George P. Pelecanos

Although he’s written eighteen novels set in and around Washington, D.C George P. Pelecanos has worked extensively in film and television, most significantly on The Wire, after a mixed bag of jobs (a line cook, dishwasher, bartender, and woman's shoe salesman) in the lead up to his first novel. Along the way he’s also produced essays for a variety of publications including (significantly from Hughesy’s point of view, Mojo and Uncut).

That last point is significant since Pelecanos is another crime writer whose work contains plenty of musical references, and while his tastes don’t actually coincide with my own, tending to run towards the urban side of things one notes his involvement with the Treme TV series, set in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Pelecanos is coming up to twenty years in the writing game, and has been rather prolific, with eighteen novels set in and around Washington D.C. under his belt, along with short fiction, essays and film and TV work including The Wire, Treme and the World War II miniseries The Pacific.

His early novels were first person narratives, featuring Greek D.C. resident and some-time private investigator Nick Stefanos, followed by the D.C. Quartet, spanning several decades and ethnic communities within Washington with characters and cross references to the Stefanos stories, and further titles featuring private detectives, Derek Strange and Terry Quinn.

The crossovers make for interesting and intriguing reading, formulaic, but invariably cleverly constructed as streetwise protagonists chase qualm-free bad guys through the mean streets of the American capital’s underbelly against a multicultural backdrop.


© Ian Hughes 2012