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Shame the Devil: A Novel (DC Quartet Book 4) by [Pelecanos, George P.]
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Shame the Devil: A Novel (DC Quartet Book 4) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Penzler Pick, February 2000: Just as Robert B. Parker and Dennis Lehane have made Boston their own and Los Angeles has been the distinct province of a lineage leading from Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald to Michael Connelly and Robert Crais, so is George Pelecanos the storyteller who's put Washington, D.C., on the noir map. Once considered "the best-kept secret in crime fiction" by his peers, he is now fast leaving behind those days of strictly word-of-mouth fame and cult status.

Telling it like he sees it, and looking fearlessly into those dark, forgotten alleyways that lay too far beyond the corridors of power to make it into any guidebooks, Pelecanos conjures up a gritty, ghostly Washington of working-class neighborhoods and aging suburbs and shoots it through with chillingly unpredictable menace. Most Washington natives probably wouldn't recognize the place--but they couldn't stop trying either, knowing that they've at least glimpsed (out of the corners of their eyes) those environs where a Pelecanos character is most at home.

In Shame the Devil, we find a society of grieving men and women connected by loss, betrayal, the need for revenge, and the shadowy presence of evil. As in other Pelecanos tales, the heroes are not easily identified, love is a coming together of wounded souls, and answers are found where least expected. In the aftermath of a botched armed robbery, a fair number of lives have been thrown into a downward spiral. The problems, however, come on faster and with more fury once the status quo sustaining the survivors has been breached by an ill-wishing and unwanted addition to their little group.

Here are two favorite moments. In one, protagonist Dimitri Karras asks the name of a fellow bar patron. Hearing that he's called Happy, Karras comments that he doesn't look too happy. The answer: "He's pacing himself." The other: we hear the thoughts of the sociopathic villain: "Some believed that incarceration was a mark of failure, but Frank disagreed. Prison was an essential element of any career criminal's education."

With Shame the Devil, Pelecanos solidifies his position among the elite of the brilliant coterie of young noir writers who are creating the emerging classics of the genre. --Otto Penzler

From Publishers Weekly

When the shooting stops on a blistering summer day at May's Pizza Parlor in Washington, D.C., in 1995, five people lie dead, a policeman is left crippled and robber Frank Farrow speeds off with his loot and not a trace of regret. But Farrow, the main villain in Pelecanos's fine new addition to his hard-boiled lineup, still isn't satisfied. He wants to return to finish off the injured cop, who killed Farrow's brother during the shoot-out. Farrow doesn't anticipate, however, the burning desire for revenge harbored by the family and friends of those butchered in the notorious pizza bloodbath. Chief among them is 50-ish Dimitri Karras, whose five-year-old son died when he was mowed down by the getaway vehicle Farrow was driving. Now, three years later, Karras is just getting his life back together, much like the other survivors, all of whom meet regularly to share their grief and soothe their torment. By chance, Karras teams up with Nick Stephanos, a freelance investigator who finds out Farrow is back in town to exact his twisted vengeance. Stephanos tries to dissuade Karras from tracking down Farrow, but even he understands the urge for retaliation. Karras and Stephanos, who have starred in several of Pelecanos's earlier books (King Suckerman; The Sweet Forever), deepen considerably as characters in this hard-driving story of heartache, Stephanos's adjustment to the new-found maturity of middle age and Dmitri's search for some small relief in revenge. Set against a backdrop of greasy-spoon diners, church basements, dive bars and sparsely furnished apartments, the narrative is unsettlingly harsh yet captivatingly tender, the gritty back-and-forth of everyday urban life vividly etched. 11-city author tour. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1735 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (May 9, 2009)
  • Publication Date: May 30, 2009
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SIN3R6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,080 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Doug Vaughn HALL OF FAME on January 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
One thing that is sure about George Pelecanos, he gets better with each new book. Shame the Devil is the final book to use the cast of characters that center around the Washington D.C. bar, The Spot, where recurring character Nick Stephanos is the bartender (when not working as an unlicensed detective). This book offers fast paced action as well as satisfying character portrayals and, more than any other of his books, probes fundamental human issues of faith and life's meaning in the face of arbitrary violence and cruelty.
One of the things that make Pelecanos so popular with the D.C. audience is also protentially a problem for readers elsewhere; his books are so detailed with references to streets and neighborhoods that would mean nothing unless one knew them personally that readers might wish for some exposition to explain where and 'what' Georgia Ave. or Anacostia are. Still, the sense of place is fundamental to his writing and his stories come alive because they are about real people in a known setting. He is almost alone in creating Washington stories that don't focus on the President or some Senator or one of the Federal law enforcement agencies. Pelecanos's books are peopled by blue collar workers, common criminals, D.C. cops, and a sprinkling of hard working attorneys and small businessmen.
This book starts with a bang - an armed robbery that goes wrong and ends up with multiple victims - and it progresses to a dynamite conclusion in which revenge is is coupled with self-discovery and redemption. A really thrilling and satisfying reading experience.
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By A Customer on December 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In 1995 Washington DC, May's Pizza Parlor is the scene of a massacre in which three employees, the getaway driver, and a little boy are dead. Additionally, Officer William Jonas is badly injured when he exchanges bullets with the criminals. Though he has no remorse over four of the dead, CEO (criminal executive officer) Frank Farrow escapes with his booty, but feels rage over the death of his brother.
Frank decides he must return to DC to kill the cop who killed his sibling. However, Frank is not the only person filled with overflowing anger from the pizza parlor incident. Dimitri Karras wants to get even with Frank for running over his little five-year old boy when he evaded the local police. Other relatives of the dead also suffer from deep grief and their efforts to share their feelings have minimally eased some of the ache. Dimitri learns from private investigator Nick Stephanos that after three torturous years have passed, Frank has returned to enact his own vengeance, unaware that his victims have individuals seeking him out to get their own form of vengeance.
SHAME THE DEVIL is an inner city tale of grief and revenge. The story line centers on the survivors struggling very poorly with the '95 slaughter. The plot shifts among several deteriorating neighborhood locales in which the characters meet to discuss the aftermath. Fans who enjoy a character-driven, angst-laden tale will want to read George P. Pelecanos' poignantly fine novel.
Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
But George Pelecanos continues to write some of the best fiction that's out there. I would rate this a great mystery, even if you know "whodunnit." The characters are smartly written and the book is superbly paced. I first discovered Pelecanos with his last book "The Sweet Forever" and it was great to see how his characters from that book have evolved. If you're tired of reading the same old, same old from writers such as James Patterson and Steve Martini, definitely read this book. Pelecanos is right up there with Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly (two writers whose positive reviews of Pelecanos inspired me to try him). Also, if you're at all familiar with the DC area, Pelecanos captures the setting beautifully. I cannot more highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Everyone's entitled to his/her own opinion, but I strongly disagree w/some of these 5 star reviews. STD is better than most of what's out there, but it is not in the same ballpark as Big Blowdown or Sweet Forever (both of which I loved). One can't deny that it has far less action and it takes far longer to get moving than BB and SF. Pelecanos is a wonderful writer, but this is not his best work.
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Format: Hardcover
Pelacanos does some things quite well. He knows how to write an action scene, and he knows how to keep the pace of the book moving. Unfortunately, he needs a lot of work on the stuff that comes between the action scenes. We get way too much detail about how a restaurant kitchen operates. I don't really need to read about how the meatloaf was prepared. The worst part about the book was the incessant references to songs and Pelacanos' (or his characters') opinions about the songs. This went from tedious to annoying by the time the book was half over. I had the feeling the author was trying way too hard to come across as cool. There also are a few sloppy points in the plot, most notably that the killer sends a threatening letter days before he learns where the letter receiver lives. But if you're looking for a quick, light read (albeit a bit violent in places), this one should work.
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