With Soul Circus
, George Pelecanos brings his sequence of novels about black Washington private eye Derek Strange and his partner Terry Quinn to the late 1990s and some sort of closure. The city they grew up in has changed but, as Strange continues to point out to the angry white Quinn, not as much as all that. It is just that asking the wrong question in the wrong tone of voice can be more dangerous when young men have guns and drug-fuelled short tempers. Young gangsters such as Strange's client Oliver have poisoned their own communities with heroin, crack and an equally addictive cult of machismo. Strange's work for Oliver is sparked by opposition to the death penalty, even for a creature like him.
Even more than usual with Pelecanos, this is a thriller with an agenda--we watch close-up how the availability of semi-legal guns becomes the occasion for a sequence of bloody deaths. This is an intelligent, wistful book that tries to understand violence as much as to condemn it. Strange has become one of the most interesting detectives in modern crime fiction simply because his conscience, his sense of history and his love of sweet soul music are so tightly intertwined. --Roz Kaveney
NATIONAL UK AUTHOR TOUR - CANCELLED DUE TO SNOW IN WASHINGTON Following 2 feet of snow poor George spent 9 hours on the runway at Washington airport waiting to fly over for his tour, then a chilly day and a half at an aiport hotelbefore we decided to cancel his tour. The bookshops who had events have beenvery understanding and George will be signing bookplates for them and their customers. The shops had done a great job too: OTTKARS in Clapham had taken 80 reservations and WATERSTONE'S in Manchester and Leeds had about 50 reservations each. The good news is his ticket is fully refundable and we only lost a50 deposit for the launch party. In total, cancelling his our at such short notice is only going to cost us about 350/400. The even BETTER news is that George was able to do the following interviews from Washington:Radio 4's FRONTROW on Friday 21 February, Radio 5's SIMON MAYO Show on Thursday 20 February;plus interviews for PUBLISHING NEWS (2,000 word interview), BOOKS magazine, WORD magazine, CRIME TIME, SHOTS, MOJO magazine and LEEDS GUIDE. Reviews havealso started to come in, highlights include: 'With each novel, Pelecanos hasbecome more sophisticated... It's full of tension and character and it makesyou think. It's hard to ask for more than that.' THE MIRROR 'Reading them (Pelecanos' novels) makes you realise how contemporary novels are obsessed withthe concerns of the middle class and how the poor have been marginalised andreduced to cliche...He writes with insight and anger about why young men aredrawn into gangs and violent crime..Pelecanos understands the lure of violence, the need for action. Soul Circus packs a powerful anti-gun message but hecan still communicate the thrill of holding a weapon in your hand'Simon Hinde, THE EXPRESS 5-Star review Don't Miss 'Soul Circus is Pelecanos' 11th novelin as many years - a teeming, brilliant book that confirms what long-term fans and Uncut regulars will already know - namely, that on this form, George Pis just about unbeatable, one of the most distinctive voices in contemporarycrime fiction, and a great writer in any genre.' UNCUT magazine 'The 12th novel by George P Pelecanos firmly establishes him as a prince of crime writerswho may one day become king...' Amy Raphel ESQUIRE 'Pelecanos has an mean ear for dialogue and a way of propelling the action through speech that's reminiscent of George V Higgins. His exploration of conflicting moral dilemmas, coupled with a refusal to make his villains all bad and his heroes all good, makes Pelecanos one of America's finest contemporary writers. TIME OUT 12/3/03 'This is Pelecanos's most outspoken, angry and political novel so far. At thesame time, it's a fast-paced, compellin detective story.' MORNING STAR 10/3/03 'Pelecanos is the ringmaster of one of the best big tops in crime fiction.' UNCUT (roundup) Reviews are also due in the following:FRONT magazine - reviewTHE GUARDIAN - reviewTHE SUNDAY TIMES 20/4/03syndicated review to all localpapers. Plus an interview with George appeared in METRO newspaper in Manchester and Leeds prior to his visit and George was 'Pick of the Week' in THE INDEPENDENT on 15 February. We have already confirmed that George will be comingto the UK to tour for his next book in February 2004. "Pelecanos has a mean ear for dialogue and a way of propelling the action through speech that's reminiscent of George V Higgins. His explorations of conflicting moral dilemmas,coupled with a refusal to make his villains all bad and his heroes all good,makes Pelecanos one of America's very finest contemporary writers." Martin Radcliffe, TIME OUT 12/03/03 'Powerful and moving novel...' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 16