Sunday, July 24, 2011

George Pelecanos- Part One (DRAMA CITY)

I spent part of mid-July in New York. I visited with publicists from the major New York publishing houses, saw two great Broadway shoes, and spent time with Charlie Rogers, the Editor In Chief of, and with Paulo Lemgruber, the CEO of I visited their offices and was impressed with their mission and with the level of activity I observed. This 'buzz' carried over to my visits with the publicists. You can sign-up for by logging on and entering your email address. It should roll out around Labor Day. I hope to play a small part in their long-term goals.

While in New York I picked up a suitcase full of galleys and have begun reading them. The book I am most excited about is QUEEN OF AMERICA, Luis Albert Urrea's long-awaited sequel to THE HUMMINGBIRD'S DAUGHTER. It will be published on December 7, 2011. I love what I've read so far. I will do a three week feature on Mr. Urrea in late November/early December. The feature will culminate with an extensive interview on QUEEN OF AMERICA.

I also picked up the galleys to James Lee Burke's new Hackberry Holland novel, FEAST DAY OF FOOLS. Simon & Schuster will be publishing the novel this fall. So you have a new Burke novel to look forward to. I'll be doing a feature on Mr. Burke in September. This will be Mr. Burke's eighth appearance on the show.

Now, for this month's featured author, George Pelecanos. I love Pelecano's work- it's hard to appear objective. I just like everything he writes; whether it's his essays, his novels, THE WIRE, or TREME, the guy has just got it.

Mr. Pelecanos is writing a new series for the Reagan Arthur imprint of Little, Brown. The new series, featuring Spero Lucas, will hit the shelves on August 29, 2011. Spero Lucas is a great character and this series will be a hit. I read it in three sittings and I hated to put it down. I think this is the best novel he has written and I know you'll enjoy it.

This week I'm featuring an interview I did with Mr. Pelecanos in 2005. We discuss his novel DRAMA CITY, which went to win many awards. Beneath the link to the interview I will post what I wrote back in 2005, the first time he and I talked.

If you've not read Pelecanos get ready for a trip to the bookstore. He has an extensive backlist (16 novels) and they are all good.

Listen to the DRAMA CITY interview from March 2005

Week of March 30, 2005  | George Pelecanos
This week's guest is George Pelecanos. I discovered Mr. Pelecano's work in the mid-1990's.  His crime novels take place in Washington D.C., and he writes about the city with a style and a flair that is uniquely his own. 
When I read a George Pelecanos novel I keep pen and paper handy, because I know that I'm going to be buying some new CD's as I read the book. He uses music as an integral part of his stories, and he does it effectively. We're the same age, so I always get a stroll down memory lane with his musical references. 

DRAMA CITY, recently published by Little, Brown, is Mr. Pelecanos's latest novel. It features Lorenzo Brown, a man recently released from spending eight years in prison. The story follows Lorenzo as he adapts to life on the street.  He works in animal control, and I found the book to be a wonderful look into the life of an ex-con who is trying to make a better life for himself and his family after his release from prison.  It is a fascinating look into a side of Washington D.C that other writers ignore, or don't know exists. You will meet some interesting dogs along the way as a bonus. There is also a strong female character in the novel, Rachel Lopez.

After you finish this one you can go back and read RIGHT AS RAIN, with the wonderful characters of Derek Strange and Terry Quinn. Next you can read THE BIG BLOWDOWN, a noir classic that features Nick Stefanos, and the fascinating characters that frequent his grill.  During our conversation Mr. Pelecanos and I discuss THE SWEET FOREVER, a novel of heartbreaking beauty and grace. 

If you have not read George Pelecanos you are in for a treat. Don't forget to read KING SUCKERMAN. You can also watch THE WIRE on HBO. Mr. Pelecanos started out as a writer for the show, and now he is a producer. The fourth season starts in 2006.He is also working with Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg on a project with HBO that is similar to A BAND OF BROTHERS, but the locale is the Pacific Theater.I hope you enjoy my conversation with Mr. Pelecanos. I know I did. 

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