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The Turnaround
By George Pelecanos

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The Turnaround

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The Turnaround
By George Pelecanos
Read by Dion Graham
Hachette Audio, (2008)
An Abridged Recording on 5 CDs
ISBN 10: 1-60024-236-7
ISBN 13: 978-1-60024-236-6
Genre: Crime Fiction


Reviewed by Auggie Moore - August 18, 2008

George Pelecanos has crafted yet another emotionally powerful and charter-rich tale in The Turnaround. In this novel, Pelecanos follows the exploits of three young men who took a drive that was not only to change their lives forever, but also the lives of three strangers. The year is 1972 and three white, drugged out friends, Alex Pappas, Billy Cachoris, and Pete Whitten drive into a poor, black, Washington D.C. neighborhood looking for trouble. They find it. The result is one dead and one severely injured...

The story then jumps forward some thirty-five years. Pappas is now the proprietor of a small diner and is dealing with the death of his son, who was killed in Iraq. Into his life walks one of the men involved in the 1972 incident, who is looking for closure. Coincidently, another man who was involved in the incident has just been released from jail and rather than seeking redemption, like his compatriot, he is seeking revenge.

The Turnaround is a character driven story that is divided into three concrete parts. The first part of the story describes the 1972 incident that brought the six men together and changed their lives forever. The second part takes a look at these now middle-aged men and examines how their lives were changed or molded by the incident. The third part of the story details how each surviving member of this unplanned grouping comes to terms with the events that occurred so long ago.

Life is full of random events and choices made can have unforseen consequences. These two truisms are at the heart of this story. If only the three white boys had done this instead of that, or that the three black boys they encountered had made different choices, the lives of all six boys may have turned out so differently. Yet choices were made, and a little karmic randomness ensued, making for a memorable and emotional story by Pelecanos. Thrown into this tumultuous mix is a great deal musical information and a compelling look at the work being done at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, to which many of the characters in this book are connected. This is one of Pelecanos best books to date!


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