Tending bar at The Spot in Washington DC, Nick Stefanos spends his days cultivating a deep, dependant relationship with one Mr. Jack Daniels. This, and dalliances with drugs and easy sex, make Nick a numb but happy boy. Sometimes, his wallet flips open and he sees his private-eye licence, reminding him of his calling. Ending up by the Anacostia River in an alcoholic stupour, Nick hears a murder being committed, mere feet away. An excellent hangover cure, he stumbles back to his car, sees his wallet and the case begins. Teaming up with headstrong amateur Jake LaDuke, Nick plunges headlong in to the depraved ghettos of DC, with violence lurking in every shadow. The third of his Stefanos novels, Pelecanos displays his ease with the genre, certainly knowing what the word "hardcore" means. The violence is graphic, some characters unfathomably evil and many situations uncompromising. He intrinsically understands that our affinity with Nick is accentuated by our sharing of his innermost perceptions. Such character study is marvellous: despite his proficiency at detection, he is plagued by the horrors it represents; "I don't want to see any more death. They kill and we kill and it doesn't stop and nobody wins." However, just like all great detectives motivated by private angst, Nick will eventually see his true face (in his wallet)--a reminder of reality and redemption when the alcoholic fog clears. --Danny Graydon
About the Author
George P. Pelecanos is the author of eleven crime novels including the 'Nick Stefanos Trilogy' and the 'Washington DC Quartet'. Hell to Pay won the best novel of The Gumshoe Awards 2002. King Suckerman was shortlisted for the 1998 Crime Writers' Association Golden Dagger Award. As an independent film producer, George Pelecanos has handled the movies of the Coen Brothers and other cutting edge movie mavericks.