From the Emmy and Edgar award-winning detective fiction writer, a thriller about an ex-offender who must choose between the man who got him out of jail and the librarian who showed him another path on the inside.
Among Pelecanos’s gifts as a storyteller is that he understands the appeal of moral ambiguity and authentically flawed characters. That skill is on full display here. So is his sense of humor ... In many ways, The Man Who Came Uptown is a book about books ... So while much of this story is classic crime noir...I found myself also reading the book for the Proustian madeleines that Pelecanos serves us.
Like his hero Elmore Leonard, Pelecanos finds the humanity in the lowest of lowlifes (the garrulous Ornazian is so proud of his wife, he thinks nothing of showing nude photos of her to friends). And Pelecanos' peppery dialogue energizes every page. As a bonus, the book offers an ongoing 'read list' of the author's favorites ... Picturing them on Michael's new bookshelf, you can't help but smile.
The thriller plot is taut and suspenseful, as jolting as it is carefully nuanced, but it is Pelecanos’ focus on character, on his ability to show the richness and depth of his people, as well as their often-heartbreaking yearning for something more, that gives this novel—and all his work—its special power. The fact that this time that elusive 'something more' comes in the form of books will make this a novel to treasure for anyone who, like Michael, has been bitten by the reading bug.