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Hard Revolution

(Derek Strange & Terry Quinn #4)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,161 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
In this prequel to the two highly successful Derek Strange novels, George P. Pelecanos illuminates his early life as a black police officer in Washington in 1968.
Paperback, 376 pages
Published 2005 by Orion (first published January 1st 2004)
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Dan Schwent
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pelecanos, 2013
The Strange brothers grow up in Washington DC in the 1950's and 60's and take radically different paths. Derek becomes a cop while Dennis doesn't become much of anything. Can Dennis avoid ending up in jail for running with the wrong crowd? Can Derek keep his personal feelings out of his police work?

The fourth Derek Strange tale is a story from Derek's youth, showing what decisions he made that made him a bad ass private detective in the present day. Pelecanos uses historical events and the music
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strange & Stefanos are currently engaging in fisticuffs in my heart in order to determine who will be the number one man in my life. I love Derek Strange, but I didn't realize just how deeply those feelings ran until I met the young, police officer version of him. So, swoon! I didn't quite twig to the whole Alvin Jones connection & what that all meant, so it was a pleasant surprise to meet baby Granville Oliver, even though I didn't particularly care for the ending of Hell To Pay.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, ein wahrer Brummer unter den Kriminalromanen, schwer und wuchtig und dazu passend auch eher langsam und ausführlich erzählt, aber was für eine Tragkraft diese Figuren und die Story haben! Sehr sehr großartig. Thematisch liegt der Schwerpunkt auf dem Leben in Washington, D.C. in den späten 60er Jahren, das Civil Rights Movement und der Rassismus in den USA, erzählt wird das alles über ein Figurenensemble aus Cops, Kleinkriminellen und Bürgern der amerikanischen Hauptstadt und birgt eine ganz ...more
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing

Hard Revolution works as a prequel for Pelecanos’s Quinn-Strange books and as an important piece in his interwoven portrait of Washington D.C. that he has painted via the medium of serial fiction. The ’68 riots and their influence on the city has long been a motif in his work. This moment of rage and self destruction that has cast a decades long shadow on the black working class and their neighborhoods. Pelecanos uses a stripped down reporter style delivery (even more than usual) that still mana
Sep 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read_2012
Similar in style and substance to Pelecanos’ penultimate DC Quartet, ‘Hard Revolution’ is the forth novel to feature Derek Strange. Rather than a follow-up to the last Strange and Quinn PI novel ‘Soul Circus’, ‘Hard Revolution’ takes us back to a younger Derek growing up in the late 50’s and then on to his career as a police officer timed around the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968.

The echoes of a revolution are omnipresent, racial vilification bears a similar resemblance to Ed Lacy’
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2004
One of the very best books I've read in recent years. Pelecanos knows D.C. and can tell a story like no one else. I went to a signing he did when this book came out and he gave out CDs with music from the time period in which the book is set. It was a great soundtrack to have on while reading.

**14 years later and this story still sticks with me. This book makes my top 10, probably top 5 reads, ever!
Χρήστος Καψάλης
Απλά τέλειο. Ένας κορυφαίος λογοτέχνης γράφει εξαιρετικά μια σκληρή ιστορία. Ο G.Pelecanos έχει το χάρισμα και την τύχη να είναι ένας από τους καλύτερους συγγραφείς της δεκαετίας μας. Το ότι γράφει noir ιστορίες είναι δική μας τύχη.

Όπως συνήθως, στις σελίδες της «Φλεγόμενης Πόλης» δεν θα βρείτε κανένα σασπένς με την κλασσικά αστυνομική έννοια του όρου. Κανένα κυνηγητό, καμιά έκπληξη, καμιά ανατρεπτική πλοκή. Κι όμως δεν θες να αφήσεις αυτό που διαβάζεις. Σαν να νιώθεις ένα γαργαλητό στον νωτιαίο
May 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, favorites
This fourth book in the Derek Strange cycle (Right as Rain, Hell to Pay, and Soul Circus precede it), finally takes longtime readers of Pelecanos to an event we've been waiting for him to deal with: Washington, D.C.'s 1968 riots. I wasn't even born until a few years after the riots, but growing up in D.C., it was hard to miss the physical and psychic scars they left on the city. Once again Pelecanos brilliantly uses the pulp crime novel as a vehicle for his sociocultural history of Washington, D ...more
Larry Bassett
If you know popular (R&R, R&B, Motown) music, George Pelecanos will tell you what year it is by the tunes and the bands and other identifying details. Part I of Hard Revolution opens in the spring of 1959. I am not one who knows the music so the date on the lead page helps me out. You can just enjoy knowing that what you read in the next 71 pages is really taking you back to 1959 in metro DC. We meet Derek Strange as a teenager. We will get to know him better later in this book and in se ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dass für George Pelecanos die literarische Verarbeitung des Alltags in seiner Heimatstadt Washington schon immer ein zentrales Thema war und ist, weiß jeder, der seine Romane kennt. Ob das nun die Washington-Trilogie oder die Strange/Quinn-Reihe ist, die Stadt und ihre Bewohner, aber auch die gesellschaftlichen Verhältnisse, bilden immer den Rahmen für die Bücher des Autors.

So auch in „Hard Revolution“, im Original bereits 2004 erschienen und nun dankenswerterweise in der deutschen Übersetzung (
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
A prequel to the Derek Strange & Terry Quinn trilogy, Hard Revolution follows the usual Pelecanos template. It traces the lives of a bunch of world-weary working class guys and a couple of despicable lowlifes without any redeeming feature till their inevitable confrontation involving a lot of guns happens.

A younger Strange is more impetuous and hence more interesting to follow than he had been previously. However as far as crime protagonists go, he is still firmly on the boring side of thing
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it
A moderately good book that wanted to be a much better book. The last 20 pages suggest how good it could've been. Unfortunately, there were a number of shortcomings. None of them are fatal, but they left this reader somewhat melancholy, thinking of things as they might've been.

◼ There are several clunky speeches poorly disguised as dialogue. This breaks the realism effect that is so important for the "gritty social issue crime" subgenre.

◼ We get it: you know WDC streets and did research on what
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t jump into the series on book 4
Mar 21, 2011 added it
Pelecanos was a writer/producer for best television show ever "The Wire," and most articles and reviews I've read about him stress how much more "literary" his crime novels are than his contemporaries'. I'll have to take the word of his books' blurbs for it that he's one of the best American crime novelists, but even though the two books I read by him were entertaining, they still have the same lack of subtlety and cliche (or "archetypical") characters and plots that make genre fiction genre fic ...more
Aug 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
my favorite of the derek strange novels by far, and the one where pelecanos pulls everything together into something really rich and surprising. truth be told, this is the first of the four novels i've read of his that approaches the scope of the wire (for which he was a screenwriter).

the story here cuts back to the late sixties, when strange was a rookie cop. as one part of an ensemble cast, strange's world opens up into a mini-universe, and the sense of what's to come (both in terms of the cha
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When is an historical novel not an historical novel? How about when it uses historical events as the backdrop, instead of the driver, of stories of everyday lives?

In Hard Revolution, the backdrop is the days and weeks in Washington, DC just before and after Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968. Derek Strange, Frank Vaughn, their friends, families, work mates, and adversaries, white and black, native-born and immigrant, go about their daily lives in the multifaceted ferment of late 60s DC
Dec 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
One minute I was learning who George Pelecanos was and the next I had a copy of this book in my hand. This book gives the background story of Derek Strange, one of Pelecanos' reoccuring characters. I read it first, and now I am excited to read more and see how the character was developed before this backstory was released.

Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
excellent story
Robert Fegley
May 29, 2007 rated it liked it
Good, but not his best effort.
Lauren Sandler
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Brother gets a bit heavy handed at times, and needs to be a bit more selective about his florid references to every deep cut on DC radio, but man I was taken with this.
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dieser Kriminalroman, den ich eher als gesellschaftskritische Erzählung beschreiben würde, verfolgt verschiedene Menschen bzw. Grüppchen durch eine lange Zeit ihres Lebens.

Es beginnt mit einem der Hauptcharaktere, Derek Strange, dessen Kindheit wir ein Weilchen begleiten dürfen. Wir erfahren, wie er (mit seinen Eltern und seinem Bruder Dennis, sowie seinem engen, griechischen Freund Billy) aufwuchs und aus welchen Gründen er Polizist wurde. Dieser Teil war sehr schön ausgearbeitet, obwohl ich De
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Uitgelezen: Hard Revolution (2004) van Amerikaanse misdaadschrijver George Pelecanos, wiens naam meer en meer lijkt op te duiken, zowel in binnen- als buitenland. En terecht, want deze schrijver, die in 1992 (op z’n vijfendertigste) debuteerde, is intussen uitgegroeid tot een van m’n favoriete misdaadschrijvers (samen met James Ellroy en Michael Connelly). Pelecanos is niet enkel een romanschrijver, maar ook essayist, script writer (hij schreef enkele episodes voor de geweldige HBO-serie The Wir ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
If you are a fan of hard-boiled mysteries and noir films, this is the author for you. This is a hard book to describe.Derek Strange is a black police officer in 1968. There aren't many and he faces comments from the people he grew up with as well as his fellow cops. The climactic sequences play out against the riots after Dr. King was killed. But it's got a lot of family themes as well, both the families of blood and the families of friendship. He develops the characters carefully. One thing I l ...more
Fernando Gálvez
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pelecanos abre una ventana al pasado en la vida de su personaje, Derek Strange, y lo que le tocó vivir a él, a su familia y cercanos en momentos delicados de la historia estadounidense durante 1968 con la ola de disturbios callejeros ocurridos en Washington y el asesinato de Martin Luther King. Pelecanos, como es habitual, toma el punto de vista, ya sea, del obrero e inmigrante o del afroamericano cuya vida le ha sido más ingrata de lo que esperaba. A partir de allí va hilando a sus personajes, ...more
Jim Golmon
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first book by Pelecanos that I've read and it's easy to see why he's been called the Poet Laureate of DC crime fiction.

It is a prequel to his Derek Strange (black DC police) books and covers the period centering on the assassination of Dr. King in Memphis in April of 1968.

Hard to put down; even harder to resist searching out more books by this author.
Joshua Thompson
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pelecanos is masterful at creating atmosphere. And I found the differing inner dialogues of the several different characters very insightful at times, especially when painting various shades of gray regarding race relations in the setting of DC in 1968.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love Pelecanos. His crime novels never disappoint. Just a reminder that I should read more of his work. I also enjoy how he describes my old stomping grounds in DC as the backdrop. Highly recommend.
Evan Kirby
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
A nice effort to change up the Strange & Quinn series since it had got a little stale with essentially the same story repeated three times. The book only really clicks in the latter stages after the death of Martin Luther King and the ensuing riots, the rest is a bit too meandering.
Sean Beckett
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Superb. Being English and not born until the mid-60s, I can't know how accurate this book is, but it felt right. It's hard to say why, but it was just outstanding. The characters were well developed - no perfect people here, and the pace was just right. Time to find a few more by this chap!
Arielle Masters
A quick read, with a lot of action - primarily racist, sexist action, with crude, sexist writing. Was interesting to learn more about the civil rights riots in DC in the '60s but did not care at all for the author or most of his characters.
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George Pelecanos was born in Washington, D.C. in 1957. He worked as a line cook, dishwasher, bartender, and woman's shoe salesman before publishing his first novel in 1992.

Pelecanos is the author of eighteen novels set in and around Washington, D.C.: A Firing Offense, Nick's Trip, Shoedog, Down By the River Where the Dead Men Go, The Big Blowdown, King Suckerman, The Sweet Forever, Shame the Devil

Other books in the series

Derek Strange & Terry Quinn (5 books)
  • Right as Rain (Derek Strange and Terry Quinn #1)
  • Hell to Pay
  • Soul Circus (Derek Strange and Terry Quinn, #3)
  • What It Was