The Turnaround

George Pelecanos

The Turnaround

On a hot summer afternoon in Washington DC 1972, three white teenagers, stoned and fearless, drive a stolen car into Heathrow Heights - a rough, black neighbourhood near where they live. Taunting local black kids through the car window, they speed off to what they think is safety. Tragically, they find themselves trapped in a dead-end street whilst an angry mob gathers. In the ensuing chaos, two of the white boys manage to escape, but Billy - the third friend - is shot dead. The youths from both neighbourhoods eventually go their separate ways, but this event will remain the defining moment in many of their lives. Thirty-five years later, one of these men reaches out to another, opening a door that could lead to salvation. However, another survivor of that day is now out of prison, and is looking for reparation in any form he can find it... The Turnaround takes us on a journey from the rock-and-soul streets of the 1970s to the changing neighbourhoods of DC today. It is a novel of fathers and sons, wives and husbands, loss, victory and ultimately violent redemptio 4.3 out of 5 based on 8 reviews
The Turnaround

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre Crime, Thrillers & Mystery
Format Hardback
Pages 304
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication August 2008
ISBN 978-0752875422
Publisher Orion
 

On a hot summer afternoon in Washington DC 1972, three white teenagers, stoned and fearless, drive a stolen car into Heathrow Heights - a rough, black neighbourhood near where they live. Taunting local black kids through the car window, they speed off to what they think is safety. Tragically, they find themselves trapped in a dead-end street whilst an angry mob gathers. In the ensuing chaos, two of the white boys manage to escape, but Billy - the third friend - is shot dead. The youths from both neighbourhoods eventually go their separate ways, but this event will remain the defining moment in many of their lives. Thirty-five years later, one of these men reaches out to another, opening a door that could lead to salvation. However, another survivor of that day is now out of prison, and is looking for reparation in any form he can find it... The Turnaround takes us on a journey from the rock-and-soul streets of the 1970s to the changing neighbourhoods of DC today. It is a novel of fathers and sons, wives and husbands, loss, victory and ultimately violent redemptio

Reviews

The Evening Standard

Mark Sanderson

[A] brilliant book... The Turnaround is about fathers and sons, growing up and growing old, yet is effortlessly gripping and moving. It is, quite simply, a masterpiece.

20/08/2008

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The Los Angeles Times

Paula L. Woods

In the hands of a lesser writer, those black youths would be one-dimensional victims or thugs, but Pelecanos paints a rich portrait of the three and their segregated community... These scenes, offered with minimum embellishment but maximum impact, reflect a writer at the pinnacle of his craft... one of the finest novels of the year... it is the central questions of how men can have purpose and atone for their sins that makes "The Turnaround" an indelible read.

10/08/2008

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The Guardian

Matthew Lewin

Pelecanos has a perfect ear for the rhythms of life and language in his beloved Washington - not the nabobs of Capitol Hill, but the ghettoes and the immigrant communities he knows so well... This is an excellent thriller about choices, family values, loyalty and, ultimately, violent redemption.

23/08/2008

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The Washington Post

Patrick Anderson

...a mature story, told with easy mastery... Pelecanos's narrative unfolds effortlessly, carrying us deep into a dozen lives... Although Pelecanos's writing is rarely lyrical, much less literary, there's a wonderful purity to it. Partly that's because he polishes every line, but there's a more basic reason. Many writers use endless gimmicks to hold the reader's interest. There's none of that in Pelecanos: no tricks, nothing forced, never a false note... "The Turnabout" is a gem and a good place to start if you're approaching Pelecanos's work for the first time.

28/07/2008

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The Times

Marcel Berlins

In The Turnaround, George Pelecanos is in subdued, reflective mood; the novel is no less powerful for that. He tells a modest, poignant story of guilt and - perhaps - redemption, and of how a casual incident long ago has affected successive generations. Like almost all of Pelecanos's tales of Washington DC, race is at the heart... There is no glib conclusion. This may not be one of Pelecanos's most in-your-face novels, but in its quiet way it is just as truthful and provocative.

15/08/2008

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The Independent

Barry Forshaw

If you regard crime fiction as an avenue of escape from the troubling realities of modern society, George Pelecanos is not for you. If, however, you feel that crime is a branch of literature that can confront social problems more trenchantly than most literary novels, this writer should be on your bedside table... a return to form after recent below-par entries, its unfolding narrative shot through with a visceral energy... The Turnaround is [Pelecanos’] most incisive and authoritative novel in some time.

23/08/2008

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The New York Times

Janet Maslin

People in Pelecanos's books can be very simply built; they are what they eat, drink, smoke, watch, wear and read or don't read. They are almost scientific byproducts of the households in which they were either overlooked, abused or raised. "The bus he had caught was an express," Pelecanos writes about how one of the book's losers gets caught up in its inexorable movement toward darkness... [Pelecanos] tells a tight, suspenseful story. And he packs enough of a wallop to put "The Turnaround" on an express bus of its own.

28/07/2008

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The Spectator

Andrew Taylor

The plot of this book is straightforward and largely familiar. The ending will not convince everybody. But Pelecanos is skilled at narrative, and his characters’ dilemmas are evoked grimly and vividly. Best of all is his bleak picture of the poorer side of a city where lives are constantly menaced by an unholy trinity of crime, racism and deprivation.

08/10/2008

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