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The Man Who Came Uptown

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  941 ratings  ·  193 reviews
In bestselling and Emmy-nominated writer George Pelecanos' novel, one of the best mysteries of 2018 (Publishers Weekly), an ex-offender must choose between the man who got him out and the woman who showed him another path.

Michael Hudson spends the long days in prison devouring books given to him by the prison's librarian, a young woman named Anna who develops a soft spot
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Mulholland Books
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George Pelecanos writes a movingly profound homage to the joys of reading, the horizons that books open up, and their transformative power to change lives. Those who are committed and obsessive readers, who can envisage the possibilities that reading offers, will truly appreciate this gritty urban offering, set in the city of Washington DC, once presided over by the first black mayor, Marion Barry, a flawed man but who played an important part in ensuring the black community were offered employm ...more
Susanne Strong
4.5 Stars* (rounded up).

An Incredibly Intelligent Literary Feat!

These days, Michael Hudson is determined to keep his head down. He spends most days reading books and working at a pizza joint. Reading has become his favorite past-time since his release from Prison. Michael received several recommendations from Anna Kaplan, the jail’s librarian and has devoured each one. From them, Michael has learned a life lesson. Anna is a woman who loves her job, not just because she likes books, but because
Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardboiled, mysteries
”When he read a book, the door to his cell was open. He could step right through it. He could walk those hills under the big blue sky. Breathe the fresh air around him. See the shadows moving over the trees. When he read a book, he was not locked up. He was free.”

The best thing that happens to Michael Hudson is getting locked up.
The second best thing is meeting prison librarian Anna Kaplan Byrne.
The third best thing is the day he opens a book and lets the magic happen.

The body might be caged, b
Larry H
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I'm between 4 and 4.5 stars.

I know I ask this of certain authors from time to time, but why isn't George Pelecanos a star?

In addition to being the author of some pretty terrific crime novels, he's been a writer on television shows like The Wire and Treme , and co-created the series The Deuce . I've often heard about his books becoming movies, but nothing ever seems to come to fruition, and I just don't understand it. This man should be a household name. His books should be seen in people's h
Diane S ☔
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know this author has written many books, has written some popular television programs, but to me he is a new author. The first thing I noticed was how smooth his writing is, nary a stutter nor wrong word. How wonderfully he draws his characters, giving us just enough insight to make judgements of our own. Michael Hudson is a young man in prison, he did something incredibly stupid, a mistake he vows to never repeat. Anna is a young woman, shr is the prison librarian and also runs the prisons bo ...more
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
People may be familiar with George Pelecanos for his groundbreaking and award winning writing on the TV series “The Wire,” ”The Deuce,” and “Treme.” For all those people, and anyone else who loves exceptionally well written literary crime fiction, I would highly encourage them to read Pelecanos’s books. His newest book “The Man Who Came Uptown” is among his very best.

Michael Hudson is serving time in prison until one of his “friends” manipulates an early reason. To repay that debt, he is expecte
George Pelecanos may be working more on television than books these days, but the man still knows how to write one damn fine crime novel.

Michael Hudson has been in jail awaiting trial for taking part in the robbery, but doing time has been made easier by prison librarian Anna who helped him discover a love of reading. Fortunately for Michael his case is dismissed thanks to private investigator Phil Ornazian who gets the man he robbed to drop the charges. All Michael wants to do is clean up his
Dan Schwent
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books, 2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The work of George Pelecanos has a special place in my heart. I've read every single one of his books and they always leave me affected in some way. I know many people complain about his constant focus on the minutiae of his native Washington D.C. and popular culture references, but there's something about it that adds to the experience and the charm. His latest book is classic Pelecanos and one of his most instantly reader-friendly, which is saying a lot, because he's known for that.

In it, a yo
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The following is my review of THE MAN WHO CAME UPTOWN that ran originally in the Washington Post Book World.


by Chris Bohjalian

A day does not go by without my wife teasing me that I — a novelist — have become a terrible influence on her, because nightly I pull her away from books to insist she watch an hour of television. She used to read for two or three hours a night; now she reads for one.

How America watches television has changed dramatically in the past decade and a half, due in par
Jill Mackin
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dc, crime, fiction
My first Pelecanos novel and I certainly wasn't disappointed. A petty criminal, Michael Hudson finds comfort in books and turns his life around with the help of the prison librarian, Anna.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Following the needed ingredients in recipes provides consistency and can result in increased standards of quality. To whip up a monstrous hurricane, you need these ingredients: warm sea temperatures, strong wind patterns, high sea levels, and an angry god wishing to put the heathens in North Carolina in their place. To perform a killer floss routine you must have: flailing arms, swaying hips, and the ability to feel absolutely zero embarrassment. The recipe to becoming a social outcast in high s ...more
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always thought of Pelecanos as one helluva crime writer, his books never disappoint, and this one is no exception. An intriguing, descriptive and immersive plot, I cannot see how anyone could fail to love this novel. The writing, as always, is of superb quality, and you feel you know the characters as well as the city. A thriller with an air of authenticity to it - everything felt so realistic and believable. Despite many of the characters being criminals, I still felt I could relate to t ...more
Fresh out of prison, Michael Hudson is faced with even more challenges. A new job, his love of books, thanks to Anna who opened him up the world of books while in prison and the Washing D.C. that looks much different than he remembers but one thing remains the same. The temptations that pull at him and the choices he now has to make. I read this in one night! what a compelling read. The writing is just remarkable. A powerful story I just couldn't put down.

Novels N Latte
Book Blog
Ron S
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Washington D.C. located crime novel that also serves as a love letter to the redemptive power of literature and libraries. Pelecanos shows that his focus on scriptwriting for shows like The Wire, Treme and The Deuce have done nothing but sharpen his skills as a novelist. He's entered what I think of as Elmore Leonard territory (one author, among many, he references in this book) where the writing seems so effortless you'd don't notice the craft in it. A true gift for anyone that works with boo ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Not perfect, occasionally the pace was a little slow, but I really enjoyed it a lot. Whole thing seemed real and believable without a neat bow to tie people up with. Paromjit, Lou, and Larry H wrote excellent reviews for you to read.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the narrative, characters arrive at a few crossroads, there are bad moves and good moves, within there are bad guys and good guys, two flawed characters with plenty of ability and potential in finding their feet. Michael out of jail early, had a second chance dealt to him that will be called in as a favour by a private investigator Phil Orzanian in due course.
Michael Hudson had found a love for words and books in jail.
The whole reading through his situation was empowered by Anna, a good lady,
Thank god this isn't a Spero novel. Nobody writes D.C. like Pelecanos, the city where ignition is a verb and someone is always trying to get up on you. While this is certainly not the most action-packed of his novels, this is still a perfect slice of exactly what Pelecanos does right - the rich details of the city, in this instance tainted by seeping gentrification, the characters and the codes that they use to define themselves, and this line, which resonated with me deeply: “’This past year ha ...more
One of the characters read books that take him somewhere else,somewhere away from his life; this book immerses the reader in his world, a still gritty but also gentrifying DC - a world of hustle alongside hard working hope. The fast pace leaves you almost breathless, the characters touch you deep inside.
Greville Waterman
I loved this book.

So easy to read which demonstrates the quality of the writing, this thriller drew me in from the first page.

Well drawn characters who were fascinating and interesting ensured my attention and the plot felt authentic and realistic.

The guy can write.

Highly recommended.
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a different kind of book...a hybrid of a mystery, noir and a character study. I have read a book or two by George Pelecanos in the past, and have seen some of his TV show creations/writing. He really seems to be very knowledgeable about the down and dirty grit of the streets, and in that way he reminds me of Richard Price. But they are very different writers. Pelecanos is more spare with his words than Price, but both convey a reality and believability in how certain cultures think and ...more
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Both crime fiction and book lovers will rejoice after reading George Pelecanos’ latest novel!

Below is a link to my complete review.
Charles Finch
My review from USA Today


George Pelecanos has drawn some heat lately: in an interview about his favorite books with The New York Times, he named 20-odd male authors but only a single female one, Harper Lee – to remark that she wasn’t a favorite. As if to double down, his newest novel, “The Man Who Came Uptown,” is dedicated to Elmore Leonard and Charles Willeford. It’s about a reformed ex-con named Michael and a restless private investigator named Orzanian, whom Michael owes, unfortunately, a fa
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Best character = a prison librarian!
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
George Pelecanos is one of my favorite authors. His writing is clean and straightforward, his plots are intriguing and many of his characters are everyday people with believable virtues and vices, often in close to equal proportions and their ethics sometimes realistically bend to fit a given situation. This book had me laughing at inept thieves at the beginning and contemplating the bigger issues of the inequities of the justice system at other points. The author manages to weave In a great sub ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Captivated from page one, I couldn't put down this Washington D.C based crime novel.
Thanks to Goodreads giveaways for this advanced readers copy due to be published in Sept.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book about criminals, thieves, killers, a corrupt policeman and private investigator, teenage punks and would-be white supremacists. But above and beyond all that it is a homage to the power of books and their redemptive power to change lives.

Michael Hudson first learned about the pleasure of reading while in prison. The prison librarian, Anna, discussed books with Michael and made suggestions for further reading. He was an eager learner and escaped the loneliness and monotony of prison life
Marc Bougharios
3.5 stars

First of all I want to thank Hachette Book Group Canada for sending me this physical ARC.

Going into this book I knew it was different than the kind of books I read but I decided to take a chance on it and I’m glad I did. It’s so different from the thriller that I read but I equally enjoyed it.

If I were to categorize it, I would say it’s more of a literary fiction about a young man who deals with some tough choices after being released from prison. Michael is such a great character in
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've never read Pelecanos before and enjoyed the grittiness of his writing. The storyline about the prison librarian and one inmate's new love of reading was a nice side story. Overall, though, I won't be running out to get another one of his books.
Larry Deaton
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A typical Pelecanos novel, by which I mean it was great. Pelecanos continues to work the crime scene of Washington, DC, starting with a young man, Michael, who is in jail and is exposed to some books by a librarian. He becomes a reader and vows to get and hold a steady job when he is released. But he soon is involved with a private investigator and a retired DC cop, who break more than a few laws themselves in robbing pimps and trying to recover stolen jewelry.

Pelecanos always educates us about
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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