Ann's Reviews > The Night Gardener

The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos
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's review
May 18, 2010

really liked it
Read in August, 2006

** spoiler alert ** It was very good, I had trouble getting attached to a character in the beginning and there was too much set up from character to character to completely hold my interest. Of course in the end the set-ups all pulled the story together and were significant. It's just that there were too many candidates for mc as I was reading the first third of the book. Doc Holiday, Gus Ramone, even one of the kids or criminals all could have been the MC. Gus took over a bit towards the last half but even then Holiday had an important role.
The decades old palindrome murders seem eerily similar when Asa Johnson is the new victim found in a community garden. TC Cook the original detective on the cases can't let it go years after leaving the force.
Pelecanos is skilled at depicting the older detective's health after a stroke and his eventual death while still seeking evidence to convict the man he is convinced was the killer of the earlier victims. We can hope that Gus will pick up the quest to convict the man that was revealed to the readers. Doc Holiday's personal realization that he was not the completely good cop he thought he was, good at the job but not good when it came to his morals was a revelation and the reason I kept reading the book when the early going was tough. Pelecanos has a way of reaching into the human emotions of a tale and making profound statements about his characters with emotional and charged endings while depicting the raw gritty streets of DC as no one else could, with love and no blinders on. This one was no exception.

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