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Hell to Pay (Derek Strange & Terry Quinn #2)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,105 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
Derek Strange and Terry Quinn, the team of private investigators who made their stunning debut in Right As Rain, are hired to find a 14-year-old white girl from the suburbs who's run away from home and is now working as a prostitute. The two ex-cops think they know D.C.'s dangers, but nothing in their experience has prepared them for Worldwide Wilson, the pimp whose territ ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 23rd 2011 by Back Bay Books (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

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Dan Schwent
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one makes me regret never taking up a read of Pelecanos. He felt like a rock I didn’t want to turn over to witness the squirm of scorpions and slugs. But he makes life in the mean streets of Washington, D.C., a microcosm worth attending to. The teen-aged prostitutes’ struggles to get by has its own form of heroism, and the tough young punks on the way up to gang membership are driven by the same urge to find meaning in action and simulated families as the rest of humanity.

In this world Pel
Jul 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to see that other readers do not find Hell to Pay and Right as Rain as high up on their approval list as I do. I just finished reading Hell to Pay and found it even stronger than the first one. Now the cat is out of the bag, too, as in searching for the book on the Goodreads library I see that there is a third novel, perhaps completing a trilogy with the same cast of characters. I see the recently checked out Pelecanos from my library is the final one. That means I'm going to be stuc ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
HELL TO PAY by George Pelecanos is the second book in the 'Derek Strange & Terry Quinn’ series following Right as Rain, and further establishes the unlikely friendship of two very different men that work well together in spite of their differences to form a loose partnership that is effective.

Garfield Potter is a violent young man trying to make a name for himself in his neighborhood where he and his two partners deal dope and the story opens at a dog fight where they own one of the dogs.
A painstaking mural of the metamorphosis of Washington DC from a metropolis to murder-polis whose inhabitants are at once menacing and heart warming. It's this chalk and cheese persona of Pelecanos' characters that draws a somewhat translucent line between good and evil in the third world urban sprawl of the major US city. Victims of circumstance turned hardened thugs turned kid killers find themselves the focus of PI Derek Strange as he seeks the right kind of justice for the murder of an innoc ...more
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my second George Pelecanos novel, but my first outing with the team of Derek Strange and Terry Quinn. This one is apparently the second in the Strange/Quinn series, so I am reading these out of order, but it didn’t seem to make a nickel’s worth of difference. It was easy to fall right into step with these two guys.

A little bit hip and quite a bit old-school, Derek Strange is a 50-ish ex-cop with a store-front business called Strange Investigations (love it!), who values his old vinyl r
Feb 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
another addictive pelecanos novel (my second). this basically deepens the universe created in right as rain, and does a nice job propping up its next installment (soul circus, which i'll undoubtedly get to in the coming months). this one has less of the sensational shoot 'em up stuff that sometimes scars the plausibility of right as rain, choosing instead to get inside the heads of each of its characters. very effective as a portrait of poverty, particularly in its look at characters on the peri ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Larry Bassett
Aug 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime
What can I say? I love George Pelacanos. But tears in my eyes at the end of Hell to Pay? It was too much like And They All Lived Happily Ever After, wasn’t it?

With Pelacanos, language is never plain or simple. It is always dressed up in descriptive adjectives and proper nouns. Product placement is a Pelacanos trademark. Hell to Pay is like a guided tour of metropolitan DC and its suburbs. And, of course, the Wheaton Mall appears in its usual cameo role. As does Bonifant Street and Sligo Avenue i
Pamela Mclaren
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This is a gritty, dark tale situated in the heart of our nation's capital; a story about a neighborhood and the men who are fighting to help its children survive, but to survive and get out, to be productive citizens, not drug dealers, prostitutes and pimps. Its a hard life but Derek Strange is fighting it with something that the kids can understand: sports. But in the case of one child, it isn't enough.

Strange and Terry Quinn, both ex-cops know that they did their best but the they also know t
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The second Derek Strange novel. While his hot-headed white partner, Terry Quinn, is hired to rescue a runaway girl from a pimp, Strange gets involved in a high-profile murder case after one of the young boys on his peewee football team is shot. With the police closing in fast, Strange must decide whether he wants the arrogant gang bangers who did the shooting to be arrested, or suffer the rough justice of a vicious drug dealer who has a personal interest in the case.

It’s another solid crime stor
Del Johnstone
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Right as Rain, the first Strange & Quinn, four or five years back, and I'm not sure why I haven't been back before now; I guess it's just the eternal headache - so many books, so little time.

The main crux of the story here will be depressingly familiar to anyone with a even passing knowledge of the horrible self-perpetuating cycle of poverty/drugs/black on black gun crime that plagues some U.S. inner cities. This came out in 2003 but it could have been published this year. Pelecanos i
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I read this year's ago, and just started to re-read Pelecanos last week. I'd forgotten how good his books were, the mood he sets, the complexity of the characters. I can't wait to get the next.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here, Strange and Quinn are both former Metropolitan Police Department Officers. Strange is an older African-American man who keeps his office right in the city on Bonifant Avenue as sort of an example to younger men in the area. Quinn is Caucasian and a bit younger than Strange. Quinn left the police force after a controversial shooting in which internal affairs found his actions to be “right as rain.” This story takes place some time after the events in “Right as Rain” and Quinn now has a priv ...more
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second in a trilogy by George Pelecanos, the first being Right as Rain. We meet Derek Strange and Terry Quinn again, both private investigators in Washington, DC, both former cops and both men with the desire to do the right thing and help the kids in the area to break out of the cycle of poverty, drugs and violence. Troubled by demons themselves, the story is as much about their personal crises and journey through life as it is the story of a tragic shooting death and the search for ...more
Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
its like

This guy walks in, like muscular and lean, head shaved, OJ grin, hard eyes. Moves loose and lithe, but quick like a cat. His athleticism is apparent, his intentions a mystery. His smile lights up, he spots his homies, he grins and he talks, but his cold eyes keep scanning the room and then just for a second your eyes cross.

But that second is enough for you to realize, somthin' easy, somethin' prophetic

You ain't supposed to be here.

And, thats the way it goes, first, casual and loose then
(#2 of the Derek Strange series)-This was a really good one. Better than #1. Derek is coaching a football team. One of the kids gets shot by a thug. Derek and his partner go on their own search for this guy. In the mean time, Derek is asked to help find a runaway turned hooker. He puts Quinn on the case.
Derek is battling a weakness for massage tables and really starts to question his life.
These books tell a hard story of the DC streets. They are excellent in drawing the picture and putting you
Ken Schloman
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second book of the series, and the author does did not miss a beat. Many series go down hill as they progress. This novel actually is a step up. It's gritty and tells a story of Washington DC that tourists don't see. Pelacanos puts the reader into the mind of the character. You see what the character sees. You feel what the character feels. I highly recommend anything he writes.
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
A nice tight procedural - no mystery. This is a multi-ethnic portrait of one segment of Washington, D C. Pelecanos lays out some of the many issues facing the Capitol city. Racism predominantly among them. He does a very nice job with the various settings and the music and the culture. At times a little too simplistic and obvious, but not always. I recommend this writer and this book.
Andrew Neal
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really solid, completely self-contained story which nonetheless moves Strange and Quinn forward as characters. Good stuff.
Originally read, July '08: I see the formula, but it doesn't bother me in the least. He just knows how to tell a good story.

Recently read, January '14: I had no recollection of having read this before. That bothers me a bit, but not much, because I have read several other Pelecanoses since then and now have a much more robust appreciation of him and the genre. This leads to longer musings in the once-terse review, so brace yourself. I doubt I'm going to forget having read this one again.

Andreas Schmidt
Aug 06, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Non mi dice niente
Un libro che non ha attirato la mia attenzione né è riuscito ad interessarmi, una storia piatta che mi ha lasciato parecchio perplesso. Un greco immigrato che parla di un poliziesco con i negri? Non è che, forse, dovrebbe scrivere solo di quello che davvero conosce? Lo stile di per sé non è neppure male, anche se com'è ovvio certi "slang" che in inglese ti fanno capire come parlano i neri americani della zona di Washington d.c. per forza di cose vengono riportati in un tono par
May 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2002-reads
RATING: 4.25

Derek Strange, owner of Strange Investigations, is a solid citizen in his Washington, DC, neighborhood. He’s been in business for over 25 years and serves as a role model to the young black people of the community. He continues to give back to his neighborhood, doing things such as coaching Pee Wee football and trying to show kids there are choices besides gangs and drugs.

Strange works with Janine Baker, his office manager and a woman who he loves but not well enough; Ron Lattimer, a
John Marsh
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Manish Kumar
It nicely depicts the underworld - how people find it difficult to cope up with black poor surroundings. The best part of the book was the authenticity of the writing.
The antagonist raises a moral question which really left me wondering about what is correct and what is not. It seems very relevant in reference to the story of the book.
The overall story was Ok, but it was nice to read.
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth Peleconos crime novel I've read and I haven't been disappointed in any of them. Pelecanos can ratchet up suspense and tells a story well, even when he veers off into the personal lives of his detectives. I never mind these side-excursions, knowing that he's always coming back on track to the chief problem, the solving of some usually senseless and cold-blooded murder in the crime-ridden milieu of Washington, D.C. In this story, it's the pointless and careless shooting of a 12 ...more
Joe  Noir
I read a couple of early Pelecanos novels and, frankly, didn’t see what the fuss was about. This is another book that jumped right out at me, though. It’s a fast, easy read; with a lot going for it. Hell to Pay is the second novel in a trilogy; the first being Right as Rain, and the third is Soul Circus. This novel can be read independently of the other two, and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Pelecanos is obviously knowledgeable about street crime, and its causes and e
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another great effort by George Pelecanos. The early books by Pelecanos were adrenaline (and drug) - fueled stories without much depth of character or plotting. Still, quite fun. As this author matured, he began to adopt some depths into his plots, along with street-realism, a la Michael Connelly. As his career progressed, he also began to infuse his characters with depth and complexity that is a far cry from say, the Stefanos trilogy. The result are books that are fun to read, but evoke ...more
Perry Whitford
Hell to Pay is the second outing for Pelecanos' Washington DC based "salt and pepper" private detective duo.

Derek Strange, who owns the company, is a fifty-something black man with a love of the street, classic soul music and a reluctance to settle down, despite the love of a good woman. Terry Quinn is a sometime employee, a thirty-something white man with a love of Springsteen and Steve Earle, a loner's mentality and an overly-sensitive response to slights, which usually leads to violence.

Aaron Arnold
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2010
Another book with connection to The Wire: George Pelecanos is a well-known Washington, DC crime novelist infamous for writing the penultimate episodes for each season where terrible things happen to major characters. This was the first book of his I picked up and though I've read and enjoyed a few others by now, I think this is the best one I've read so far. It's the second book of his Derek Strange series, featuring Strange and his fellow private investigator (and fellow ex-cop) Terry Quinn try ...more
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George P. Pelecanos (born 1957 in Washington, D.C.) is an American author of detective fiction set primarily in the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. He is also a film and television producer and a television writer. He has worked extensively on the HBO series The Wire. His novels use an ensemble cast of characters, following their exploits across several generations. While there are ...more
More about George Pelecanos...

Other Books in the Series

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

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