I can’t remember who it was who recommended Pelecanos to me, but I had the impression he was well worth a try, that he might just be someone to join my other big favourite current crime writers. This is pretty good, but nothing has really made me desperate to read more by him.

It’s very Lawrence Block in style – we have an alcaholic occasional P.I., getting dragged into things more than commissioned. It has his sometime gritty realism, a convincing grasp of low-life people and their world (here set in D.C.), and some of his qualities. The lead character is a pretty substantial creation, and a few others are pretty good too, and the writing is a good notch above solid. The climactic sections are pretty lively, though standard enough fare. There’s nothing really wrong with this, but there wasn’t anything that seemed to match Block’s freshness and complexity and wit; nothing to match James Lee Burke’s atmospheric and beautiful descriptive prose; nothing to match Andrew Vachss’s compelling vision of a sub-underworld. I may read him again, but I can’t say I’ll be particularly looking for him.