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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 10 November 2009
King Suckerman is the second in Pelecanos' DC Quartet, and now the plot centres on Dmitri Karras, who was only a young child at the end of The Big Blowdown. Although it's not necessary to have read the earlier novel, having done so will lend an air of poignancy and foreboding to the action, as events seem to push Dmitri down the same road taken by his father.

In other respects King Suckerman is different from its predecessor. It's shorter, funnier and faster, and doesn't lose impetus by painting in the back-story to the main protagonists. It's reminiscent of Elmore Leonard's best work, and Pelecanos shares Leonard's eye for detail; when he describes a young hoodlum's loping stride across a hot, dusty yard, the rayon shirt sticking to his back in the Maryland heat, one hand half-curled and the other holding the sawn-off shotgun, you can see and feel the moment. The dialogue owes a lot to Leonard too, fizzing and crackling off the page. The violence, when it comes, is shocking - far bloodier and more explicit than in Leonard's novels.

Occasionally the detail gets in the way, as Pelecanos appears to name-check every rock, soul and prog band from the mid-1970s. But just as I was beginning to get irritated with this, I found myself ticking off the LPs which I once had, and suddenly I was back in the period, in my stacked heels, patched flares and cheesecloth shirt.

Pelecanos really cares about his characters, even the worst of them, and he makes you care about them too. It's this compassion that really enfuses his fiction - that, and the sense of place, the detailed portrayal of a sprawling American city; the same qualities that elevated The Wire (for which Pelecanos wrote many of the scripts) above all other TV crime dramas.
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on 25 September 2000
Blaxploitation with a Real Right soundtrack. If you are into the crime genre you'll like it, if you are into the blaxploitation, pulp fiction sort of thing you'll love it. But what sets this book apart from the others is its soundtrack, Marcus Clay owner of Real Right records knows his soul from his rock, his funk from his blues. The music in this novel is as important as it is in any movie. The author uses it to set scenes, and leave ideas resonating in the readers head much the same way as a good tune does. If you like gritty crime writing, stories of high life low living brothers and good music this is for you.
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on 26 April 2002
Fanatastic entertainment. Anyone who enjoyed Pulp Fiction should read this.. it's got the same reckless,knowing, funny, hip feel to it and is just a brilliant read. The first Pelecanos I read, Right as Rain was very, very good and now, after following up with this I'll be buying his entire back-catalogue. Pelecanos knows his music and is superb at depicting a sense of time and place and also excellent at friendship and relationships. Best read of the last 12 months for me. Buy it !
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on 23 November 2002
I was quite disappointed with this book, as I much enjoyed The Big Blowdown by the same author. He has real talent and style, but dilutes it in this novel with excessive graphic violence and tasteless characterisation. When you can write as well as Pelecanos, there's no need to overdo how bad some of his bad guys can be. We already get the picture.
King Suckerman is set in late seventies Washington DC, where everyone did drugs and lived their lives to their own personal soundtrack. On almost every page, a character is depicted selecting or listening to some sort of music, be it Uriah Heep, Isaac Hayes, Led Zepplin or the Bee Gees. Initially, I found this a bit annoying, as if Pelecanos was desperate to show us what a wide and eclectic musical taste he has. Gradually though, it becomes a part of the narrative that you'd miss if it was dropped, and helps to give the novel a distinct flavour. The plot is straightforward, and it's the development of the characters that takes precedence. I left the book wanting to learn more about both them (those that survive!) and the world they inhabit.
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on 4 October 2000
Initially I hated this book,the cultural references were too knowing and just a bit too clever.As the book progressed however I came to love the references and the book.Its funny ,sassy and moves along like an express train.Not only will it get you buying his other books ,it will get you scrabbling through the attic searching for your old vinyl collection.
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on 11 July 2008
You know that bloke you really hated at school, the one who was great looking, good at sports, funny, got all the girls, (including the one you had been secretly in love with for 3 years), AND hung out with the popular and beatiful crowd?
Well he's just written a book and guess what it's very cool, slick, street wise, funny and even moving in places.

The story watches the worlds of an eclectic crowd of 'hip dudes' collide in the last dying carefree days of the seventies set against the skyline of post race riot Washington DC.

We have a collection of out of towners looking for a quick score and a whole load of trouble, a couple of old school friends hitting their late twenties and looking for more meaning in life than their current headonistic life styles. An italian TV adict who wants to be Al Pacino and his weary business manager and a gang of Bikers.

All this is set to a cool 70's soundtrack, charactors don't just stick the hi-fi on they 'slide' a Hendrix 8 track cartride into the Pioneer. They don't just get in the car but 'drop into the bucket of a '73 Firebird' The book is packed with 70's reference points much relating to Black and drugs culture, the movies of the time (especially the Blaxsploitation films) and the generally morally eroded era of pre HIV America.

The book is highly readable though often violent and a little disturbing in very much a (and quite deliberately) Tarintinoesque way. It's a light weight though gritty throwaway kind of book. It can be finished in a couple of sittings without too much mental flexing and yet still leave you with a smile and a bit to think about.

I liked it.
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on 17 November 2015
Absolutely brilliant - great story line with a tight plot , some humour and all in all a great read.
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on 19 March 2015
an awesome book. totally recommend it. Cool tunes, threads and wheels. Great lingo, too
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on 21 September 2015
As advertised, and prompt delivery.
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on 18 November 2014
Another magical read.
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