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The Martini Shot: A Novella and Stories by…
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The Martini Shot: A Novella and Stories

by George Pelecanos

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Pelacanos grew up in D.C. and his books are filled with urban grittiness and the dialogues he heard growing up in his father's diner. "The Martini Shot" is his first collection of shorts, seven short stories and the title novella. Many of these stories have been published before, just not together as a collection. These stories share a sad, grittiness of life in the big city and are filled with rich, deep characters like the police snitch who thinks he found his calling, but still lives in his ailing father's house compared to his successful brother. They are filled with characters like the couple who wanted a companion for their only child and couldn't stop adopting kids and wondered if they lived successful lives. Other stories are about guys playing pickup basketball, trying to determine how to act tough, but not get killed in the process. There are also stories about guys who absconded to South America and guys who get caught back home and wonder who they can trust. "Martini Shot" is the last shot of the day before you take a break from filming and head out for martinis. This story is a change of pace and location for Pelecanos taking his storytelling out of the city streets and urban world onto a Hollywood film set with directors making time with crew members and petty disputes among the stars and, oh yeah, there's a body. This story is a bit underwhelming compared to the others in this collection, but it does show the range of this author. Overall, this is a fine collection and should appeal to Pelacanos' fans and those looking to take a peek at his D.C. world. ( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
Between 2.5 and 3, so I upped it to a 3. "Hard-boiled" and "gritty" were two words I have heard to describe this selection of short stories, and those words do it justice. I think this is just not my the type of work I enjoy reading. Most of the stories had rather depressing characters leading rather depressing lives. I did learn what a "martini shot" is though. While filming a movie or TV show, the "martini shot" is the last shot of the day, frequently late at night, before cast and crew go out for a few real shots at a bar. The novella by that name has so much technical language, that I felt I needed John M. to translate. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316284378, Hardcover)

Short stories and a novella from one of crime fiction's most revered writers.

Whether they're cops or conmen, savage killers or creative types, gangsters or God-fearing citizens, George Pelecanos' characters are always engaged in a fight for their lives. They fight to advance or simply to survive; they fight against odds, against enemies, even against themselves. In this, his first collection of stories, the acclaimed novelist introduces readers to a vivid and eclectic cast of combatants.

A seasoned claims investigator tracks a supposedly dead man from Miami to Brazil, only to be thrown off his game by a kid from the local slum. An aging loser takes a last stab at respectability by becoming a police informant. A Greek-American couple adopts an interracial trio of sons and then struggles to keep their family together, giving us a stirring bit of background on one of Pelecanos' most beloved protagonists, Spero Lucas. In the title novella - which takes its name from Hollywood slang for the last shot of the day, the one that comes before the liquor shots begin - we go behind the scenes of a television cop show, where a writer gets caught up in a drama more real than anything he could have conjured for a script.

By turns heartbreaking and humane, brutal and funny, these finely constructed tales expose the violence and striving beneath the surface of any city and within any human heart. Tough, sexy, fast-paced, and crackling with energy, The Martini Shot is Pelecanos at his very best.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:19 -0400)

"Short stories and a novella from one of crime fiction's most revered writers. Whether they're cops or conmen, savage killers or creative types, gangsters or God-fearing citizens, George Pelecanos' characters are always engaged in a fight for their lives. They fight to advance or simply to survive; they fight against odds, against enemies, even against themselves. In this, his first collection of stories, the acclaimed novelist introduces readers to a vivid and eclectic cast of combatants. A seasoned claims investigator tracks a supposedly dead man from Miami to Brazil, only to be thrown off his game by a kid from the local slum. An aging loser takes a last stab at respectability by becoming a police informant. A Greek-American couple adopts an interracial trio of sons and then struggles to keep their family together, giving us a stirring bit of background on one of Pelecanos' most beloved protagonists, Spero Lucas. In the title novella - which takes its name from Hollywood slang for the last shot of the day, the one that comes before the liquor shots begin - we go behind the scenes of a television cop show, where a writer gets caught up in a drama more real than anything he could have conjured for a script. By turns heartbreaking and humane, brutal and funny, these finely constructed tales expose the violence and striving beneath the surface of any city and within any human heart. Tough, sexy, fast-paced, and crackling with energy, The Martini Shot is Pelecanos at his very best"--… (more)

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