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Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go Paperback – July 27, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Welcome to the unlit bleakness of grunge crime fiction. Nick Stefanos (Nick's Trip) inhabits D.C.'s most squalid streets, tending bar, boozing for free, wasting his 30s and dating a girl with a taste for the sauce to rival his. One night, out on a bender and nearly passed out, he hears a murder being committed and decides to find the killers (how a guy this hammered can later remember so much is cheerfully glossed over). Nick gets himself an alarmingly straight-arrow partner and dives headlong into the underbelly of the porn trade. Two young black men have been dealing drugs and selling their bodies; one is dead, and the other is missing. Stefanos only pauses to drink, listen to music by bands with whom only the hippest readers will be familiar and have a few bouts of desperate sex. Although his innumerable descriptions of bars and boozing might leave some bored (or queasy), Pelecanos joins company with James Ellroy, Andrew Vachss and Jack O' Connell in extending the noirest tones of crime fiction. Here, he unleashes a lacerating view of urban angst and degradation.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Give bartender Nick Stefanos a bottle of booze, a pack of smokes, and some good lovin', and he's a happy man. Nick lives for the first and last drinks of the day and all the drinks between, but once in a while, he comes out of his alcoholic fog and does some detecting work. After a stupor-inducing night with a bottle of Jack Daniels, Stefanos comes to on the bank of the Anacostia River and hears a murder being committed just yards away. The experience shakes him out of his funk and draws him into a mysterious case with roots deep in the D.C. ghetto. Stefanos teams up with one Jack LaDuke to find the murderers, but even with a partner, he's got more than he can handle. Pelecanos writes the ultimate in hard-boiled, hardcore fiction, with evil characters, graphic violence, and rough language. This is a powerful, shocking foray into an uncompromising, bleak world of depravity and decadence, a book that will stick with the reader long after the awful conclusion. Emily Melton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Nick Stefanos' slide into irredeemable drunkeness continues in Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go, the third of his "adventures." While Nick is now one of my favorite series mystery characters, he's wearing me down with his drinking.
Down by the River deviates from the structure of the first two. There are no drunken road trips in this one. Nick actually acts more like a detective in this one than the previous two books put together, mostly because Jack LaDuke doesn't drink. Still, Nick being Nick, he does manage to hit the sauce quite a bit, getting blackout drunk a few times and trashes his relationship with Lyla.
Pelecanos' writing continues to mature in these early outings, displaying some Jim Thompson in addition to the usual Chandler and Crumley. His depictions of Nick getting drunk make me feel a little hungover. This one felt a lot more urgent than the other two Stefanos books, probably because there was no drunken road trip to break up the investigation.
Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go is the best written of Pelecanos' Nick Stefanos series and probably the most powerful since it shows what Nick's life is doing to the people around him. I guess I'll give it a five but I feel guilty doing it since Nick keeps plunging toward rock bottom.
An easy, quick read with good action sequences. Some parts predictable with the Nick Stefanos storyline about running out of gas. But still worth the time and entertainment. So do some push-ups, then have a shot of Old Grand Dad and a beer, revolve a Fugazi record on the turntable, and enjoy this book.
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. but I guess that's him. I still crazy about his work