In Drama City, George Pelecanos returns to contemporary Washington DC for his most powerful crime novel yet Lorenzo Brown is fresh out of the clink. The former drug enforcer has vowed to go straight and found himself a job as an officer for the Humane Society. He patrols downtown DC looking for ill-treated pets - but in the course of his day repeatedly comes face-to-face with his old life. Rachel Lopez is an attractive young probation officer. Brown is one of her clients but also fast becoming one of her friends - perhaps he is one that can be saved. Nigel Johnson is a smart young drug-dealer on the make. He has plans to make a lot of money AND stay alive to spend it. He already runs his neighbourhood but doesn't realise that he stands on the brink of a vicious turf war which could destroy him. From these basic players, Pelecanos weaves and amazing new novel, one that defines a generation of black, Hispanic and white Americans fighting - literally - for their lives.
There is a fierce inevitability to the way George Pelecanos's new book unfolds. Drama City is unleashed, not simply set in motion. In the tough, imperiled parts of Washington, where his earlier books have been set, Mr. Pelecanos puts the forces of good and evil on a collision course, igniting the kind of suspense that hinges on heartbreak. As this lean, stirring, knife-edged novel escalates, the question is not whether one of its principals will become a casualty. The question is when.