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The Way Home

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  2,662 ratings  ·  335 reviews
Christopher Flynn is trying to get it right. After years of trouble and rebellion that enraged his father and nearly cost him his life, he has a steady job in his father's company, he's seriously dating a woman he respects, and, aside from the distrust that lingers in his father's eyes, his mistakes are firmly in the past.

One day on the job, Chris and his partner come acro
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,662 ratings  ·  335 reviews

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D. Pow
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
The Way Home is another stellar effort from George Pelecanos, one of the greatest working writers in America today.

Though Pelecanos works under the aegis of crime writer his novels have become vastly more encompassing than that, so acute at displaying American Dreams, lost & found, and so spot on in the rare and exact eye he puts on the working class and under class of the Washington DC area that it becomes increasingly apparent that his work is serious and lasting literature, and that he is a
Dan Schwent
Chris Flynn is a troubled youth from DC and after some brushes with the law, finds himself in reform school. Upon his release, he is walking the straight and narrow, working for his father, when he and a friend stumble upon a gym bag full of money on a carpet laying job. They don't take the money but it goes missing anyway and the owners come gunning for them. Can Chris stay on the right path or will he fall back into his old ways?

In The Way Home, Pelecanos revisits themes from some his earlier
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
One of the award winning writers of 'The Wire', Pelecanos produces a pretty formulaic crime thriller in the 21st century mean streets of Baltimore. Readable and pretty much set in the same world as 'The Wire' but nothing special. Tells the story of a white middle class boy from a 'normal' home but with an Old Skool macho dad that ends up on the wrong side of the tracks and how his life changes as he grows into a man. 4 out of 12.
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The first time Chris took a [juvenile] charge - for loitering and possession of marijuana - he was all nerves, standing in this room they had at the [police] station, waiting for his father to come and take him home. He was expecting his pops [to] put a finger up in his face, give him the lecture about responsibility and choices, maybe make some threats. But his father entered to room and . . . " -- page 12

Author Pelecanos again takes to the mean streets of the DC Metro Area - Washington D.C. a
James Thane
Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
This is a solid effort from George Pelecanos, but it suffers by comparison to some of his better books. Its principal themes involve the relationship between fathers and sons and the inadequacies of the juvenile justice system. But you get the feeling that Pelecanos is so determined to focus on these issues that he occasionally allows the story suffer for it.

The main protagonist, Chris Flynn, lost his way as a teenager, but for reasons that aren't entirely clear. He comes from a solid, two-paren
Manuel Antão
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013

Redemption...A story of love between a father and son, but a sort of a clunker.

Pelecanos's fiction has for a while now been decidedly more upbeat, less bleak and, I dare say, a little too predictable.

What's also getting on my nerves is his skewed syntax and more than a few strangely constructed sentences that stand out a mile away. And it's getting more pronounced with each book. Rush jobs for a paycheque?

It was also very preachy (like some of his late books).

While reading the book, I was expe
Darrell Reimer
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I’m skeptical whenever a critic claims a genre writer “gets better with every book.” Most writers I’ve followed (including, perhaps especially, the high-falutin’ types) work steadily until they find their groove. Once established, they return to the groove and work it until it becomes a rut. George Pelecanos came on the crime fiction scene just over 15 years ago, and immediately proved himself as someone worth reading. And, dammit, he gets better with every book. He definitely has his groove, bu ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
I found this book quite boring actually, with one dimensional characters and a stale plot.

I enjoyed the first third of the book, but some of the characterisation was too be laboured. The plot was boring and very much like a B-rate crime drama TV show.

Nothing wrong with the writing and I did enjoy the representation of the prison system and the portrayal of class and family life. I just found some of the characters and scenarios tiring. Full of "homies" and "gang-baging" and "bro", author's word
Jun 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
Pelecanos adds his twist to a standard crime story: people find a large sum of money and trouble follows. As always with Pelecanos, the crime is far less important than the characters. Most of this one hinges on a father-son relationship with son Chris trying to live down his past as a teen-age criminal and his father's disappointment that he hasn't grown into a more successful man.

The first part of the book is about young Chris committing a minor crime spree just because of teen-age stupidity a
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Just a note: There's a spoiler in the final third of this review, but it shouldn't matter to you because it is an annoying spoiler and part of the reason you shouldn't read The Way Home. ON WITH THE REVIEW!!

I expected more from one of the writers of The Wire. I guess this is unfair to George Pelecanos. I mean it's not his fault that the other fiction writers associated with The Best Show Ever Aired are all gods of the crime-fiction realm. Not everyone can be Dennis Lehane, Richard Price, or even
Larry Bassett
Jun 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was led to buy this book by the little tag above the author's name, telling me it was 'by one of the award winning writers of The Wire'. Sadly, The Way Home did not live up to the standard this suggests. The Wire was compelling and essential viewing, peopled by characters that all felt real to me. The Way Home was pedestrian storytelling peopled by characters that could have been interesting if given a chance, only for Pelecanos to decide not to show any growth or change but simply tell us abo ...more
Apr 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Although Thomas Flynn never attended college, he became a successful entrepreneur. All he wants for his son, Chris, is to see him go to college and succeed in life. But Chris has no interest in school and drifts toward a life of drugs and petty crime. Placed in a juvenile facility until 18, Chris takes a job with his father once he graduates high school. Although Flynn is disappointed in Chris and Chris resents his father’s plans for his future, the two learn to work together without conflict. T ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An easy 5 stars!

Once again Pelecanos delivers the goods on an engaging tale that kept me captivated. The way this guy writes makes the words just fly off the page. Satisfying ending too.
May 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009-reads
PROTAGONIST: The Flynn family
SERIES: Standalone
RATING: 3.25

Thomas Flynn is a successful business owner, whose family life is unfortunately a difficult one. His son, Christopher, is one of those kids who seems destined to end up in trouble. Ultimately, he is sentenced to juvenile prison; and the relationship with his father is strained to the breaking point. Chris experiences an epiphany while serving his time and is ready to change his ways upon his release at the age of 26. But Thomas is not fo
May 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Tom and Amanda Flynn believed that if you raised a child in a comfortable home, good schools, church and with two loving parents, it should be what a child needs to be successful in life. It didn't seem to work for their son, Christopher. By the time Chris was sixteen his grades were down, he stopped playing sports, started shoplifting, fighting, smoking marijuana and was headed for jail.

A stretch in a juvenile jail worked for Chris. He grew up and learned what he had to do to stay out of jail.
May 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
I'm really torn on my opinion of this one. My main complaint is quite similar to my issue with Pelecanos' previous novel The Turnaround, in that it was a bit too transparent in trumpeting the importance of Honor and Responsibility and Fathers Having A Catch With Their Sons.

Which is a shame, because the story and the characters are compelling enough to convey such points. The author's experience as a writer for The Wire shows through, as he maintains his ability to tell layered crime stories suf
Larry H
I have read everything George Pelecanos has written. I'm a huge fan. And while it's always exciting to see authors branch out a bit instead of writing the same old thing every time, I'll admit that this book and his last one are making me a bit nostalgic for his previous ones. Yes, he's an awesome writer. And this book certainly does prove once again he's a master at telling a story and creating a pervading feeling of forboding. But in the end, this book left me fairly cold. What I struggled wit ...more
Vannessa Anderson
Dec 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I was impressed with The Way Home.

I was impressed how George Pelecanos plunged into the challenge of taking on a subject far too often ignored in all communities and that subject is how to save our youth after they’ve served time in a juvenile facility.

Pelecanos shows how the prison system fails our children after punishing them, and often punishing them to severely. The system punishes our children then throws them back into the communities that failed them.

In The Way Home we follow four you
Steve In Ludlow
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime
I've read all of the Pelecanos novels, starting with Drama City and then getting back into the various cycles. This was disappointing. I can see that he is trying to broaden out his scope but I don't think this one rings true. For new readers I suggest you start with his earlier novels which build into a rich fabric of characters that weave in and out of plots. You will experience better plots, great characters and fantastic dialogue. Leave the Way Home till later. ...more
Lanie Stock
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you're affronted by coarse language and violence, don't read this book. If you're looking for a good story, plunge in! The author made me care about the characters enough to see them through to the end. And that last line--wow. Made my eyes tear up. ...more
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Meh. The story was a bit weak, but great characters. The writing was pretty good but the slang dialogue was cringe-worthy. It was missing that “X-factor” for me.
Bekki Grieve
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
Abandoning for now... I don’t think I’ll finish this one. 54% done and I have no interest in where the story is going. Boring, cringe-worthy slang and extremely boring and predictable plot. I’d rather spend my time reading something else.
Amy Meyer
Nov 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys crime fiction and good writing
Recommended to Amy by: I won it
Title: The Way Home
Author: George Pelecanos
ISBN: 978-0-316-15649-3
Pages: 323
Release Date: May 2009
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Genre: Literary Crime Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary: Hidden beneath the floorboards in a house he's remodeling, Christopher Flynn discovers something very tempting-and troubling. Summoning every bit of maturity and every lesson he's learned the hard way, Chris leaves what he found where he found it and tells his job partner to forget it, too. Knowing trouble w
Miriam Dunn
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was ok
It was honestly pretty lame. I feel like the climax was built up so much but when it actually happened, I was incredibly underwhelmed. The author spent pages describing details that really weren't super necessary, but the final conflict itself was severely summarized in like a single page. I also feel like the author just skipped over the aftermath of some of the characters' deaths when he could've dove deeper into that, rather than spend time talking about how this one dude lost weight. Not to ...more
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shortly after they were married, Thomas and Amanda Flynn had a baby girl, Kate, who lived for two days. After a few more years of trying, they finally had a boy, Chris, who never could quite live up to the image of Kate that Thomas had in his mind. Thomas would always think about what Kate would be doing, had she lived. Chris quit trying to please his father and got into trouble for stealing, using and selling drugs, fighting and reckless driving. He was finally sentenced to Juvenile Detention w ...more
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, literary
As a teenager Chris Flynn got into a lot of trouble. So much so he gets himself locked up in a juvenile detention facility. After he gets out he tries to turn his life around and go to work for his father, bringing his new jailhouse friends and enemies with him. On a job Chris and one of his new friends discover some money hidden in a floor which leads him down a path much worse than the one he used to be on. The Way Home is a story about a father and sons relationship. The ups and downs and how ...more
Sep 02, 2009 rated it liked it
The Way Home is good, concise story about the changing relationship of a father and son during the son's sudden descent into juvenile delinquency and mischief. When Chris Flynn suddenly jumps the tracks from becoming a promising college bound young man to a rebellious, drug-dabbling underachiever, his father Thomas is beside himself with guilt and frustration. Chris' road ultimately leads to a stint in juvenile detention, where he forges a bond with several other young men on similar paths. Upon ...more
Oct 13, 2009 rated it liked it
The power of George Pelecanos is in his deeply realistic characterizations of his protagonists and his characters' dialogue, which is some of the best I have ever come across in any genre. You feel for them, feel like you know them, and love and hate them. In this respect, this book is vintage Pelecanos. That said, there is a Pelecanos formula for plot that he rarely deviates from, which is there are some good guys, there are some bad guys, and then the good guys debate whether to go above the l ...more
Lars Guthrie
Aug 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In his past three novels, 'The Night Gardener,' 'The Turnaround,' and now 'The Way Home,' Pelecanos has gone from being a great crime novelist to a great novelist without losing any of the attributes that made him such a master of crime fiction: an ear for authentic dialogue, a feel for the details of life in the nation's capital and its suburbs, a connoiseur's appreciation of pop music and culture, and a gift for portraying splendid villains who are unrepentingly evil. The deliciously bad-to-th ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Correction 3 12 Apr 12, 2018 12:32PM  
George Pelecanos 1 12 Jun 04, 2011 08:29AM  

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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 Devi

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“If the storytellers told it true, all stories would end in death. But that will come in time...Not today.” 2 likes
“Your father’s a good man,” said Ali. “He’s like most people,” said Chris. “He’s trying to be good, and most times he is.” “Like you.” “But he wanted me to be better than him. Turns out I was human, just like him.” 0 likes
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