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George P. Pelecanos's latest book is not only a tremendously detailed and emotionally powerful crime novel but also a virtual compendium and update of his other excellent novels that are all similarly rooted in the nonpolitical neighborhoods of Washington, D.C. Brought back for major roles are Marcus Clay, Dimitri Karras, and other important players from King Suckerman. There are poignant cameos by Randolph of Shoedog as well as the two Nick Stefanos--grandfather and grandson--from The Big Blowdown, A Firing Offense, Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go, and Nick's Trip. As always, Pelecanos uses jabs of pop music, basketball, clothes, and cars to quickly root us in time and place.
It's 1986, 10 years after the Bicentennial events of King Suckerman, so a woman in her 30s wears a Susanna Hoffs-style haircut "from the cover of the 'All Over the Place' album, not the redone look off the new LP." Dimitri, after a brief career as a teacher, is now working full-time for his friend Marcus's expanded chain of four Real Right record stores; he drives a BMW 325 and wears his graying hair moussed and spiked. (He also snorts more cocaine than Al Pacino did in Scarface, one of several films used as icons here.) The doomed basketball star Len Bias--just finishing his college career and about to sign a huge deal with the Boston Celtics--is on TV screens everywhere, admired equally by the former local hoops hero Clay and a conflicted cop named Kevin Murphy who has misplaced his moral compass. The complicated, satisfying plot involves $25,000 stolen from a drug dealer; several children in peril; smart adults who screw up their lives in dumb ways; and the speed with which violence festers and explodes in unexpected directions. --Dick Adler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Pelecanos (King Suckerman) lays a fair claim to be the Zola of Washington, D.C. The latest of his thrillers, which use a recurring cast of ordinary Washingtonians to chronicle the city's decline since WWII, brings us to 1986, when Vietnam vet Marcus Clay, founder of ("African American Owned and Operated") Real Right Records, and his employee and best friend, aging Greek-American cokehead Dmitri Karras, witness a grisly car accident outside Clay's newest record shop on the struggling U Street strip. A suburbanite, in town to score blow from Karras, steals $25,000 in drug money from the car and inadvertently starts a race between local hoods and dirty cops?to get the money back and avenge the theft?that jeopardizes the neighborhood's fragile peace. As always, the intertwined fates of black and white Washington inform the fates of Pelecanos's individual characters, and if he cooks up saccharine subplots for his protagonists, the city's large and small tragedies?its crack epidemic, the overdose of local hero Len Bias, the disgrace of home rule, the withering of D.C.'s last independent music scenes, the ugly segregation of the place?cut the sweetness and haunt the compelling main plot from beginning to end. With characters for whom the White House is just a tourist attraction, Pelecanos is that rare bird among Washington novelists, a writer who loves and knows the city he writes about.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This is my first time reading a pelecanos book, not even sure why I chose to read it. I have to admit, that I read the first 100 pages, sporadically over a week. Read morePublished on April 24 2004 by Sean
The Sweet Forever is a well done and engrossing crime novel. Pelecanos' story shifts from the Washington DC gang members to the corrupt cops to honest people just trying to get by... Read morePublished on Jan. 14 2003 by Elizabeth Hendry
This is a flat out terrific book. Pelecanos weaves an intriguing story about a search for some stolen drug money, a battle for control of a neighborhood and a number of characters... Read morePublished on July 13 2002 by brazos49
Just finshed Sweet Forever and it blew me away. This is not only the best crime fiction book I have ever read, but it is one of the best books period. Read morePublished on July 19 2001 by Mark Davis
"The Sweet Forever" is the first George P. Pelecanos book that I've read, but it won't be the last. Read morePublished on April 24 2001
Quite simply put this is the best novel I have read. I liked King Suckerman, but this book just blows it away. Read morePublished on Nov. 2 2000 by Tyler Durdan
I think Pelecanos is much, much more interested in his characters than the average suspense writer, and he knows that adulthood changes in point-of-view and lifestyle are much more... Read morePublished on Oct. 16 2000 by M.H.
Set in Washington DC in the last 1980s, this is a very well done cops and robbers genre detective novel - but then it is much more. Read morePublished on Aug. 5 2000 by R. Peterson