Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Reading Journal Entry: Hard Revolution

This story is set in Washington, D.C., mostly just before and during the 1968 riots sparked by the killing of Martin Luther King, Jr. The first few chapters take place in 1959, introducing characters whose paths will entwine later. There's Derek Strange, a young black boy caught shop-lifting, but given a break that sets his life on a law-abiding path; his older brother Dennis; and their hardworking parents. By 1968, Derek is a young cop and Dennis is a pot-smoking slacker. The narrative unfolds two scenarios: a plan by Dennis and two street thugs to rob a store, and a plot by three white hoodlums to rob a bank--but only after they drunkenly kill a young black man for sport. The action is fueled by race relations and is a study of a society tearing itself apart as tensions escalate. This tale is a prequel to several other novels that feature middle-aged P.I. Derek Strange. The author, George Pelecanos, will be added to my "Want to Read" list.

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