Tim Hennessy's Reviews > The Turnaround

The Turnaround by George Pelecanos
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's review
Oct 21, 2008

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Read in November, 2008

Pelecanos' latest focuses on the repercussions a vicious assault and murder has on all of it's participants many years later. The plotting is proficient and unsurprising, but it takes a backseat to the characters who propel the book forward.
Creating well rounded, sympathetic characters and capturing the rhythms of their speech are strengths that serve Pelecanos much more, than his exposition heavy prose. Time after time Pelecanos uses flat description instead of showing some of the richness of the characters.

"Cody called all Hispanics "Mexicans" considered them adversaries and thieves of American jobs. Cody wore his hair very short and only got it cut at black barbershops. Cody said "forf" for "fourth" and "bruva" for "brother" but to Deon it didn't seem like he was trying to hard, like all the other white boys. It was who he was."

With all of the skill Pelecanos puts into his scenes with dialogue, the above example among many, would seem like a great place to show us these two knuckleheads, and play to the reader's senses instead of just another static description.

Pelecanos knows how to construct characters compelling enough that the end comes quick, even though the plot points can be seen coming a mile away.

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