George Pelecanos’s WHAT IT WAS

The new novel from George Pelecanos, hot on the heels of the brilliant THE CUT, is the perfect embodiment of why he is such a brilliant writer. Pelecanos is always amazing a capturing the sense of time and place by creating a soundtrack in your head as well as evoking the sights, sounds, cars and fashion of Washington DC of today, the 90s, 80s, 70s, 60s or 40s. For this book he transports you back to the Washington DC of 1972 with consummate ease.

We revisit a favourite character, Private Investigator Derek Strange, who is recounting an incident from his past to another favourite character from past books, Nick Stefanos. Strange tells the story of the crime spree of Red ‘Fury’ Jones and his own involvement in the case trying to get back a ring that is stolen by Red in one of his daring stick up jobs. Red is determined to make a name for himself, whatever the cost to him or to others. Strange must walk a dangerous tightrope along with a Homicide Detective ‘Hound Dog’ Vaughn who has been assigned the case and has a history with Strange. Added to the mix are two New York hit men who have been sent down to DC to get back some of their money back that Red has inadvertently ripped off.

This is a tightly plotted novel packed with fascinating characters, rich in atmosphere that you’ll find hard not to finish in one sitting.


You don’t need to read any of the previous Derek Strange novels (RIGHT AS RAIN, HELL TO PAY, SOUL CIRCUS, HARD REVOLUTION).but you will definitely want to after reading this.

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