Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First degree entertainment
'The Night Gardener' tells the story of a police investigation into the death of a black youth in Washington DC. The apparent murder matches a series of unsolved killings that occurred 20 years previously. Gus Ramone and Dan Holiday, two cops who worked on the earlier cases, come together again to solve the latest crime. But their lives have diverged in the intervening...
Published on 21 Sep 2007 by Ichabod J

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Weeds In The Garden
The Night Gardener revolves around a murder of a young black guy called Asa, which is possibly linked to the so-called "Palindrome Murders" of twenty years before. It's also the story of three different "police" (one retired, one by-the-rules, and one who resigned after an Internal Affairs investigation) brought back together by this case.

The main story was...
Published 4 months ago by George Kelly


Most Helpful First | Newest First

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First degree entertainment, 21 Sep 2007
By 
Ichabod J (Farleigh Wallop, Hampshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Night Gardener (Paperback)
'The Night Gardener' tells the story of a police investigation into the death of a black youth in Washington DC. The apparent murder matches a series of unsolved killings that occurred 20 years previously. Gus Ramone and Dan Holiday, two cops who worked on the earlier cases, come together again to solve the latest crime. But their lives have diverged in the intervening two decades; family man Ramone remains a police officer, whereas the boozy, single Holiday had to leave the force under a cloud.

This straightforward premise is developed well by Pelecanos, who examines family relationships and racial issues in US society today along the way.

Aside from having a decent plot, a deal of reading pleasure can be had from Pelecanos's use of language, especially his dialogue, which is always snappy and authentic and often darkly humourous.

Overall, this is a thoughtful and well-constructed crime novel, that delivers social comment without slowing the narrative. I've read that Pelecanos has contributed to the acclaimed US series 'The Wire' - anyone who likes this or its ilk, eg 'The Shield' would probably find this a worthwhile read. Readers who've already tried Pelecanos only need to know this maintains his usual high standard.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Pelecanos, 3 Mar 2008
By 
This review is from: The Night Gardener (Paperback)
I have to give this perfect novel five stars. It is Pelecanos at his best. Superb dialogue enveloping a fine mystery. And he has time for some moralising. I feel Pelecanos is right up there with Elmore Leonard for sheer atmosphere and grittiness.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Police, 15 April 2010
It took me a while to warm to this novel but by the time I'd finished it I was pretty much glowing. It's less of a thriller and more of a literary crime novel. The plot is hardly gripping - no cliff-hanger endings, no mysteries, no conventional action in the form of fights and chases, and no real twists and turns. Instead, what you get is an enchanting portrait of how a real homicide unit interacts - not only with itself but also with its suspects and with its local community. The characters are as real as any I have encountered in the genre - no cliched detectives here; rather uniformed cops with families to feed, bills to pay and vocational callings to fulfill. The dialogue is wonderfully authentic but it was the sheer humanity - the frailty, strength, bitterness and compassion - of the cast that really moved me. Progress on the central murder is slow but this only reflects the reality of the story. I do have some sympathy with the reviewer who complains that the book often reads like a street directory of Washington DC, and I am undecided on the merit of the final page. (Possibly brilliant; possibly a little trite). This isn't a page-tuner but it was an absolute pleasure to read. You'll love the Ramone family by the end of the book and you'll have a great deal of respect for the previously antagonistic 'Doc' Holiday. Don't expect fireworks. Instead, enjoy a masterclass in characterisation and dialogue and savour a biting yet sympathetic snapshot of life on the streets of DC.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Weeds In The Garden, 19 Feb 2014
The Night Gardener revolves around a murder of a young black guy called Asa, which is possibly linked to the so-called "Palindrome Murders" of twenty years before. It's also the story of three different "police" (one retired, one by-the-rules, and one who resigned after an Internal Affairs investigation) brought back together by this case.

The main story was pretty strong and kept my attention, making me want to read on to find out the central mystery, although the whodunnit angle is played down a little, taking a backseat to all the issues of race and parenting. At times it almost seemed like George Pelecanos was setting up scenes merely to rant or preach to me about parenting and race in the world today, but usually it integrated well with the scene and didn't come across TOO forced. Plus, George Pelecanos has strong dialogue, as always, even if some of it bugged me in places.

Also there's a pointless subplot to the novel that barely connects to the main storyline and has no real place in the book. It's just another version of two-black-dudes-with-guns-jack-two-other-black-dudes-for-cash-or-money. Pelecanos has gone with this same foundation for a story in the past three or so novels, and they're just not interesting anymore--he's got the dialogue down, but he rarely makes these characters come to life. It just reads like a script of a realistic shakedown: a couple black dudes take some cash or money, then it comes back to bite them on the ass, and somewhere in between there's a girl involved. He's done it before and he's not adding anything new to it. He doesn't give these characters depth, even if he attempts to give them alternate personalities.

And another minor annoyance--so many characters' names start with an R: Ramone, Regina, Rhonda, Richard and Ronald. Whenever Ramone called his wife Regina, or his partner Rhonda, I would always have to play catch up until I worked out who he was talking to, his partner or wife. Maybe that's because he didn't flesh out the characters enough, or maybe it was because they all have R's at the beginning of their names, or maybe it's because I'm slow. But I'm pretty sure if one of them had been called Mary or something, I might have made the distinction between the two a little quicker.

Anyway, in conclusion: his style is too passive, his attempt at depth is too shallow, his dialogue is good but annoying occasionally, his subplot is superfluous, and yet I would still recommend the novel because it was a good read, and I enjoyed it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Homicide - Life on the streets of DC, 27 July 2010
By 
Bill (Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Night Gardener (Paperback)
If you've come to Pelecanos after The Wire, episodes of which he co-wrote and co-produced, then you won't be disappointed. This police procederal thriller could have been transported from the alleys and corners of Washington to those of Baltimore, and its large cast of characters would have been comfortably at home there.

But actually this novel owes much more to the Homicide TV crime series which preceded The Wire. Fans will recognise the multi-layered plot, with several crimes and murders running in parallel; the confontations between perps and po-lice in the interrogation room ('the box'); the detailed back stories of cops, crooks and citizens; and the underlying theme of a city slowly but surely falling apart at the seams.

And, like many an episode of Homicide, (and without giving too much away) the ends aren't always neatly tied up at the conclusion, and not all criminals brought to book. Yet this isn't unsatisfying; you get a strong feeling of lives continuing after the closing pages, with flawed ex-cop Don Holiday pursuing his new-found purpose in life, and Gus Ramone and his family starting over.

And I wouldn't be surprised if we don't meet Ramone and Holiday again. They're just too good, too real, for Pelecanos to let them breathe for just one novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New direction,same high standard, 25 Oct 2006
By 
A. Murdoch (Glasgow United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Night Gardener (Hardcover)
I have just made a start into rereading GP's back catalogue and got through the Nick Stefanos trilogy when I got this. I kind of enjoyed Nick and the Quinn/Strange partnership but really got sucked into this one very quickly. Like Ian Rankin or James Lee Burke, Pelecanos draws you in and tells a fantastic story while making some valid social commentary.

This book would work for either the experienced GP reader or would make a great starting point.

Long story short - a great story well written.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much information, 26 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Night Gardener (Paperback)
Another reviewer complains that this book displays too much familiarity with the Washington DC street map. I'd agree with that, but I'd go further. Pelecanos seems intent on flooding almost every page with irrelevant descriptions - two boys don't just play with a basketball, they pass a "Spalding indoor/outdoor". Cups of coffee are on a "French provincial-style table". A car is a "light gold Mercury Marquis". None of these descriptions in any way add to the story, to background or to character development. In fact to a reader outside the US they detract from the book, as you're either forever heading for the Internet to see what the object looks like or what it actually is (turns out a "wife beater" is a sleeveless shirt or singlet, on looking up which I wasted 10 minutes when Pelecanos didn't need to specify the type of shirt at all). Often you're wondering if you're missing some abstruse US cultural point (does driving a Mercury Marquis say something about the driver, for example).

Come to that the constant tagging of minor characters by skin colour ("a pair of white detectives stood near the door") becomes very irksome very quickly. I see that he's trying to make some statement about race, but specifying the race of everybody in sight is pointless.

The story's good - although I can't quite see what the Epilogue brings to it - but please, George, stop telling us the colour and make of everything.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars the butler did it, 12 Sep 2008
By 
L. Giovnilli "vrtual novels" (suffolk, uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Pelecanos is a good, flowing writer and I enjoyed this book.
However, if he was trying to make a particular racial point I did not get it, this was perhaps because this trickled out as you read through the book? Our main man, a 'white' policeman, is in a mixed race marriage (this shows up half way through) and moves his son to a new, less troublesome school, where his son is then seen as 'black' by the new 'white' school - hence a troublemaker. There's irony.
Is this at the heart of the story? He does deal with the father/son thing well, albeit a bit "despite the neighbourhood, sons friends, other parents, the school" attitude, and I like both the characters.
There is not much location detail as it is unusually in Washington DC, but if there was I guess you would lose sight of the murder element.
The other main characters are almost believable if a bit stereotyped and the ending indicates more to follow from this bunch.
A good quick, one level read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the postage, 27 July 2008
By 
Frogman (Finistere France) - See all my reviews
A random collection of shallow characters framed by a dull pointless story line. The only purpose of the book seems to be to demonstrate a certain knowledge of the street map of Washington and schoolboy level crudity.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Night Gardener
The Night Gardener by George P. Pelecanos (Hardcover - 8 Aug 2006)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews