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Soul Circus

Soul Circus

Written by George Pelecanos

Narrated by Richard Allen


Soul Circus

Written by George Pelecanos

Narrated by Richard Allen

ratings:
4/5 (8 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Released:
May 16, 2017
ISBN:
9781543612356
Format:
Audiobook

Description

SOUL CIRCUS starts with a rented gun and moves into the vacuum created by the imprisonment of a D.C. crime lord. Two young dealers are fighting for the now unclaimed territory, prestige, and millions of dollars in future profits. Now the kid brother of one of those dealers is going to escalate the friction into wholesale slaughter.

Private investigators Derek Strange and Terry Quinn have found a woman whose testimony could prove the difference between a death sentence and a return to the streets for the crime lord. First they have to get her to talk. Then, they have to keep her alive.
Released:
May 16, 2017
ISBN:
9781543612356
Format:
Audiobook

About the author


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Reviews

What people think about Soul Circus

4.0
8 ratings / 5 Reviews
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Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    This one is basically the end of the Strange/Quinn books (though there is one more featuring a young Derek Strange). Featuring major drug dealing operations, random violence hitting major characters and our heroes turning out to be at least as troublesome as the villains, this is the one, you can really see the Wire scripting that Pelecanos would go on to do. Recommend.
  • (2/5)
    The blurb on this book raves about how it is "brilliant" "tremendous" and it is written by "a great writer in any genre" and "a modern master of American crime writing."Well, sorry, I found this book hard to read, and none of those things. The crime genre in print isn't really my thing, although I do enjoy some crime dramas on TV. In this book, the characters are cardboard, shuffled about in response to the rather wooden and really quite predictable plot. Even the moments of high drama and/or fast action were slow, grey and bland.In fact, if you obsess over cars, clothes and guns you might like this: the cars were far more clearly described characters than the people, and several of the people obsess over clothes to the point that they're simply a clothes horse. Similarly for the guns.I live a long way from Washington, a long way from gang culture, and a long way from the ghetto. There are books I've read that have made me understand, to a lesser or greater extent equally different current cultures (the life of a black hip-hop star from the ghetto for example): this book didn't even manage that. It's as if the ghetto and the gangs, rather than being vibrant, living things adding to the story were flat, dead scenery in front of which the cut out figures were moved, rather like a child's cardboard theatre.
  • (3/5)
    Pelecanos writes another book in the Derek Strange and Terry Quinn series. Strange is trying to shore up the case of someone who is on trial for murder--for something he may well have done, but Strange feels there are enough African American men killed on the streets of Washington with the state doing the same.
    The author puts together a set of interlocking stories that gradually come together into a whole. Lots of violence and posturing. Strange is an honest man with a conscience.
  • (4/5)
    Typically good Pelecanos. Good plot, well written, interesting characters.
  • (5/5)
    “The chains binding Granville Oliver’s wrists scraped the scarred surface of the table before him. Manacles also bound his ankles.” Private investigator Derek Strange is visiting a client in prison in the opening scene of this book. He previously helped to put Granville Oliver there. He hates what his client represents and the crimes he has committed. Oliver was previously a successful gangster, and Strange loathes the drugs and guns culture that threatens to destroy the community they both come from, the black community of the US capital, Washington DC. Yet, for several reasons, some depicted throughout the narrative, and one he keeps secret, he has agreed to work gathering evidence for Oliver’s defence lawyers. His client faces the death penalty if found guilty by a “death-qualified” jury who have been selected specifically for not opposing execution. Back at the office, he and business partner Terry Quinn agree to take on another case, and look for a young woman who has disappeared. Quinn soon gets a result, but he feels that he has compromised his principles and done something wrong, and a piece of tragic news confirms his worst fears. The rest of the novel is taken up with the development of these two plot strands and a third storyline of a war between two rival gangs for control over the drug market in their area, a conflict which has connections to the PI duo’s work that they have yet to learn about. There are a lot of scenes showing various other characters whose actions will affect the drama being played out – gun dealers, drug dealers, gangsters, and those linked to them. Many of the events in the novel seem to have an awful inevitability to them. This is the third book about this PI duo, both ex-cops. This is the third book about this PI duo, both ex-cops. I think it could be enjoyed independently of the first two, Right as Rain and Hell to Pay, and I think it is the best in the series, but it is worth reading the earlier books to find out about how they came to work together. There are also a number of other recurring characters. Strange is a black man in his 50s, who left the police some time ago by choice to set up a successful PI business. He met Quinn while investigating a case which involved this white man in his early 30s, and Quinn now divides his time between working with Strange in the PI business and another part time job in a suburban secondhand bookshop. This is the 11th of George P Pelecanos’ 12 novels, all set in and around his city, Washington DC, and it is the 6th book by him I have read. I love Pelecanos’ work for its strong, memorable writing and its vivid portrayal of a city and characters in crisis. There are no simple resolutions to the social problems and crime that are the other side of the US capital, nor to the dilemmas which concern his characters, including Strange and Quinn. I love this kind of hardboiled, gritty crime fiction, very different from the neat wrap-ups of the traditional whodunit. For me, only crime writing seems to explore the social and political problems in such a compelling way. These books are very violent, but in this series and in Soul Circus in particular, George Pelecanos deals with guns rather differently from many hardboiled crime writers. Derek Strange refuses to use one even though he frequently confronts those who are. There is a very clear message from the story – picking up a gun is no way to confront the problems of the city and of society. Further, the worst villains of the story are those who live out in the suburbs supplying the guns that kill those in the “Section 8s” (low income housing in the city). I found the way he did this a totally convincing and absorbing read. However, if you don’t like books which explore social and political issues, you might not enjoy this one. There is a lot of comment here, almost a sustained rant, but it worked for me. The most negative point that I would make about this novel is the lack of really interesting female characters. The best ones to have featured in this series are Janine, Strange’s secretary and for some years his girlfriend, and now his wife, and Quinn’s girlfriend Tracey, whom he met on a previous case. Pelecanos still tells us they are strong women, but instead of showing evidence of that as he did to some extent at least in the previous books, he relegates them to roles of just supporting their men. The other women in Soul Circus are victims of the male criminal culture portrayed in the novel, and not that fully drawn. On the other hand, I did enjoy the reappearance of the main protagonist from Pelecanos' first 3 books, Greek-American PI Nick Stefanos, a few years older and wiser. To conclude, this is a powerful and memorable novel by one of my favourite crime writers. I would recommend it very highly, but not to everyone.