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Right as Rain

(Derek Strange & Terry Quinn #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  4,492 ratings  ·  250 reviews
George Pelecanos's Washington, D.C., is a far cry from the upwardly mobile, tourist-attraction-speckled enclave of Margaret Truman (Murder at the National Cathedral, Murder in Georgetown). Pelecanos's capital is a haunting terrain of drugs and death, a no man's land of posturing dealers and skeletal warehouses that shelter their buyers:

A rat scurried into a dim side room,
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 16th 2008 by Little, Brown (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,492 ratings  ·  250 reviews

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Bill Kerwin

The first of the Strange-Quinn mystery series, with a black and white pair of former cops working as private detectives in the D.C. area. It is an effective and violent thriller, and deals perceptively with issues of race.
Dan Schwent
A white cop kills an off-duty black cop and the black cop's mother hires Derek Strange to get to the bottom of things. Strange stumbles into a world of drug dealers and dirty cops, and the only man who can help him is Terry Quinn, the white cop who shot the son of the woman who hired him...

Right as Rain kicks off the Derek Strange series. Strange, a sixty-ish black PI, is a pretty smooth character, a former cop who is fond of westerns. Terry Quinn is a white disgraced former cop who works in a
Deb Jones
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series
There's a lot going on in this first of the Derek Strange and Terry Quinn tomes by George Pelecanos, but it never feels overwhelming, with the narrative and the characters moving along at a steady speed in this gritty, earthy detective novel.

It's true that there is violence here, but it is not overplayed nor drawn out in lurid details. The world Strange and Quinn are involved in in the nation's capital is one that lends itself to violence. An absence of it in the story would feel unreal.

But this
I just discovered Pelecanos, and I’d like to issue him a challenge, because I think he’s a very talented writer. Mr. Pelecanos, someday please write a buddy novel about, say, a middle-aged woman detective and the gay former football player she teams up with. I think you could do it, maybe even have fun with it. To make it even more of a departure, start the story out someplace bland like Old Town Alexandria.

“Right as Rain” is the first in a series about two former cops in Washington, D.C. Derek
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
RIGHT AS RAIN: A DEREK STRANGE NOVEL by George Pelecanos is the first book in the “Derek Strange & Terry Quinn” series that begins with an older detective named Derek Strange, who is black, (and a former police officer in D.C. from '68) who is requested by an older woman he knows from church to look into the shooting death of her son; a young police officer named Chris Wilson (who is also black) by a young white police officer named Terry Quinn.

Quinn has been cleared of any wrongdoing, and
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-noir
Holy bejesus, Right as Rain is good. Workmanlike, maybe, but the kind of workmanlike that leads you to admire a well-made tool (heh) or table and say, "That sucker will last forever. Solid." I picked Right as Rain up after reading Drama City and finished the last sixty pages in the bath today. Very satisfying. Both the bath and the novel. Right as Rain is up there, as far as I'm concerned, with Ellroy's and MacDonald's best. Nothing too out of the ordinary here, nothing groundbreaking, but ...more
Stew Weiss
Jul 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pelecanos is one of my standby favorites. Aside from being a writer on HBO's "The Wire", he's the only author that I bother to read in hardback. His stories are set in the District of Columbia and its surrounding counties, but have little to do with the bustling Federal City and its corridors of power. Pelecanos writes about the dispossessed of DC, those who scratch out livings in Anacostia and the Northeast. Hard-boiled fiction from a city that always seems on the edge of boiling over. Right as ...more
Nov 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Derrick Strange sets out to investigate the shooting death of off-duty officer Chris Wilson, at the request of Wilson's mother. Wilson was shot by a fellow police officer, and the DC police force had already investigated and cleared Terry Quinn, the officer who shot Wilson, but Wilson's mother is not satisfied with their findings and doesn't like the way her son was portrayed through the official investigation. Strange not only uncovers new details in this unfortunate death, but he also uncovers ...more
Marty Fried
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is my first read from this author, and the first in a series - and a very strong start, in my opinion. I definitely plan to read more of these.

It's a gritty, down-to-earth story that takes place in Washington, DC in places where most of us would never see, and about people we probably would never meet. And for many of them, we wouldn't want to meet, although there are some that I wouldn't mind meeting, such as Derek Strange, a Black detective/former cop and his office manager/girlfriend. He
May 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2002-reads

Here’s the situation in a nutshell. On a dark side street in Washington, DC, a black man is holding a gun to the head of a white man lying on the ground. When the police arrive, there’s a lot of noise and confusion. The black guy is yelling something at the cops, but they can’t hear him. When he sweeps his gun in their direction, the white cop, a guy by the name of Terry Quinn, shoots him down. It turns out the black “assailant” is also a cop named Chris Wilson who had been screaming
Josiah Hawkins
This book made its way onto my to reads list because I learned that the author was one of the many writers for the The Wire, a TV show that had fever pitch fandom all through its run and for a good long while after. Now for those that haven't seen the wire but like the true crime genre you need to stop what your doing and go watch some of it.

The story of Right as Rain is one that seems pretty simple on surface level but the further you get into it the deeper it becomes, the base story is as
Dec 11, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Another disappointing novel from an author who I initially thought was a real contender, up there with James Lee Burke and Elmore Leonard. But he's at least a division below, relegated there with this story of a "good black ex cop" and "good-ish white ex cop" getting their relationship together through mutual respect. Pass the sick bag George, as the white boy brings his black father figure obscure Motown vinyl (of course) recordings from his record boutique.
I also didn't appreciate the
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
The first Derek Strange novel. Strange, an ex-MPD cop getting into the PI business, is approached by the mother of a fellow black police officer who was shot during an arrest by a white cop, now off the force also. The shooting was cleared, but the mother wants to clear her own son’s name, to counteract the popular image of him raving and pointing a gun at police officers. Strange questions the shooter, a wiry bundle of rage named Terry Quinn, now working at a bookstore. They get along, despite ...more
Jun 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gritty and makes me want to drink.
Larry Bassett
Oct 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, fiction
George Pelecanos has his fingerprints all over this book. He has written 16 books and Right As Rain is the ninth. In this book Derek Strange and Terry Quinn are introduced for what turns out to be a three book series. He published his first novel in 1992; Right As Rain was published in 2001. As you can see, he writes about one book per year.

You know it is Pelecanos because there are cars, music and location. Let’s check it out!
Strange sat low behind the wheel of his white-over-black ’89
Sep 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
this is a real-deal page turner. i can't remember the last time i read a book this quickly. i flew through all of its 360-ish pages in a day and a half.

beyond that, it was the perfect remedy for the withdrawl i've been feeling since hbo's the wire (which pelecanos wrote for) came to its conclusion. like the wire, this novel is full of complex, three-dimensional characters dealing with complex, three-dimensional circumstances. it also shares the tv show's sensitive (but not touchy-feeley
Sep 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A middling start to a new series, the book in a nutshell is unremarkable. There is nothing especially wrong with the book, there is an attempt to provide depth to the protagonists, the gritty setting of a dilapidated Washington DC is recreated pretty well. But the story seems to lack tension, it goes though the motion with a workman like vigor, perfectly acceptable but perplexingly average.

Ultimately it is like driving a car in third gear on an empty road or having just a couple of beers at the
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my yes. I am currently having a full-on literary affair with George Pelecanos. I mean, I'm pretty sure that he's unaware of it, but I am all there.
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
DC !!! I know where everything is.
Don Gorman
(3 1/2). I really enjoy George Pelecanos, I think he is a very good writer. I had put this one on my for later shelf quite a while ago and finally got around to it. This is very solid, it reminds me of a bunch of different colored wires that come into a switch that works when they are all together. Several good story lines that all flow nicely into one. We have a nice protagonist in Derek Strange and a more than solid back up in Terry Quinn. A couple of good supporting actors as well. A ...more
Richard Knight
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written book. Definitely in my top five favorite Pelecanos' novels. I really enjoy the relationship between Derek Strange and Terry Quinn. I also loves how Pelecanos writes a detective story. It's just as gritty and engaging as any of his other street tales. I've read almost all of Pelecanos' books, and they keep getting better and better. One of my favorite authors ever.
Cullen Gallagher
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is the first Pelecanos novel I have read, and I immediately want to go find some more! Highly cinematic style that includes structuring chapters into short segments that feel like "scenes," particularly when they are "cross-cut" at moments of great suspense so as to seem simultaneous, as well as great attention to music (almost every "scene" has a song that Pelecanos calls attention to). Pelecanos smartly doesn't draw just from noir, and in fact the movie feels as much like an urban western ...more
Lukasz Pruski
Not my favorite Pelecanos book. True, the writing is solid, plot is interesting, and the book is a real page-turner. DC is, as usual, shown masterfully. But there is nothing more there for me. I value other books by this author much more (for instance, "Hell to Pay", "King Suckerman", "Night Gardener"). I felt closer to all the racial tensions, poverty, and social issues shown in these books. Here, the author "paints-by-numbers", almost like "Now I will write about racial tensions", and he does. ...more
(#1 in the Strange Series)- Derek Strange is an ex-cop who now runs his own private detective agency. The mother of a young police officer killed by another cop hires him to clear up the lingering doubts surrounding her son's death. Although Terry Quinn, the other cop, has been cleared in the official investigation, his guilt torments him. After Strange interviews him, Quinn joins the investigation, even though in part he is investigating himself and whether his own prejudices led him to pull ...more
Ken Schloman
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I worked in Washington DC for more than 30 years. The author does a great job in capturing the DC that tourists don't see. This is a gritty book that is packed with realism. His characters are well developed and the author ties multiple story lines neatly together at the end. He captures the difficult race relation that exist in DC accurately. His description of the drug "shooting gallery" is not for the faint of heart but that culture exists.

This is the first novel I have read by the author and
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Right as Rain” is the first novel in a series of four novels by George Pelacanos about Washington, D.C., detectives Derek Strange and Terry Quinn. It was followed by “Hell To Pay,” “Soul Circus,” and “Hard Revolution.” This is the first novel in the series (although Hard Revolution, a far more ambitious work, goes back to childhood origins). All of these novels are excellent and highly recommended.
Rally Soong
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crime/mystery fiction as it should be! The realistic setting, dialogue, etc. puts you in that perfect noir zone: social critic, observer, and with your sense of social justice mixed with a shot of whiskey, a 2 fisted delivery of a grand finale that ends with a bit of that barf after-taste and raw knuckles. Good characters and use of music to set the place and era of Washington DC- the less fancy part.
Jan 31, 2008 rated it liked it
There's some good stuff here to be sure but a lot of cliche as well. The style is old-school noir mixed with contemporary D.C. street/drug culture and a lot of pop music references thrown in which is fun for music geeks like me. A little Parliament anyone? Oh yeah!

Pelecanos wears his influences a little too much on his sleeve and I found myself wishing I was just reading a Goodis book instead. But I was engrossed in the last quarter of the book so I can't complain too much.
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Derek Strange is a PI in Washington, DC and is hired by a dead cop's mother to find out the real circumstances of her son's death and clear his good name. I "read" this book with my ears and while the story was ok and the plot was ok, the reading was magical. Richard Allen is the narrator and he is amazing. It was like listening to a radio play. A truly wonderful experience.
Gritty is the operative word for Pelecanos and this book. Unfortunately, there is a lot of gritty detective writers out there today and I'm getting a bit worn out when it comes to gritty, so I gave it a three.

But you know, if you're looking for gritty, if you like gritty, it's a solid four or more.
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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

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Derek Strange & Terry Quinn (5 books)
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  • Soul Circus (Derek Strange and Terry Quinn, #3)
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“A pistol ain't good for nothin' but killing other human beings, man.” 4 likes
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