Erin's Reviews > The Turnaround

The Turnaround by George Pelecanos
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's review
Aug 22, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: crime-suspense

I love Pelecanos--for being a hard-boiled crime writer, he can evoke such emotion with direct language and complex characters. I found myself crying throughout the story, and it wasn't because it was blatantly manipulative--just honest, well-drawn characters involved in a story of redemption.

The book starts in 1972--3 white boys want to mess with some black kids in the DC projects, so they engage in a racially-charged prank that goes horribly wrong. One kid dies, one is scarred for life, and 2 end up in prison. 35 years later, Pelecanos cuts to the survivors and how they've fared throughout the years. None of them have really dealt with what happened those years ago--instead they've buried their emotions and moved on. Pelecanos is brilliant at weaving his characters' stories throughout his books. And he never settles for boilerplate's not guaranteed (or even expected) that characters will end up in mortal danger at the end--the book strives for reality, and succeeds. It's real people, making real choices, and no one is 100% good or bad (although the dead-eyed villain in this book is completely realistic and frightening). I was completely engrossed. Love the Pelecanos!

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