Friday, March 26, 2010

The Turnaround - Book Review

I'd said I'd give Pelecanos another try and I'm a man of my word. Of course, picking up The Turnaround at a rock bottom price at Waldenbooks' going-out-of-business sale helped spur me on and takes some of the sting out of working my way through one of his lesser attempts of the few books of his I've read.

An incident 30 years prior ties the main characters together as they seek redemption today. Pelecanos' attention to pop detail is admirable but ultimately his prose seems rushed and skates over the surface of these things, giving them shout-outs as he moves along rather than really digging in and giving us a sense of the past era or the current one. The Iraq War plays a part in the plot and Pelecanos does a good job capturing the worries of the family at home and dealing with the aftermath of the soldiers who wounded and treated at state side hospitals. A violent sub-plot finally leads to a rather static ending scene which ties things up too nicely for a book that seems to take pride in its gritty realism.

Not a knock out punch for me for Pelecanos. I'll give him another chance or two before moving on.


  1. But I thought I'd keep you with the "violent subplot" and "gritty realism." Dang.