A Firing Offense Paperback – Sep 1 1999
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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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
'A Firing Offense', as judged by many amazon.com reviewers, is not the most thrilling of crime novels by Pelecanos. Read morePublished on Nov. 6 2003 by lazza
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 morePublished on June 8 2003 by Judith Lindenau
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 morePublished on March 29 2003 by Woodruff R. Smith
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 morePublished on Sept. 6 2002 by brazos49
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 morePublished on July 1 2001 by Untouchable
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 morePublished on March 11 2001 by Marcus Vermaire
"A Firing Offense" introduces us to Nick Stefanos, a man who just turned thirty and is unhappy with his life's choices. Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2000 by Brian D. Rubendall
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 morePublished on Aug. 21 2000 by Erik J. Larsen