Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shame the Devil

Shame the DevilShame the Devil by George Pelecanos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When a pizza shop robbery takes a violent turn, the thieves are never caught and the lives of several people are torn apart, most notably Dimitri Karras when his young son Jimmy is struck and killed by the criminals as they make their getaway. Years later, Dimitri is trying to put his life back together when he runs into an old acquaintance, PI Nick Stefanos. But what connection does Dimitri have with that fateful robbery...?

The DC Quartet goes out with a bang and it's my favorite George Pelecanos yet. The stories of Dimitri Karras and Nick Stefanos intersect and the whole is even better than the sum of its parts.

When we catch up with Dimitri, he's divorced and can't escape the memory of his dead son. He's in a support group with the other friends and relatives of the murder victims from the pizza shop robbery. Nick's still working at the Spot and still taking on PI work but is staying away from murder and drugs. He's still battling his considerable drinking problem.

The story comes together very organically. By now, the denizens of Pelecanos' DC are pretty real for me and the interactions between Nick and Dimitri were my favorite parts of the book. When Nick got Dimitri a job at the spot, I had a feeling how the end would shape up. I was nearly right and I'm glad the ending didn't mirror The Big Blowdown.

It was cool to see Boyle working with Karras and Stefanos. I missed Marcus Clay and Clarence Tate but it was cool knowing how they ended up after The Sweet Forever. Good for them!

The book has a slow build as the killers return to DC and Nick and Dimitri eventually cross paths. While I didn't think the gun fight at the end was as good as the one in The Sweet Forever, I liked the ending a whole lot more. The greedy part of me wants to read another book about Nick and Dimitri but I'm glad Pelecanos is leaving them behind for now. They've earned it.

Shame the Devil brings closure to both the DC Quartet and the Nick Stefanos trilogy. Like I said above, it's my favorite Pelecanos so far.

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