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July 26, 2009 / C.T. Henry

Another Pelecanos Winner: The Turnaround

REVIEW: The Turnaround by George Pelecanos (2008)

the turnaroundAlthough mostly known for his DC Quartet and Derek Strange series, George Pelecanos continues to write excellent stand-alone novels.  The writer/producer of HBO’s highly acclaimed series The Wire has written another winner with The Turnaround.

Teenage boys often make stupid decisions.  Boys will be boys, or so they say.  Boys get bored easily, hang out in packs, chase girls, drink, smoke, talk about sports, listen to the popular music of their day, and always get into trouble.  For three white boys and three black boys from D.C., one fateful decision will tragically alter their lives.  On a dare, the white boys drive into an all-black neighborhood.

But Pelecanos doesn’t dwell on “the incident,” instead he writes eloquently about its aftermath.  In fact, the real story starts thirty-five years after the incident, as Pelecanos asks the question: can these boys make the turnaround? Neither mystery, nor thriller, The Turnaround is simply storytelling at its best – a tragic tale that takes a hard look at the consequences of teenage behavior and how boys can become men.


VERDICT: HOLY COW BATMAN! (Translation: Highly Recommended!)

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