Author(s): George Pelecanos
Crime Fiction | No Category
On a hot summer afternoon in Washington DC 1972, three white teenagers, stoned and fearless, drive a stolen car into a rough, black neighbourhood. Taunting local black kids through the car window, they speed off to what they think is safety. They find themselves trapped in a dead-end street whilst an angry mob gathers. In the ensuing chaos, two of the white boys manage to escape, but Billy - the third friend - is shot dead. Thirty-five years later, one of these men reaches out to another, opening a door that could lead to salvation. However, another survivor of that day is now out of prison, and is looking for reparation in any form he can find it
Derek writes: It's my view that George wrote his best work with his series of novels about PI Derek Strange, and it's also my view that with last two or three, Pelecanos has been taking the moral high ground and giving us books where good is always restored and the bad guys get their come-uppance. Satisfying to read but not always as life would have it - particularly in the corner of Washington that his characters inhabit. The Turnaround starts in 1972 when young Alex Pappas and his two friends Peter Griffin and Billy Chacoris make a foolish decision that will change their lives forever. High on beer and weed they drive into the black suburb of Heathrow Heights, shouting racial slurs and slinging a pie at a group of black youths. What the trio don't realize is that Heathrow heights is a dead end, and when their way out is blocked only Pete manages to escape; Billy is shot dead and Alex is badly injured and disfigured for life. Fast forward to the current day and Alex now runs his family diner but his quiet family life, and that of the three black men involved in "the incident" is about to overlap. James and Raymond Monroe have grown up very differently; James took the fall for the killing and his time in prison has made him sullen and resentful, Raymond has made an honest life working with disabled veterans, but Charles Baker, imbued with many years of bitterness through a life spent largely behind bars, has convinced himself that he is "owed". This is a story of small lives, small people, of families who can choose to do the right thing and where, if you believe George Pelecanos, redemption is still possible.
George Pelecanos lives in Washington DC with his wife and children. He also manages Circle Films, an independent production company responsible for such films as the Coen Brothers' RAISING ARIZONA, MILLER'S CROSSING and BARTON FINK.