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The Sweet Forever [Audio Cassette]

George P. Pelecanos , Richard J. Brewer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Product Description

From Amazon

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.

From Publishers Weekly

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.

From Library Journal

Dirty cops, drug money, racism, violence, and sex all mar 1980s Washington, D.C. When a neighborhood drug dealer's collection man crashes and burns in front of Marcus Clay's record store, an opportunist makes off with the guy's sack of cash. The drug dealer and associates will try anything to get the money back, including threatening Clay and employees, one of whom, coke-happy Dimitri Karras (last seen in King Suckerman, LJ 8/97), knows what happened to the cash. Lots of street action, adroit juxtapositioning of good and evil characters, and raw action make this a good choice for larger collections.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Marcus Clay and Dimitri Karras want very much to mind their own business, but that's not the way their karmas crumble, as Pelecanos makes clear in this rousing, raunchy sequel to King Suckerman (1997). The business these two friends want to mind is a small but growing retail record operationfour stores in and around Washington, D.C (actually, it's Clay's business, and Karras, still flush with a legacy from his mother, is content to work for his longtime friend). Its the in-town store thats giving them headaches. Located at the epicenter of D.C.s cocaine ghetto, it looks out onto a vista fraught with mean-street nastiness, some of which is downright dangerous even just to witness. On a blustery winter night, a case in point involves the pilfering of a pillowcase full of money scheduled for delivery to Tyrell Cleveland, the area's CEO of drug enterprises. This multitalented leader of the new hedonists is as heartless as he is entrepreneurial. To mess with him is to invite serious hurt, leading as often as not to shortness of life, terms of doing business that conditions Clay and Karras can accept as sufficient deterrent to their getting involved. On the other hand, two 12-year-old kids have just been gunned down by Cleveland cohorts, and neither Clay nor Karras can happily accept thatdoing so is neither in their genes nor in those bothersome karmas, and so the stage is set for show-downs and shoot-outs. You can see them coming a mile away, but its terrifically satisfying to watch how it all works out. A castmostly blackthats treated painstakingly, so even the bad guys have dimension and believability (the good guys have character and dignity). Still, the violence-averse should probably give a pass to this otherwise almost compulsively readable entertainer. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"You can't put this book down or out of mind. It is one of the best novels I have read in years."--Michael Connelly, author of Angels Flight "A beautiful, brilliant book . . . Volcanic, violent, exhilarating."--Dennis Lehane, author of Gone, Baby, Gone "Brilliant."--"The Dallas Morning News" "There's a lot of emotion in the novel, and only the stonyhearted will go unaffected by it."--Jonathan Yardley, "The Washington Post" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"You can't put this book down or out of mind. It is one of the best novels I have read in years."
--Michael Connelly, author of Angels Flight

"A beautiful, brilliant book . . . Volcanic, violent, exhilarating."
--Dennis Lehane, author of Gone, Baby, Gone

--The Dallas Morning News

"There's a lot of emotion in the novel, and only the stonyhearted will go unaffected by it."
--Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

George P. Pelecanos is the author of eleven crime novels including the 'Nick Stefanos Trilogy' and the 'Washington DC Quartet'. Hell to Pay won the best novel of The Gumshoe Awards 2002. King Suckerman was shortlisted for the 1998 Crime Writers' Association Golden Dagger Award. As an independent film producer, George Pelecanos has handled the movies of the Coen Brothers and other cutting edge movie mavericks. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The first time Richard Tutt made it with a suspect's girlfriend, he realized that there was nothing, nothing at all, that a man in his position couldn't do. He'd gotten some just that morning--a high-assed young thing by the name of Rowanda--and the feeling had stuck with him right into this bright, biting afternoon.

Tutt made a left onto U Street, eye-swept the beat that he knew he owned.

The Power. It was a cop thing, but not an across-the-board cop thing. The desk jockeys never had it. The homicide dicks were too tortured to have it. A few of the boys in Prostitution and Perversions had it, but only some of the time. The beat cops, the ones who really knew how to walk it, had it all the time.

Tutt dug the free-fall feeling that came with the Power. He even looked forward to the looks he got--the looks of fear and hatred and, yeah, the looks of respect--when he stepped out of his cruiser. He'd been a cop for five years, always in blue, and always out on the street. You could keep your promotions and gold shields. Tutt liked the fit of the uniform. He knew he'd never wear anything else.

Tutt turned to his partner, Kevin Murphy, who was staring through the windshield, one thumb stroking his black mustache. Murphy's head throbbed with a dull ache; he hoped for a quiet day. He'd fallen asleep on the couch with a beer in his hand the night before, trying to make out the blurred images on the screen of his new television set. Murphy's nights had been ending this way for some time.

"Let me ask you something, Murphy."

Murphy exhaled slowly. "Go ahead."

"Got a man-woman kinda question for you."

"All right."

"Had me a little brown sugar action this morning, on the way in to work?"

Tutt, bragging double, not just letting Murphy know he had gotten some pussy, letting him know it had been some good black pussy in the bargain.

"Oh, yeah?"

Tutt smiled. "Yeah. Lady took a long ride on that white pony."

Murphy thinking, Yeah, 'cause you promised some poor suckers' girlfriend that you wouldn't bust her old man if she gave a little up.

"Have a good time?" said Murphy.

"Damn straight."

"Good for you, man. So what was that question?"

"Right. So I'm playin' with her privates, see, got my finger right on the trigger."


"I haven't put it in her yet, but even without that, her elevator's gettin' ready to shoot right to the penthouse suite, you know what I mean? Just about then, the bitch looks up at me and goes, in this real whiny voice, 'Pleeeease?'"


"My question is, what was she askin' for? I mean, please what? Please do? Please don't? Please have a bigger dick? I was wonderin' if this was something, you know, the sisters say all the time, something I just don't know about."

"I wouldn't know, Tutt. I only been with one sister for the last ten years. Had some sisters before I was married, understand, but not every single sister. So I can't speak for all of them. And I sure couldn't tell you what this particular sister was lookin' for when she asked you the question."

"I'm bettin' she was begging for it. Had to be 'Please do.'"

"Think so, huh?"

Tutt drove the blue-and-white east on U. Black Washington's once grand street was ragged, near defeated by crime and indifference and Metro's Green Line construction, which had blighted the area for years. They passed the Republic theater, dark now, where Kevin Murphy had seen classics like J.D.'s Revenge and King Suckerman and a bad-ass prison picture called Short Eyes back in '77. Flyers touting the mayor's upcoming reelection effort were stapled to the telephone poles, his increasingly bloated image distorted in a haze of dust kicked up by jackhammers and trucks. Murphy's eyes followed a young dealer stepping out of a drug car parked at the curb.



"Don't get this wrong, partner . . ."

Don't get this wrong, huh? Here we go.

". . . but all I kept thinking of when I was hammering this black chick is that y'all, what I mean is you brothers, y'all fuck in a furious fuckin' way, you know what I mean?"

"That so. How'd you arrive at that conclusion?"

"Well, okay, here's what got me started. I was watchin' this porno flick the other night. My brother-in-law, the art director, brought it over. All-black cast; the star of the flick was hung like a donkey, you know what I'm sayin'? Anyway, this brother in the movie, he was just wailing on this punch, up on one arm, doing some high-ass, violent-ass thrusts."

"Man was goin' at it."

"Like I've never seen. And the way this girl was screaming, now, I shouldn't have been surprised. I mean, I've been with some black women, man. So you know that I've heard some screams."

"Oh, I know."

"But watchin' that porno tape, it made me think of that old expression."

"What expression's that?"

"'I thought I'd fucked a nigger'"--Tutt grinned--"'till I saw a nigger fuck a nigger.'" Tutt air-elbowed Murphy, cackled in that high-pitched way of his. "You ever hear that?"

Murphy stared at the Twenty-third Psalm card he had taped to the dash. He made his lips turn up into a smile. "Nah, King, I never did."

Tutt breathed out in relief. Murphy called him "King"--Tutt's nickname from the Twinbrook neighborhood, where he'd come up--meant everything between them was okay. Course, Tutt knew it would be okay. Civilians didn't understand about the shell cops had, the things that could be said between partners. You could use any goddamn words you wanted to use in fun, because those were just words, and there was only one real thing that mattered, one serious task at hand, and that was to watch your partner's back out in the world and know that he would do the same. Sensitivity was for the high-forehead crowd, the ones standing comfortably behind that last line of defense, skinny-armed liberals and ACL-Jews. Men knew that words were just words and only action counted--period.

"Hey, Murphy. I was just shittin' around. Hey, you all right?"

"I was thinking on somethin'," said Murphy. "That's all."

I was thinking of my wife . . . my mother, and my brother, and my father. Niggers, all of them. I was thinkin' on how I betray them every day, listening to those filthy words coming out of your fat redneck mouth, doin' nothing, saying nothing to shut you up. . . .

"Hey, Murphy. No offense, right?"

"Nah, Tutt," said Kevin Murphy. "None taken."

Murphy noticed the kid wearing the Raiders jacket, maybe ten or eleven, standing outside of Medger's Liquors at 12th and U. He had seen the kid the last year or so, hanging on that corner, often during school hours. No one had the time to bother much with truants anymore, but Murphy wondered what the kid was up to, if he was a runner or a baby foot soldier or just checking out the hustler's map, prepping himself for a lifetime of nothing.

"There's your boy," said Tutt. "Same as always. One of these days we ought to stop, see what his story is."

"I expect we'll be crossing paths someday. When he grows up some."

"Yeah, they all grow up, don't they? Grow up and fuck up." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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