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.
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)
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Little, Brown and Company
May 10, 2009
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