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King Suckerman Mass Market Paperback – July 6, 1998

42 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the DC Quarted Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Cheech and Chong meet Pulp Fiction in a retro novel of Seventies drug culture. Small-time pot dealer Dimitri Karras and record-store owner Marcus Clay stumble into the wrong warehouse looking for weed and pocket some hot cash in the bargain. They are pursued by a gang of trigger-crazed lowlifes more concerned with savoring the taste of Kools and death than recovering their money. Dimitri slowly begins to realize that he's wasted many years dealing to kids and getting high. He proves his desire for redemption to Marcus by participating in a rooftop showdown with the Wilton Cooper gang. Few other characters here show potential for growth or transformation, but Pelecanos (The Big Blowdown, LJ 4/15/96) has an ear for the jivey talk of the era. This noir thriller may find a limited audience with baby boomers or fans of the author's well-received Nick Stefanos series.?Susan A. Zappia, Maricopa Cty. Lib. Dist., Phoenix
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

A fictional homage to the blaxploitation films of the 1970s? Well, yes, but hard-boiled master Pelecanos' latest is much more. Combining the eccentric flash of Pulp Fiction, the noir soul of David Goodis, and the idiosyncratic heart of Elmore Leonard, this wildly violent crime novel effectively evokes the comic-book heroics of the Superfly era while at the same time sucker punching us with the humanity at its core. The story takes place during the Bicentennial celebration in Washington, D.C., and has as its linchpin that familiar crime-plot device: the drug deal gone bad. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Vietnam vet and record-store owner Marcus Clay and his friend, small-time dealer Dimitri Karras, find themselves in possession of a large sum of cash belonging to a movie-loving, psychopathic ex-con and a shotgun-toting, Afro-wearing "white-boy-wanna-be-black-boy cracker." With James Brown and Jimi Hendrix wailing in the background, Marcus and Dimitri try to avoid the inevitable confrontation, which comes, Godfather-like, as the Fourth of July fireworks erupt on the Mall. Pelecanos captures the galvanizing energy that the Superfly image generates in his characters, both black and white, both over the edge and just this side of it, but he also reveals the desperation and even the naked fear that often lurk beneath the strut. Having reluctantly orchestrated and then survived the climactic showdown, Marcus leaves the scene like a black Clint Eastwood at the end of The Unforgiven, craving only the solace of ordinary life. Bill Ott --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (July 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440225957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440225959
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George P. Pelecanos was born in Washington, DC in 1957. His first novel was published in 1992 and alongside his consequential success as an author, he has also worked as producer, writer and story editor for the acclaimed and award-winning US crime series, The Wire. His writing for the show earned him an Emmy nomination.

He is the author of fifteen crime novels set in and around Washington, DC. The Big Blowdown was the recipient of the International Crime Novel of the Year award in both Germany and Japan; King Suckerman was shortlisted for the Gold Dagger Award in the UK. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire and the collections Unusual Suspects and Best American Mystery Stories of 1997. He is an award-winning journalist and pop-culture essayist who has written for the Washington Post.

Pelecanos can also claim credit for involvement in the production of several feature films. Most recently, as a screenwriter for film, he has written an adaptation of King Suckerman for Dimension Films, and was co-writer on the Paid in Full.

His novel Right as Rain is currently in development with director Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential, Wonder Boys) and Warner Brothers. He is a writer on the upcoming World War II miniseries The Pacific, to be produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and HBO. Pelecanos lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife and three children. He is at work on his next novel.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Piers on January 31, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't have much time here, but I just had to chuck down a quick review of this fantastic book. I began this book at the start of an interstate car journey and by the time we had stopped, I had pretty much read most of it. This book rips along from the very first page, with an amazing attention to detail, interesting and believable (in a way) characters, great cross-cutting, and wonderful evocacation of the 70s.
The story has already been cited here already, so I won't recap, but you care for the characters you like and you're in awe or fear of the others. Referencing all kinds of 70s trappings, music, films, Iceberg Slim, muscle cars etc, you feel like you're watching an awesome film and indeed I'd be less than surprised if it was made into one. I only hope it's by the right people, not someone like Sean Puffy Combs, who would probably cast Jennifer Lopez in the role of Virginia.
I only hope Pelecanos' other books are as good as this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By lazza on May 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
'King Suckerman' is by some accounts among George Pelecanos's weaker efforts, and by other accounts his most enjoyable read. Like all his works this book takes place in Washington (, D.C.) and its characters are racially diverse, and into sex, drugs and rock & roll. And unlike many of his books the story starts off with a bang, most literally (ie, a rather graphically described killing). But then the book fails to take advantage of its early promise.
In 'King Suckerman' the author spends a lot of time, arguably too much time, on waltzing through 1970s memory lane. Blaxploitation flicks and the music of the times dominate the book. Yes, there are some nasty dudes in this book, lots of drug dealing, but before long we realize the author isn't going to deliver anything special. George Pelacanos has done much better ('Shame the Devil', 'Right as Rain').
Bottom line: the author seems to be into more of a nostalgia trip rather than writing a crime novel. But for those craving a taste of pre-disco 1970s ambiance this book is "really baaad".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Gertzman on January 5, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There are three unique values to this writer's noir novels. All shone very brightly in _King Suckerman_. First, Pelecanos recreates a Washington DC which makes the working class and minority (as opposed to administrative) city come alive. You know you are not reading about Baltimore, New York, or Philly, but Chocolate City in the 70s. This takes an extensive understanding of Washington's locales, people, traditions, and institutions. He's got the "spirit of place" down accurately. Second, he presents moral cruxes in a complex manner--you see the convictions unravelling, the loose ends in any well-thought out decision. However honorable a plan is, and however hard nosed and gutty a character's behavior is, it can be seen as flawed and fallible. This often makes the characters more rather than less interesting and commendable. Third, he recreates various shades of evil, from Wilton Cooper and B.J. to the layabouts and street louts, of whom one of his major characters, Dimitri, is not too far removed during the first part of the novel. Pelecanos is a major neo-noir artist.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ken Miller on October 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pelecanos' books are generally set in Washington D.C., and King Suckerman is no exception. The title refers to a movie which is debuting soon in the area theatres, to a lot of street-level buzz.
The characters aren't glamorous, but they're really memorable. Description is one of the author's strong suits, but that doesn't get in the way of an exciting, riveting plot.
Pelecanos' books are my favorites among crime and mystery authors working today; he really captures the sense of Washington D.C. (this book is set during the 1970's), and the characters are true to form.
If you like your fiction hard-boiled, give Pelecanos a try. I wouldn't start with this one. Start with A FIRING OFFENSE.
If you've read some of the earlier ones, like Nick's Trip or A Firing Offense, try the Suckerman.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By brazos49 VINE VOICE on September 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read most of Pelecanos' work and, in my opinion, King Suckerman would rank as one of his weaker efforts. It's one of the earlier works and is worth reading for background on some characters who will show up in later books. It's also worth reading because it's a slam bam, gritty crime novel. It may not be one of the author's best books, but it's still one of the best crime novels I've read.
As usual, Washington, D.C. is both the setting for the story and a living character in the book. There are plenty of tough and weak, cunning and stupid players in the twisting story. If you have a pulse and like crime fiction, I don't see how you can skip this book or anything else Pelecanos writes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By f joseph finneran on August 31, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the third Pelecanos novel that I've read - starting with 'Shame the Devil' and going backwards via 'The Sweet Forever', and each of them have been enjoyable pageturners. It is remarkable how many areas, places, and occurances that Pelecanos describes mirror my stomping grounds and activities during my ascending years. I'm just glad that I didn't go one more street over to shoot some hoop, or purchase some recreationals from that guy who made me just nervous enough to change my mind - because this guy has me totally believing in a world that was there just inches away from my own. I don't get all the musical references, but Pelecanos feeling that there must always be music present, either real or imagined, is just one more thing that allows me to really identify with his stories and characters. One mistake in 'King Suckerman' - you couldn't license a Superbird or Daytona in D.C., but everything else is right on.
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