C.'s dangers, but nothing in their experience has prepared them for Worldwide Wilson, the pimp whose territ ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 23rd 2011 by Back Bay Books (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,264)
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Dan Schwent
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sibyl
Interesting to see that other readers do not find Hell to Pay and Right as Rain as high up on their approval list as I do. I just finished reading Hell to Pay and found it even stronger than the first one. Now the cat is out of the bag, too, as in searching for the book on the Goodreads library I see that there is a third novel, perhaps completing a trilogy with the same cast of characters. I see the recently checked out Pelecanos from my library is the final one. That means I'm going to be stuc ...more
Josh
A painstaking mural of the metamorphosis of Washington DC from a metropolis to murder-polis whose inhabitants are at once menacing and heart warming. It's this chalk and cheese persona of Pelecanos' characters that draws a somewhat translucent line between good and evil in the third world urban sprawl of the major US city. Victims of circumstance turned hardened thugs turned kid killers find themselves the focus of PI Derek Strange as he seeks the right kind of justice for the murder of an innoc ...more
Melissa
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Larry Bassett
What can I say? I love George Pelacanos. But tears in my eyes at the end of Hell to Pay? It was too much like And They All Lived Happily Ever After, wasn’t it?

With Pelacanos, language is never plain or simple. It is always dressed up in descriptive adjectives and proper nouns. Product placement is a Pelacanos trademark. Hell to Pay is like a guided tour of metropolitan DC and its suburbs. And, of course, the Wheaton Mall appears in its usual cameo role. As does Bonifant Street and Sligo Avenue i
...more
Zoeytron
This was my second George Pelecanos novel, but my first outing with the team of Derek Strange and Terry Quinn. This one is apparently the second in the Strange/Quinn series, so I am reading these out of order, but it didn’t seem to make a nickel’s worth of difference. It was easy to fall right into step with these two guys.

A little bit hip and quite a bit old-school, Derek Strange is a 50-ish ex-cop with a store-front business called Strange Investigations (love it!), who values his old vinyl r
...more
Ensiform
The second Derek Strange novel. While his hot-headed white partner, Terry Quinn, is hired to rescue a runaway girl from a pimp, Strange gets involved in a high-profile murder case after one of the young boys on his peewee football team is shot. With the police closing in fast, Strange must decide whether he wants the arrogant gang bangers who did the shooting to be arrested, or suffer the rough justice of a vicious drug dealer who has a personal interest in the case.

It’s another solid crime stor
...more
Dan
another addictive pelecanos novel (my second). this basically deepens the universe created in right as rain, and does a nice job propping up its next installment (soul circus, which i'll undoubtedly get to in the coming months). this one has less of the sensational shoot 'em up stuff that sometimes scars the plausibility of right as rain, choosing instead to get inside the heads of each of its characters. very effective as a portrait of poverty, particularly in its look at characters on the peri ...more
Ken
Second book of the series, and the author does did not miss a beat. Many series go down hill as they progress. This novel actually is a step up. It's gritty and tells a story of Washington DC that tourists don't see. Pelacanos puts the reader into the mind of the character. You see what the character sees. You feel what the character feels. I highly recommend anything he writes.
Ann
This is the second in a trilogy by George Pelecanos, the first being Right as Rain. We meet Derek Strange and Terry Quinn again, both private investigators in Washington, DC, both former cops and both men with the desire to do the right thing and help the kids in the area to break out of the cycle of poverty, drugs and violence. Troubled by demons themselves, the story is as much about their personal crises and journey through life as it is the story of a tragic shooting death and the search for ...more
Francis
its like

This guy walks in, like muscular and lean, head shaved, OJ grin, hard eyes. Moves loose and lithe, but quick like a cat. His athleticism is apparent, his intentions a mystery. His smile lights up, he spots his homies, he grins and he talks, but his cold eyes keep scanning the room and then just for a second your eyes cross.

But that second is enough for you to realize, somthin' easy, somethin' prophetic

You ain't supposed to be here.

And, thats the way it goes, first, casual and loose then
...more
Kellie
(#2 of the Derek Strange series)-This was a really good one. Better than #1. Derek is coaching a football team. One of the kids gets shot by a thug. Derek and his partner go on their own search for this guy. In the mean time, Derek is asked to help find a runaway turned hooker. He puts Quinn on the case.
Derek is battling a weakness for massage tables and really starts to question his life.
These books tell a hard story of the DC streets. They are excellent in drawing the picture and putting you
...more
David
This is another great effort by George Pelecanos. The early books by Pelecanos were adrenaline (and drug) - fueled stories without much depth of character or plotting. Still, quite fun. As this author matured, he began to adopt some depths into his plots, along with street-realism, a la Michael Connelly. As his career progressed, he also began to infuse his characters with depth and complexity that is a far cry from say, the Stefanos trilogy. The result are books that are fun to read, but evoke ...more
Jim
A really fast paced urban gritty tale of murder, and everyday life on the streets of D.C. "Hell to Pay" by George Pelecanos, features protagonist P.I. Derek Strange along with partner Terry Quinn battling the evil elements of life, and chaos on the streets of D.C. just to survive. Strange and Quinn also run the local football program for the neighborhood kids. In the midst of Strange's investigating a background check for a client, one of his football kids is gunned down. Strange and Quinn go to ...more
Charles
A nice tight procedural - no mystery. This is a multi-ethnic portrait of one segment of Washington, D C. Pelecanos lays out some of the many issues facing the Capitol city. Racism predominantly among them. He does a very nice job with the various settings and the music and the culture. At times a little too simplistic and obvious, but not always. I recommend this writer and this book.
Jon
Hell to Pay is more concerned with world and character building than driving its plot, and the result is a moody, vibrant read that engages genre tropes but refuses to be boxed in by them. It's conventional and familiar, but it moves to the beat of its own drummer.

The first half of the novel revisits the Strange and Quinn characters from Right as Rain and takes its time getting to know them further, while inching towards an inevitable tragedy that only the reader knows is coming. The second hal
...more
Andrew Neal
A really solid, completely self-contained story which nonetheless moves Strange and Quinn forward as characters. Good stuff.
Victoria
Nobody writes about the gritty side of Washington, D.C., like George Pelecanos. A lifelong Washingtonian, he sees the city’s scandalous power imbalances clearly and, in this novel, any political glamour is so far removed from the lives of young black residents, Congress and the Administration might as well be on another planet altogether. Easy to see why Pelecanos was one of the go-to writers for The Wire. It’s a straight detective novel, with a hefty dose of violence that may be too much for so ...more
Ben
I really enjoyed Pelecanos' D.C Quartet, and several other novels, but had held off from trying his Strange & Quinn books. On the one hand it was a silly decision as this was up there with his best, but on the other, I've got a new series to devour. I'd been worried that as it was a series about PI's, Pelecanos might fall into genre cliche and heroic characters, but this carried the weight of a true novel. Great characters, great prose, and every act of violence cuts deep, without overwhelmi ...more
Carl
Originally read, July '08: I see the formula, but it doesn't bother me in the least. He just knows how to tell a good story.

Recently read, January '14: I had no recollection of having read this before. That bothers me a bit, but not much, because I have read several other Pelecanoses since then and now have a much more robust appreciation of him and the genre. This leads to longer musings in the once-terse review, so brace yourself. I doubt I'm going to forget having read this one again.

Reading
...more
Edward
This is the fourth Peleconos crime novel I've read and I haven't been disappointed in any of them. Pelecanos can ratchet up suspense and tells a story well, even when he veers off into the personal lives of his detectives. I never mind these side-excursions, knowing that he's always coming back on track to the chief problem, the solving of some usually senseless and cold-blooded murder in the crime-ridden milieu of Washington, D.C. In this story, it's the pointless and careless shooting of a 12 ...more
Aaron Arnold
Another book with connection to The Wire: George Pelecanos is a well-known Washington, DC crime novelist infamous for writing the penultimate episodes for each season where terrible things happen to major characters. This was the first book of his I picked up and though I've read and enjoyed a few others by now, I think this is the best one I've read so far. It's the second book of his Derek Strange series, featuring Strange and his fellow private investigator (and fellow ex-cop) Terry Quinn try ...more
Maddy
RATING: 4.25

Derek Strange, owner of Strange Investigations, is a solid citizen in his Washington, DC, neighborhood. He’s been in business for over 25 years and serves as a role model to the young black people of the community. He continues to give back to his neighborhood, doing things such as coaching Pee Wee football and trying to show kids there are choices besides gangs and drugs.

Strange works with Janine Baker, his office manager and a woman who he loves but not well enough; Ron Lattimer, a
...more
Perry Whitford
Hell to Pay is the second outing for Pelecanos' Washington DC based "salt and pepper" private detective duo. Derek Strange, who owns the company, is a fifty-something black man with a love of the street, classic soul music and a reluctance to settle down, despite the love of a good woman. Terry Quinn is a sometime employee, a thirty-something white man with a love of Springsteen and Steve Earle, a loners mentality and an overly-sensitive response to slights, which usually leads to violence.
They
...more
Michael
Reading Hell to Pay, I realized my problem with George Pelecanos. He takes himself too damn seriously. Would a little humor lessen the impact? It's not that the characters never have fun, but even the descriptions of the good times are serious - tinged with regret, perhaps, or the memory of previous sadness. Sometimes I'm in the mood for that, but this time I wasn't. Need to let some time pass before reading number three.

That said, Pelecanos is still at the top of his game. The first Strange/Qui
...more
Byron
Dec 29, 2011 Byron rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Coaches of underprivileged little league football teams
The fact that I enjoy these George Pelecanos books so much doesn't make me the equivalent of guys in prison who shank people for the latest James Patterson, does it? (There was a big thing in the Times a while back about how those books are written and who reads them. You should look it up. It's one of the more ridiculous things you'll ever read.) I feel like these books are a cut above the average crime fiction BS, because they describe things that are really happening in the ghetto (I'm assumi ...more
Erik
Another Pelecanos story with plenty of gritty street crimes and the flawed but righteous individuals who stand against them. Derek Strange is certainly the latter; an opportunistic private investigator with a healthy appetite for anonymous sex, regardless of his righteous indignation for the daily injustices he witnesses on a regular basis. As is Pelecanos's talent, this story is cleverly layered between Strange's latest case, which submerges him into the D.C. drug underworld, and Terry Quinn, a ...more
Karschtl
A black detective - former cop - in Washington, D.C. tries to keep the neighborhood clean and the kids out of trouble.
Sounds a bit like Alex Cross (James Patterson), but this guy is nothing like Alex. He has edges, and not only positive character traits. But his heart is in the right place.

When a little boy from the football-team he coaches is shot down in a fight between drugdealers and their customers, he gets very angry and wants to settle this case on his own conditions.

The Pelecanos' lan
...more
Christopher David
I didn't think the ending came together nearly as well as a lot of his novels. It was nice to see Pelecanos branching out into some different topics though, with the focus on prostitution and coaching youngsters.
grundoon
Solid storytelling - by some measures, some of his best - and he did make some strides towards it here, but I'm not sure I'll ever fully embrace this pair.
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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...
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