Peter Clothier's Reviews > The Night Gardener

The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos
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Dec 02, 11

Read in December, 2011

I’m cheap. I buy my entertainment books at the local library used book stand, and donate the ones I’ve read. It’s a good system for all, and it does a bit supports the library, I suppose, in hard times. It does mean, though, that I come by my thrillers way past their publication date—truthfully, well past their publication year. I don’t much mind, though. Unless they’re really old, they read pretty much the same. No burning issues. I've loved the genre since browing up with the greats--Leslie Charteris, G.K. Chesteron, Daphne DuMaurier, Ngaio Marsh--and, of course, Agatha and Sir Arthur. You know who I mean...

Anyway, there are certainly no burning social or philosophical issues in The Night Gardener, by George Pelecanos, which I just finished last night. It's a change of pace from Than Geoff! Pelecanos writes TV escapist fare--cop shows--and that much is evident here. The action is fast-paced, the street dialogue cryptic and convincing. Not too much gore, but murders aplenty and a hint of the currently topical theme of sex abuse. Characters are engaging, vulnerable, each broken in some way, some sufficiently well explored to be sympathetic.

The book is a page-turner. For a reader who, like myself, gets hooked on story and is impatient to know how it unfolds , The Night Gardener is guaranteed to keep you up a bit longer than you’d planned. My quibble: I do get tired of the macho exchange of tough cop talk between, mostly, guys who have a lot invested in their guy-ness—football, booze and sex. Otherwise, if you enjoy this kind of nonsense as I do, I say go for it.
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