Larry Bassett's Reviews > The Sweet Forever

The Sweet Forever by George Pelecanos
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Jun 10, 11

bookshelves: crime, fiction
Read from June 07 to 10, 2011 — I own a copy

The first George Pelecanos book was published in 1992. The Sweet Forever, out in 1998, is his seventh and is the third in the DC quartet: The Big Blowdown, King Suckerman, The Sweet Forever, and Shame the Devil. He published books at the standard one each year clip beginning in 1992 but skipped 1999 before he returned to the annual book again in 2000.

This is the best Pelecanos book I have read in some time. I try to spot him in occasionally among my other reading kind of like a reward. I deserved this book right now and it was worth waiting for.

The story begins in a police cruiser with a black and a white officer in Washington, DC. We have the unspoken thoughts of the black officer as his partner exudes racism. We move to a white suburban couple driving into DC. The unspoken thoughts here are those of the woman as she talks about a male friend, telling only part of the truth. The friend is Dimitri Karras. In both cases, we see a rift in the communication, barriers between people. It is not hard to dislike all four immediately. You have the impression you will see them again as well as more relationship crippling dialogue. In the first sixteen pages there is white racism and fear, corruption, sex, young street tuffs and dealers, drugs, blood and gore, housing project slums, a car fiery crash and a pillowcase of cash money. This is standard Pelecanos, and this is just for starters!

Pelecanos always captures the look and feel of the location and the year. The Sweet Forever is metro DC in 1986; you can go to the bank on his books being in DC. He has the movies, the politics, cars, the fashion and the culture just right. For me, that nostalgic feel is one of the things I like about his books. I lived in Silver Spring, just outside DC, in the late 80s and early 90s. I walked the streets in the Pelecanos books. In 1986 Guatemala was in the news, cocaine was the recreational drug of choice, ‘Top Gun’ was at the movies and the University of Maryland with Len Bias was in the March Madness. I was forty. I was twice as old as my oldest son. He would not be a typical Pelecanos character – but we do have some of the parent-child issues that are common in Pelecanos.

As is the norm with Pelecanos, the good guys aren’t all good and the bad guys aren’t all bad. But many of the bad guys are dead in the end. Along with a couple of eleven year old boys who were trying to get into The Life. I guess I should give up waiting for a well developed significant female character in a Pelecanos novel; just ain’t going to happen. Well, nobody’s perfect.

I bought this autographed, fine, first edition copy of The Sweet Forever by George Pelecanos from www.mysterymikes.com for a good price. If you are looking for quality used detective, mystery and suspense books at a fair price, check him out. He is part of the Alibris system.

Ain’t no thing!
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Reading Progress

06/08/2011 page 16
5.0% "In the first sixteen pages there is white racism and fear, corruption, sex, young street tuffs and dealers, drugs, blood and gore, housing project slums, a car fiery crash and a pillowcase of cash money. This is standard Pelecanos, and this is just for starters!"
06/10/2011 page 196
64.0% ""Kids all ages deep into it now, Marcus. These boys, both of them, they had cocaine in their pockets, rolled up in foil. ... And the one got the top of his head blown off, Wesley Meadows, his fingerprints were on this .22 found by his side. Old piece of shit had a bad firing pin on it anyway, couldn't have shot nothin' with it if he tried, but the evidence does suggest that this 11-year-old kid was carrying a gun.""

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