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King Suckerman Mass Market Paperback – July 6, 1998

3.9 out of 5 stars 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.
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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: #400,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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.
ken32
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I started with "Down By the River Where The Dead Men Go", "The Night Gardner", "What It Was", and now "King Suckerman". This book almost reads like a blackploitation film I say almost because unlike blaxploitation this actually shows a more human aspect instead of a bunch of stereotypes. I like the writing of Pelecanos because all his stories take place in DC specifically in my own back yard. His dialogue humorous yet memorable, character development stays with you long after you have finished, and that's a good thing seeing as how the characters make cameos in other books. I highly suggest this book to anyone interested in serious crime fiction.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mr. Pelicanos did a good, but not great job describing the wasted lives of those young men with so much potential. But it is not his best effort. I enjoyed reading the cultural references to the 1980s, including the movies and the music. The story line dragged at times, but that's probably the way things really happened back then. I'm glad that I read the book and I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Pelgranos is a great fabricator of fiction telling tall tales that are fun and enjoyable to read, especially if you are even somewhat familiar with Washington DC. Once you finish the book and seek out more you will understand how the cast of characters came together.

The 1968 riots in DC changed the community and the atmosphere of the city radically. How that change effected different portions of the metro area is reflected in the stories.
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