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The Turnaround by George Pelecanos
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Dec 24, 08

bookshelves: fiction-crime-detection
Read in December, 2008

Pelecanos, George. THE TURNAROUND. (2008). ****. This is a different type of novel for Pelecanos. The crime happens early on, and involves three white boys and three black boys. The white boys, on a lark, drive into a black neighborhood and shout insults at the black boys. One even throws a pie at one of the blacks. As they speed up their car to get away, they find that they can’t find their way out of the neighborhood, and end up being stopped by the three blacks. A confrontation follows. One of the white boys runs off and manages to escape, while of the other two, one is severely beaten and the other is shot and killed. Then, it is twenty-five years later. We learn about the surviving members of the original six. One has taken over his father’s diner, one has become a physical therapist at Walter Reed Hospital, one has become an auto mechanic. The fourth, the one who fired the gun and killed another boy, is just now getting out of prison. He is angry and a hardened criminal. He is owed something for his life, and he means to get it from one of the surviving white boys. The ‘turnaround’ of the title is what each of the surviving members of this tragedy go through, with the exception of the career criminal. There is very little action in this novel, but lots of introspection and careful examination of the issue of race. It also shows that, in some cases, wisdom comes with age – or is it just trying to get along with life. Recommended.
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