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The Turnaround by George Pelecanos
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The Turnaround (original 2008; edition 2009)

by George Pelecanos

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4872521,072 (3.69)27
Member:honoliipali
Title:The Turnaround
Authors:George Pelecanos
Info:Back Bay Books (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 294 pages
Collections:Read and owned
Rating:***1/2
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The Turnaround by George Pelecanos (2008)

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In D.C., 37 years ago, three white teens/young men drive into a black neighborhood and harass and yell the N word at a group of black teenagers/young men from their car. The end result is that one of the whites is shot to death and another ends up with a damaged eye, leaving a permanent droopiness and scar. The other white ran away without injury. Two of the blacks went to jail; one ended up serving 20 years because of an added sentence from inside; the other served a year because he made a deal; the third, younger brother to the one who served 20, did not get convicted.
Now, the two surviving whites are about to be extorted by the black guy who served the year; he is still an active criminal involved in pot sales with two young men. The brother who got off happens upon one of the white guys just before this happens and approaches him to try to reach some sort of understanding. ( )
  BillPilgrim | May 17, 2014 |
I've grown to really appreciate the crime writing of George Pelecanos. It's not only that he name drops places in the Maryland suburbs of DC and streets within the District of Columbia, but also that he knows and feels so comfortable writing about black-white relationships in the DC Metro area. He sees both the good and bad in all of his characters. This book was a real treat to read despite the fact that it was about a bad situation.

Years ago, three white kids decided to ride into a black enclave called Heathrow Heights to taunt three young black men who happened to be there at the time. A pie in face of a black kid ended with a white runaway, a white eye injury, and a white death. Years later this scene is revisited as we meet the characters (with the exception of the dead man) who were involved. Alex Pappas, the son of the store owner has taken over his dad's store. Charlie Baker, after having served prison time becomes determined to extort money from those who put him there in the first place. As they grow older, the Monroe brothers try to piece together their lives, James as a mechanic and the younger Raymond as a physical therapist at Walter Reed National Medical Center,

Interesting and believable characters make this story flow well. If you get the CD version, you'll love how Dion Graham does the dialogue - especially the "bad guys". For one who never read much crime fiction in the past, I'm finding that Pelecanos' writing is surely going to change that! ( )
  SqueakyChu | Jun 9, 2013 |
The dust jacket of this book makes it seem that this is meant to be a feel good chick lit story. I didn't find the story to fulfill that until the ending. However, the storyline is well written and flows well. The character development does draw you in and I did feel their presence. Overall I found this book to be a worthwhile read. ( )
  honoliipali | Dec 13, 2012 |
Good light read. No surprises.
1 vote shazjhb | Aug 6, 2012 |
The Turnaround showcases what a fine writing talent George Pelecanos truly is. Nothing about this story normally appeals to me: young urban men coming of age, who share a love of music, cars, dope and to some extent-- professional basketball and are connected tangentially by a common violent crime. Yet, Pelecanos writes with such truthfulness for the situation of life, I found myself lost within his story, eager to learn the fate of the central characters.

There are no real heros in this novel (except for the war veterans characters that occassionally walk randomly through a scene, who possess such dignitity despite their sacrifice and loss). Rather, it is a story about life experiences; how people are shaped by their economic situation, family upbringing and environmental influences.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a story rich in character development. ( )
  blockbuster1994 | Feb 28, 2011 |
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Lance Cpl. Philip A. Johnson
3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment
2nd Marine Division
2nd Marine Expeditionary Force
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He called the place Pappas and Sons Coffee Shop.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316156477, Hardcover)

On a hot summer afternoon in 1972, three teenagers drove into an unfamiliar neighborhood and six lives were altered forever.
Thirty five years later, one survivor of that day reaches out to another, opening a door that could lead to salvation. But another survivor is now out of prison, looking for reparation in any form he can find it.
THE TURNAROUND takes us on a journey from the rock-and-soul streets of the '70s to the changing neighborhoods of D.C. today, from the diners and auto garages of the city to the inside of Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, where wounded men and women have returned to the world in a time of war. A novel of fathers and sons, wives and husbands, loss, victory and violent redemption, THE TURNAROUND is another compelling, highly charged novel from George Pelecanos, "the best crime novelist in America." -Oregonian

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:31 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"On a hot summer afternoon in 1972, three teenagers drove into an unfamiliar neighborhood and changed six lives forever." "Thirty-five years after that harrowing day, one survivor reaches out to another, opening a door that could lead to salvation. But another survivor has a different plan - a burning need for retribution - and seizes the moment to claim reparation in any form he can find." "The Turnaround takes us on a journey from the rock-and-soul streets of the '70s to the changing neighborhoods of D.C. today, from the diners and auto garages of the city to the inside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the first stop for wounded men and women on their way home from war. A story of fathers and sons, wives and husbands, loss, victory, and violent redemption."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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