Hell to Pay

Hell to Pay


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A fatal shooting that strikes too close to home leaves PI Derek Strange determined to find the killer - whatever the cost. From one of the award-winning writers of THE WIRE. Set in darkest, downtown Washington, Hell to Pay begins with Quinn and Strange dealing with the usual detritus of the world's most violent city - a bent cop and a missing teenage-girl-turned-hooker - but then a senseless death on a sunny afternoon shakes even Derek Strange's existence. A victim shot down by bullets meant for another; a tragic accident that strikes just too close to home. Strange's grief is all-consuming and he swears to track down and destroy the killers - ghetto style. But as he throws himself deeper and deeper into the hunt, he has to ask questions of himself and his world that he would rather not.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 112 x 174 x 30mm | 199.58g
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • Orion mass market paperback
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0752848623
  • 9780752848624
  • 255,503

Review Text

Slow to start for a crime novel, Pelecanos takes a hefty chunk of the book to create the atmosphere of the seedy run-down neighbourhoods in Washington DC, but the first major crime is a long time coming. The story meanders through the fecklessness of American life, the strip joints, the garbage, dog fights, the grimy cultureless vacuum where the underclasses gamble, take drugs and cling on to a perilous edge between poverty and destitution. Living on the fringe of crime in the ghetto is a way of life. And in this world move Derek Strange and Terry Quinn - private investigators. Strange, a retired cop in his 50s, is a neighbourhood P.I. he works his patch and acts as a football coach in an attempt to keep minors off the streets where they are preyed upon by waiting gangs. His work to date has been mostly surveillance checking out the ID of a young man who is going to marry the daughter of a friend, videoing prostitutes being harassed by cops. Then he and another P.I, Terry Quinn, are hired to find a runaway 14-year-old white girl who is now working as a prostitute. Routine, they think, until they come up against the pimp of all pimps, Worldwide Wilson, a suave and brutal enemy they have to use all their resources to defeat. When an innocent minor is shot, the game turns even uglier. The kid was one of Stranges football team and he now has a personal motive to find the killers. After its leisurely start, this is a compelling thriller handled with powerful psychological acuity. (Kirkus UK)

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About George P. Pelecanos

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 twenty books 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 Devil, Right as Rain, Hell to Pay, Soul Circus, Hard Revolution, Drama City, The Night Gardener, The Turnaround, The Way Home, The Cut, What It Was, The Double, and The Martini Shot. He has been the recipient of the Raymond Chandler award in Italy, the Falcon award in Japan, and the Grand Prix Du Roman Noir in France. Hell to Pay and Soul Circus were awarded the 2003 and 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. The Turnaround won the Hammett Prize for literary excellence in the field of crime writing. His fiction has appeared in Playboy, Esquire, and the collections Unusual Suspects, Best American Mystery Stories of 1997, Measures of Poison, Best American Mystery Stories of 2002, Men From Boys, and Murder at the Foul Line. He served as editor on the collections D.C. Noir and D.C. Noir 2: The Classics, as well as The Best Mystery Stories of 2008. He is an award-winning essayist who has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, GQ, Sight and Sound, Uncut, Mojo, and numerous other publications. Esquire magazine called him "the poet laureate of the D.C. crime world." In Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King wrote that Pelecanos is "perhaps the greatest living American crime writer." Pelecanos would like to point out that Mr. King used the word "perhaps." Pelecanos was a producer, writer, and story editor for the acclaimed HBO dramatic series, The Wire, winner of the Peabody Award, the AFI Award, and the Edgar. He was nominated for an Emmy for his writing on that show. He was a writer and co-producer on the World War II miniseries The Pacific, produced by Steven Spielberg, and most recently worked as a writer and Executive Producer on the HBO series Treme. Pelecanos lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. He is at work on his next novel.

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