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The Way Home [Kindle Edition]

George P. Pelecanos
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.74
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Book Description

Christopher Flynn is trying to get it right. After years of trouble and rebellion that enraged his father and nearly cost him his life, he has a steady job in his father's company, he's seriously dating a woman he respects, and, aside from the distrust that lingers in his father's eyes, his mistakes are firmly in the past.

One day on the job, Chris and his partner come across a temptation almost too big to resist. Chris does the right thing, but old habits and instincts rise to the surface, threatening this new-found stability with sudden treachery and violence. With his father and his most trusted friends, he takes one last chance to blast past the demons trying to pull him back.

Like Richard Price or William Kennedy, Pelecanos pushes his characters to the extremes, their redemption that much sweeter because it is so hard fought. Pelecanos has long been celebrated for his unerring ability to portray the conflicts men feel as they search and struggle for power and love in a world that is often harsh and unforgiving but can ultimately be filled with beauty.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Pelecanos (The Turnaround) probes the volatile and fragile relationship between a father, Thomas Flynn, and his son, Chris, in this less than satisfying effort. As a rebellious teen into drugs, Chris had minor brushes with the law and did a stint in juvenile prison. Now 26, he's working for his father's D.C.-area carpet installation business and staying clean. Still, Thomas remains disappointed in his son's lack of achievement or ambition, and Chris remains resentful that he's not accepted for who he is. A rather tired device, a bag of stolen money found by Chris and a friend and fellow former inmate, serves to set in motion a chain of actions that will lead to critical decisions for both Flynns. Pelecanos adroitly sketches the obstacles and temptations that face juvenile offenders in and after prison, but this novel, with its dispassionate style, never manages to generate high suspense or evoke much sympathy for its characters. Author tour. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

Notions of revenge, redemption, and justice fuel this thriller, set in Washington, D.C. After a stint in juvenile hall, Chris Flynn sets out to turn his life around, taking a job as a carpet installer for his father, a flooring supplier, despite their contentious relationship. When Chris and a friend find fifty thousand dollars hidden beneath the floorboards at a job site, they must contend with a pair of sadistic ex-cons eager to reclaim the money, stolen during a jewelry heist years earlier. Despite its hard-charging elements, the story unfolds almost languidly, and it is clear that Pelecanos, a seasoned novelist and a writer for “The Wire,” means to provoke more than quickened heartbeats. His passionate advocacy for juvenile-prison reform—and his well-reasoned argument that a poorly run system can punish petty offenders far more severely than their crimes merit—occasionally turns the plot into a polemic.
Copyright ©2008 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker

Product Details

  • File Size: 857 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (April 22, 2009)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0027976QS
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #584,583 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More good stuff from Mr Pelecanos May 21, 2009
Less than 12 months after last book The Turnaround Pelecanos returns with another solid, enoyable read.

When Chris Flynn & co-worker Ben find $50,000 hidden in a cut-away floorboard while fitting a carpet in an empty house they leave it there, even though the temptation is there to take it. Both have been in trouble before & met in a juvenile detention centre but are trying to go straight. Ben fatefully lets their secret out to another ex inmate, the money is stolen & the people it belongs to come looking for it.

The book, though, is really about the relationship between Chris & his father, Tommy & how it is possible to change over time & earn a second chance. There is a lot of back story regarding Chris' time at Pine Ridge correctional facility & his day to day working life for his fathers floor laying firm after his release. This is the backbone of the book & balances the missing money plot nicely.

Pelecanos has a high profile at the moment due to his work on The Wire & well deserved it is, too. More mellow these days (the punky fizz of earlier Nick Stefanos books almost gone) he can still keep readers interested in the lives of his characters by making them plausible & real. Highly recommended.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
It looks like I'm the first reviewer to give The Way Home less than 3 stars so clearly I'm in the minority. My grievances with this novel can be divided into two categories; matters of personal taste and issues or problems with the novel that should be universal.

On matters of taste - I'm not a fan of stories about redemption and I don't like sentimental schmaltz. The Way Home is not so much a crime thriller as it is a novel about the relationship between parents and their children and the expectations that each generation has about the importance of 'getting ahead' and 'making something of ones' self'.

I also don't care for novels that view complex issues in a one-sided manner. The Way Home climbs right up on that soap box and preaches about the inadequacies of the juvenile detention system and the need for reform. The young criminals in this novel all redeem themselves in the end. The heavy handed message is that these troubled young men need to be understood and be given a hand up. I don't disagree, but the novel is so painfully one-sided that it actually loses credibility.

Of course, there are plenty of readers who like sentimental schmaltz. If you happen to be one of them, you'll find it here. It just doesn't appeal to me.

But even if you like schmatz, there are other issues that should bother anyone expecting a suspense novel. First off, did we really need another story about someone finding a big bag of money and the bad men who want it back? I didn't think so. Talk about a worn out plot device. And Pelecanos does absolutely nothing new or remotely interesting with this dusty old nugget.

I was irritated by gaps in logic throughout the novel, but perhaps the best example was when the two young men find the money.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pelecanos: Am American Master May 24, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Okay, Greek-American, but whatever, George Pelecanos is one of America's best contemporary writers.
What is amazing is that he sustains the quality of his fiction while being so prolific. The Way Home is another amazing novel, featuring conflicted characters and their relationships and an impossible situation that goes from bad to worse.
The "bad guys" in this one really stood out for me. I really got a feel for them, even a liking of sorts.
The only thing I miss is some old Pelecanos characters I'd like to see show up more often...and that's not a complaint--Pelecanos creates these people who resonate with the reader, people we feel we know or could know. The author has a subtle way about his prose which is, at times, hard bitten and a nod to the genre, but to dismiss this as mere genre fiction is to miss one of the best things going in American letters.
And Pelecanos obviously has an ear to the street, from the cars, the music, the slang, everything feels right, all feels real. Another excellent book from a great American writer!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book - below average for this author June 11, 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in spite of the fact that I think it's not one of the author's best efforts. Some of the criticism from other reviewers about tired plot features and overworked story lines is probably valid. But when an author is as good as this one is, he can overcome some fundamental weak points and still deliver a book that's a joy to read. And, that's how I found this book to be - a true page turner.

If you're reading this, you're almost surely a book lover and, like me, you probably read a lot. And, I'd bet that a lot of your reading seems like a certain amount of work. But, I find Pelecanos' work to always be a joy to read and I'm sorry to reach the end of the book. He tells a good story. He helps his readers see the pictures and relate to the characters. He is a master of the craft, in my opinion, and the best crime author I've read. So, while this book is probably below average in his body of work, it's still head and shoulders above any of the other crime novels I've read. I hope his next book is a little longer and that I don't have to wait too long for it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
excellent story
Published 4 months ago by Sherry Seay
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
very interesting book and I reccomend it for others to9 read
Published 9 months ago by George thornton
5.0 out of 5 stars The Way Home
My review is like this,anything written by Mr. Pelecanos is worth reading,outstanding character study,attention to detail,making the reader a part of the action. Read more
Published 19 months ago by MudslideSlimAmazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Reunion with an old friend
I read the first series of Pelecanos' books in the 90s when he followed, not in sequence, the adventures of various members of a Greek immigrant family which had settled in... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Peebee
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but a good read
Pelecanos peaked with Hard Revolution, and his last three novels haven't been as good as his earlier works. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Scott Albin
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written
Well written story about a young man's journey, and his fathers love. Good character development. never read Pelecanos before and I would recommend him.
Published on February 5, 2013 by sbeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Pelecanos at his Best
This is George Pelecanos at his best. The complexity of the story line time, the authenticity of the local DC area setting, and the realness of the characters all combine to make... Read more
Published on August 7, 2012 by bookfriend
4.0 out of 5 stars moral compass
"The Way Home" is another mighty impressive novel by George Pelecanos, one that should satisfy fans of his other books. Read more
Published on June 25, 2012 by Donald E. Gilliland
4.0 out of 5 stars First half: you care. Second half: gripping tension
The Way Home (2009), by George Pelecanos, is the third novel I've read by the author, also a producer of the HBO series, The Wire. Read more
Published on March 15, 2012 by James R Ament
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved the back story and the relationships
I know that the whole person who finds money device is a bit tired but that's not what made this book so enjoyable for me. Read more
Published on October 7, 2011 by P. Brown
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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.

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