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A Firing Offense [Paperback]

George P. Pelecanos
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Sept. 1 1999 --  

Book Description

Sept. 1 1999 A Five Star Title
The book that introduces Nick Stefanos. The Pelecanos market continues to grow.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Thirtysomething Nick Stefanos, up-from-the-sales-floor ad manager at a Washington, D.C., electronics chain, has quit smoking and considerably reduced his drug intake but still drinks pretty heavily. When the grandfather of Jimmy Broda, a stockboy Nick has befriended, asks him to help find the missing boy, Nick reluctantly agrees. Jimmy has been hanging out with skinheads and Nick begins plumbing that world after he's fired from his job. With time and severance pay on his hands he follows Jimmy's trail to the resorts of the Carolina Outer Banks, moving back to Washington to unravel a plot that involves drugs, violence and murder. Besides offering an inside look at electronics retailing, dreary skinheads, a nostalgic list of late baby-boomers' pop songs and quite a lot of drinking (including a solo binge by Nick that feels gratuitous), Pelacanos also delivers a blazing, climactic shoot-out. Nick's weltschmerz is saved from excess by the cool, controlled prose and the realistic, rather bleak resolution.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Meet Nick Stefanos, hard-drinking, heavy-metal-loving D.C. appliance salesman who talks so much like a private eye that stockboy Jimmy Broda's grandfather insists that he find the missing boy, who was fired after he stopped showing up for work--and who was last seen with novice druggie Eddie ``Redman'' Shultz and dangerously experienced Kim Lazarus. Despite Nick's marathon sessions with drink, drugs, and women, the seamiest stuff goes down on the retail floor of Nutty Nathan's, a milieu that Pelecanos limns with such tell-all relish that it's obvious Jimmy's troubles stem from his job--and it's a shame (though no surprise) that, by the time this loosely plotted tale has run its course, Nick has left retail for the comparatively wholesome world of the professional shamus. Nick's as robust as his mystery is anemic. This debut is promising--but better wait for Pelecanos to throw better stuff. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars DEFINITELY A "GUY'S" AUTHOR May 22 2003
Format:Paperback
When I started reading Pelecanos, it began with "Right As Rain" after seeing him at a book signing in Philadelphia a few years ago. After that reading experience, I knew I had to read some more of his books so I turned to his Nick Stefanos' series. Someone suggested I read them in chronological order as opposed to the order in which he wrote them. Based on that recommendation, I began with The Big Blowdown, which takes place in the 1930's and 1940's. I thought this book was phenomenal. Chronologically, the next three books were King Suckerman, which takes place in 1976, The Sweet Forever, which takes place in 1986 and A Firing Offense which takes place in the early 1990's -- all of which I've now read.
But here is my problem...does Pelecanos write these books only to attract a male audience? I've gotten this feeling with each of these books since there's always some inside male jokes, references to sport's figures and trivia that only guys would know, gratuitous and gritty sex and over the top drinking and drug binges. All of the characters are trying to be so cooler than cool. They don't just leave a tip....they "drop a twenty on a fifteen dollar tab." The first time Pelecanos writes this, it's clever...by the fifth or sixth time, it's old already.
I'm sure this will incite Pelecanos' fans but I mean this sincerely when I say that "I am a fan." I just wish he wouldn't be so exclusive of the opposite sex when he writes. I can understand that he's probably a real man's man -- the kind of guy other guys want to hang out with. But I want to join the party and I get the feeling with these last three books I've read that it's an "all boy's club" and I'm not invited.
Other reviewers have said that The Firing Offense is one of the weaker books in the series.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but ultimately dull May 15 2003
By Charlie
Format:Paperback
As a lover of the crime genre I was keen to read this having had Pelecanos recommended to me by more than one person. I bought an omnibus edition with A firing Offence, Nick's Trip and Down By The River Where The Dead Men Go in one book. I finished A Firing Offence on the first day and I'm about three quarters of the way through Nick's Trip. In a nushell I found this book to be quick and easy to read, interesting in that I have not read anything set in Washington DC before and it certainly had a good plot with a well paced story. The characters did nothing for me. I thought Stefanos was boring and dull. On the one hand he is meant to be exciting with a bit of drug taking in his past (who hasn't?) and the ability to have a bit of a scuffle, in reality he is a single alcoholic with few if any friends who spends most of his time driving around in a drunken stupor. The gunfight scene in the warehouse is not particularly believable and Stefanos' demeanour directly afterwards is far too composed.... the whole thing is a little to unbelievable for me as well as being somewhat trite. I won't bother with the third book in the series. Not bad but hardly great.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea June 17 2002
Format:Paperback
George Pelecanos's novel A FIRING OFFENSE introduces private detective-in-the-making, Nick Stefanos. Nick is a thirty-something advertising director for Nutty Nathan's, an electronics chain store. He is responsible for buying advertising space from newspapers and radio stations and providing the necessary copy and art for the store's ads. He is good at his job even though he feels he is at a dead end. This changes when he meets James Pence.
James Pence is searching for his grandson, Jimmy Broda, who used to work at one of the Nutty Nathan's in Washington, D.C. He has been gone for three weeks and no one has heard from him. He is hoping that Nick might be able to find out what happened to Jimmy. Nick feels a certain kinship to Broda and he feels that he needs to try to find him. Nick goes to work at the store Jimmy used to work for and gets involved in a drug-smuggling operation.
Pelecanos's tries to show the gritty side of Washington, D.C by focusing on the youth who live and work in the city. The employees at Nutty Nathan's show contempt and disrespect for the customers they serve. They lie and trick them and get drunk and stoned during business hours and they find ways to screw their customers. Nick gets involved with skinheads and the punk culture as it is in the early nineties when the story takes place. This book might not be every person's cup of tea but it takes more than one book to achieve a following.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A well-handled crime novel Jan. 25 2004
By JW
Format:Paperback
Nick Stefanos is an ad manager at a Washington DC electronic store. He is asked to find a missing teenager named Jimmy Broda by the boys grandfather and soon uncovers a plot involving murder and drug running.
The story in this relatively short novel is rather straightforward. Nick however makes a fairly interesting anti-hero. He is an aimless, un-ambitious misanthrope, prone to drug-fuelled drinking binges. The prose is tough, atmospheric and realistic: "This section of town had its own smell in the early evening, of dried spit and alley dirt in the wedges of cracked concrete." There's a well-drawn supporting cast of characters, particularly the floor salesmen at "Nutty Nathans", the electronics chain where Nick works. The ending is dark and uncompromising, there are no happy ever afters here.
This is the first book by George P. Pelecanos that I've read and afterwards I wanted to read more. It is a fine crime novel in the tradition of Jim Thompson or David Goodis.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars characterizations and setting save this Pelecanos novel..
'A Firing Offense', as judged by many amazon.com reviewers, is not the most thrilling of crime novels by Pelecanos. Read more
Published on Nov. 6 2003 by lazza
4.0 out of 5 stars Macho Mania
This first book in the "Nick Stefanos" series is definately a guy book: lots of drinking and drugs, fistfights, all-night drives, hamburgers, and sex on the couch. Read more
Published on June 8 2003 by Judith Lindenau
3.0 out of 5 stars Recent Pelecanos is great, this is mediocre.
I first read Right as Rain, and Hell to Pay. Those are great books. I can't wait to read the new one in that series. Read more
Published on March 29 2003 by Woodruff R. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading for the Johnny McGinnes character alone
Given that this is the author's first book and that it might not be quite as polished as later work, should you read this book? My answer is: yes, definitely. Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2002 by brazos49
3.0 out of 5 stars Better Pelecanos To Be Found Elsewhere
Although the first of the Nick Stefano books, I read this one after the other two (Nick's Trip and Down By the River Where the Dead Men Go), and it's probably a good thing I did... Read more
Published on July 1 2001 by Untouchable
4.0 out of 5 stars Stereo salesmen, drugs, booze in post-punk D.C.
Retail stereo salesman who smoke dope and drink in the backroom and poke fun of their customers behind their backs. The street-level seedy side of Washington D.C. Read more
Published on March 11 2001 by Marcus Vermaire
4.0 out of 5 stars Nick's First Case
"A Firing Offense" introduces us to Nick Stefanos, a man who just turned thirty and is unhappy with his life's choices. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2000 by Brian D. Rubendall
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked it, but...
I liked it because it was a good snapshot of a man trying to get away from his past and start a new life. Read more
Published on Aug. 21 2000 by Erik J. Larsen
4.0 out of 5 stars He had me at Hello...
I bought this book after hearing an interview with Pelecanos on NPR. I got hooked on his novels and have read every one he has written. He is not for everyone. Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2000
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