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As Detective Jeanette Kihlberg dives into the case, she is drawn into a deep and complex web of violence and corruption. Originally published as a trilogy in Sweden, The Crow Girl is an intricate and emotionally complex read. Taking place in Stockholm, the novel follows a group of investigators unraveling the threads of a brutal murder that is eerily similar to an unsolved killing from a decade previous. It is an ingeniously plotted and twisting thriller.

This first installment of the Kurt Wallander series sees the gruff and somewhat misanthropic detective investigating the grisly bludgeoning death of an elderly farmer whose wife was also left to die. This American debut for Norwegian author Samuel Bjork is a chilling thriller centering on the hunt for a vengeful killer targeting children in disturbing fashion. The novel follows Investigators Holger Munch and Mia Kruger — a brilliant and haunted detective with her own unnerving past — as they delve into a case with increasingly personal implications.

Morck is in charge of a growing pile of cold cases, left to him following a career blunder. Though expectations are low for new developments, Morck is drawn into one particular case centering on a missing politician presumed dead but who may be, for the moment at least, anything but. This one is a true classic that heralded the Nordic noir genre.

Originally published in , Roseanna is the first of the Martin Beck Police Mysteries and inspired an entire generation of writers. It follows beleaguered detective Martin Beck as he investigates the mysterious death of a young woman who appears to have been strangled and tossed overboard during a cruise. In a lot of ways, it laid the template for what has come to be known as Nordic noir. In this Jo Nesbo thriller, Inspector Harry Hole joins the force one last time to hunt down a crazed serial murderer who finds his victims on Tinder. Packed with riveting twists and turns, this novel will keep every reader on edge until the very last page.

Share: Share on Facebook. Related Lists:. In the n Short stories and a novella from one of crime fiction's most revered writers. In the novella, "The Martini Shot," Pelecanos takes readers behind the scenes of a cable TV cop show, where a writer gets caught up in drama more real than anything in a script. Crackling with energy, these stories bring readers to a new understanding of humanity, modern life, and circumstances that stack the deck against people who are just trying to make a decent life for themselves.

Whether they're cops or conmen, savage killers or creative types, gangsters or God-fearing citizens, George Pelecanos' characters are always engaged in a fight for their lives. They fight to advance or simply to survive; they fight against odds, against enemies, even against themselves.

In this, his first collection of stories, the acclaimed novelist introduces readers to a vivid and eclectic cast of combatants. A seasoned claims investigator tracks a supposedly dead man from Miami to Brazil, only to be thrown off his game by a kid from the local slum. An aging loser takes a last stab at respectability by becoming a police informant. A Greek-American couple adopts an interracial trio of sons and then struggles to keep their family together, giving us a stirring bit of background on one of Pelecanos' most beloved protagonists, Spero Lucas.

In the title novella - which takes its name from Hollywood slang for the last shot of the day, the one that comes before the liquor shots begin - we go behind the scenes of a television cop show, where a writer gets caught up in a drama more real than anything he could have conjured for a script.

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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Mar 09, Joe Valdez rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction-crime , anthology. This collection includes a novella published in about a writer-producer on a cable TV cop show , as well as six previously published short stories and one new one. The novella was a light day at the gym compared to the gritty workouts tha My introduction to the fiction of George Pelecanos is The Martini Shot: A Novella and Stories. The novella was a light day at the gym compared to the gritty workouts that the short stories put me through, but every story is emotionally compelling, detailed and exposes life in parts of America shunned by most novelists.

Noir, Verdon Coates looks to generate income as an informant, tipping the homicide detective he works for with just enough information to apprehend the shooter in an unsolved murder case, while keeping his involvement confidential enough not to attract attention as a snitch.

While mired in gritty detail about life for a man living from moment to moment on the streets, this story has heart and tremendous depth for its length, with Verdon hoping his efforts will make his Vietnam veteran father proud of him for a change. Four stars.

Evangelos "Van" Lucas, a real estate investor of Greek descent, is convinced by his wife Eleni to begin a foster family after she experiences complications with the birth of their daughter. Over the years, they add three black infants to their family, but even love and education are no guarantees all of their children will prosper, particularly with a drug epidemic in the city. Like The Confidential Informant, Pelecanos demonstrates just as much understanding of family dynamics and the effect of drugs on relationships as he does for what's going on in the streets.

Five stars. They named him Spero and brought him home the next day. Upon entering the house, Eleni took a photograph. When it was developed, it showed Spero still in the car seat, Irene and Dimitrius off to the side, Leonidas with his arm around his new baby brother, Van down on one knee, broadly smiling, and Shilo sniffing at the new arrival in the foreground. Behind them, through the double glass doors of the family room, there was a thick wall of clouds, and though it was midday, a light appeared to wink in the gray sky.


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Van said it was the camera flash reflected in the glass. Eleni claimed it was a start. She would not tell him what she truly believed: that the light was a kind of eye. That there was something out there, watching them and watching over them, this family of six. High school student Tonio Harris finds his life threatened from little more than winning a game of pickup basketball. Chased from a nightclub by the losing crew, Tonio crosses paths with Sergeant Peters, a veteran beat cop who knows his hardworking single mother and has been vouched for as being all right.

The story alternates points of view between Tonio and Sgt. Peters and builds terrific suspense illuminating a world where wounded pride or the wrong word at the wrong time can end a life. Mexican-American John Moreno, an independent contractor specializing in international retrieval, arrives in Recife, Brazil, to investigate the disappearance of a man spotted in the resort town by a neighbor after the man's wife was awarded a two million life insurance settlement in his death.

I love a story about a character good at his or her job and this is one, with Pelecanos demonstrating just as much finesse with a story set in Brazil as he does with those in D.

The ending grabbed me by the collar. Tim is a white kid who recounts his friendship with another white boy named Pat and Pat's widowed mother, respectfully known as "Miss Mary. Sitting in on a buy with their dealer, their friendship and lives never go back to what they were.

This is another story where Pelecanos brings to bear tremendous detail about life on the streets but at the same time, includes a social consciousness and focus on how drugs and violence affect low income families. The ending is another heart wrencher. The police in this county here are all about catching kids in the act of smoking, like it's some kind of high crime. They even got plainclothes Spanish guys, young dudes who look like they could be in high school, busting Latino kids who smoke in the woods. Young black and white police do the same to their own kind.

Meantime, if you are one of those nerd boys, you are pretty much safe, even if you partake in the sacrament yourself. The smart kids, the ones who been protected their whole lives, can go off to college and smoke all the weed they want in their dorm rooms. Shit is damn near legal for them. Just like it was for their parents. After hanging at a pub with college pal of theirs who mocks "Paddy" for his interests as much as temperament, Paddy and the narrator head to Langley Park to score cocaine in a decision that seems disastrously bad from the start.

While the aftermath may not be as tragic as some of the other stories, Pelecanos draws such a memorable portrait of Paddy and guys I knew like him in high school. Ultimately finding work as a busman at a fancy hotel, Bill befriends a gregarious white waiter quietly attempting to organize the workers.

An ill-tempered new waiter is revealed to be a strike-busting Pinkerton detective and when Bill's co-worker is found in the Potomac, he takes the law into his own hands. Pelecanos brings historical detail, suspense and strong point of view to this story, which might be my favorite. Victor Ohanian is a writer-producer on a cable TV cop show shooting in a state with generous tax incentives for film production but a rough local element.

Between rewrites for the show's diva lead and bouts of compassionate fucking with the show's art director Annette, who Vic is genuinely enamored with as she is of him, he makes inquiries into the shooting death of Skylar Branson, a young Texan who ran the electrical crew and with his girlfriend, sold weed on the side to the crew. This novella bops along with terrific behind-the-scenes detail into TV production and a little criminal intrigue, but the set romance between Vic and Annette is the stand-out.

Unlike my marriage, hers had ended voluntarily. Her spouse had been a carpenter who worked on set construction for features. They'd met on a show in Wilmington, North Carolina, when Annette was an assistant in the art department on a Dino De Laurentiis production. Steve had never outgrown his fascination with the muscle car culture of his youth.

He'd flipped his vehicle, broke his neck and burned to death in a street race on a foggy two-lane ten years ago. I knew she'd loved him very much. There were many photographs of Steve in her hotel room. She loved him still. Steve and Annette had not had children, and now, at forty-four, she knew her maternal ship had sailed.

Like me, she had become a professional wanderer, a hotel dweller, without roots, a person with tired eyes who worked seventy-hour weeks. It was hardly a healthy atmosphere in which to raise a child. Film and television productions were like circuses that arrived in town and brought excitement to the locals for a short period of time. We came and went, leaving the straights to their families, their backyard barbecues, their churches, their nine-to-fives. George Pelecanos earned his spot in the Screenwriter's Hall of Fame for his work on The Wire , including Season 3 teleplays for "Hamsterdam" and "Slapstick" which dealt with a besieged Baltimore police major who legalizes drugs in his district.

If this book is any indication, his fiction is just as strong; fluid prose, honest dialogue, terrific detail into worlds I barely know.

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I found myself on the same page with Pelecanos on politics, sex and race, particularly how drug laws disproportionately target low income communities. He deals with these three subjects honestly and humanely, as opposed to pretending they don't exist in America. View all 19 comments. Jan 07, Kemper rated it liked it Shelves: crime-mystery , short-stories , I might have liked this martini more if it came with some blue cheese olives. The way he builds a character by describing the streets they walk, the liquor they drink, the music they hear, and the restaurants they eat in d I might have liked this martini more if it came with some blue cheese olives.

My favorite aspect was The Martini Shot novella which is the first person account of a TV writer working on a cop show in a rundown city who feels the need to get some justice for a friend who has been murdered. My only complaint is that the sex scenes provided a graphic amount of detail that seem to cross over into soft core porn. Maybe he was going for some of those 50 Shades of Grey readers.

The short story I liked most provided the background of one Pelecanos' lead characters in a series, Spero Lucas, by telling us how he came to be adopted by his parents and what their family was like when he was a kid. Those are things that have been touched on in the Lucas books, but this added a lot of details that I enjoyed. However, the problem is that like the rest of this collection, it really just made hungry for another Spero Lucas novel. So while Pelecanos has the ability to write short stories, what I really wanted from almost everything I read here was more.

Except for those sex scenes. Then less would have been better.

by Alex Dahl

View all 44 comments. Apr 09, Richard rated it really liked it Shelves: crime-mystery-thriller , afrocentric , author-pelecanos , short-stuff , novellas , reads. Pelecanos is undeniably one of my favorite authors, so of course I had to jump headfirst into this newly-released collection of his short fiction, although I was already familiar with some of the stories. Fellow fans of the author will find many of his usual strengths on display here: his knack for creating flawed but sympathetic characters, his way with dialogue, and the potent atmosphere that he's able to convey in his urban D.

One of the best examples of this is the first stor Pelecanos is undeniably one of my favorite authors, so of course I had to jump headfirst into this newly-released collection of his short fiction, although I was already familiar with some of the stories. One of the best examples of this is the first story in the collection, and possibly one of Pelecanos's best pieces, "The Confidential Informant.

It's a tale filled with an air of sadness, as the main character is still desperate for his parent's approval and he believes that he's finally found his calling as a snitch. Another story that's just as good, "String Music," follows a teen streetball player, who struggles to find a balance between being tough and being smart on the street. It was also refreshing reading "String Music" during the current atmosphere in the U.

The character of Sergeant Peters is everything that a good cop should be. He's in touch with the community that he polices and has a relationship with people there. So instead of seeing the neighborhood as a place to flex his power and bust heads, he sees it as a place to protect. So kudos to Pelecanos for writing a cop character that can stand as an example for the real ones. These two stories feature some of the best writing that he has done.

One of the things that's always struck me about Pelecanos is the fact that he's probably the only non-black novelist who has a talent for constantly writing complex, honest, and fully realized black characters from the inner city. This can be credited not only to the fact that he's lived all of his life in "Chocolate City," but to what seems to be an acute sensitivity to the people and world around him.

It's something I've noticed in all of his work. He can be described the same way the social worker in the short story "Chosen" describes Van and Eleni Lucas Spero Lucas's adopted parents , who adopt two African-American boys: he never feels over-earnest, or trying too hard to be multicultural. His work feels genuine, unlike someone like Quentin Tarantino, who always seems to be trying too hard. Most of the stories are solid, with the title novella being the weak link. The story is filled with tons of unnecessary detail about the inner workings of a movie set, to the point where most readers would lose interest.

I got a kick out of it because I work in that industry and it was fun to see it written very accurately, but it did make the story much longer than it needed to be. At first, I couldn't understand the main character's motivations for looking into the death of another crew member, but by the end, his motivations are revealed and they're pretty interesting.

The ending was satisfying, but the novella would have made a better short story. I wouldn't recommend readers new to Pelecanos to start here, but it's a great, necessary addition to his work and would definitely recommend it to fans. I knew what I was gonna do, knew exactly where I was gonna go with it, knew wasn't nobody out there could stop me. I wasn't thinkin about Wallace or the stoop of my mom's shoulders or which nigga was gonna be lookin to fuck my baby sister, and I wasn't thinkin on no job or college test or my future or nothin like that.

I was concentratin on droppin that pill through the hole.


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Watching myself doin it before I did. Out here in the sunshine, every dark thing far away. Runnin ball like I do. View all 9 comments.

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Oct 15, Josh rated it it was ok Shelves: Being his first published collection of short stories, I must admit that I was enamored by the unique narratives and open-ended style that I enjoyed so much from my trek into the world of Raymond Carver earlier this year. As I have praised the short story collection, I must also share my antipathy towards the titled novella The Martini Shot.

If I were to break it down, the stories would receive a solid 4 star rating, but I would hate to give this anything remotely so high to deceive the reader. Jan 22, Larry H rated it liked it. I'd rate this 3. George Pelecanos has been one of my favorite crime writers for a number of years now. I've read everything he's written, and I'm always blown away by the crackling action scenes, his exploration of racial tensions, and his opening up a new perspective on the Washington, DC of the s and s. I also love the complexity of his characters—much like real life, no one is completely good or bad, which makes them tremendously compelling.

The seven stories in Pelecanos' first I'd rate this 3. The seven stories in Pelecanos' first collection, The Martini Shot boast many of the same characteristics which make his novels so appealing. For the most part, these aren't the happiest of stories, as each of the main characters is struggling with something—addiction, greed, violence, guilt—or often more than one of these.

And although you can often figure out the path these stories will take, Pelecanos' writing ability raises them up a notch or two. Some of my favorites included "Miss Mary's Room," where a young man remembers the carefree days of his youth and a close friendship before crime changed everything; "When You're Hungry," about an insurance investigator who travels to Brazil to find an allegedly dead man, but finds his perfect case closure record may be in jeopardy among other things ; "Plastic Paddy," which illustrates how letting your friends see you vulnerable is never good for your friendship; and "Chosen," which provides some back story on Spero Lucas, a character from a few of Pelecanos' most recent novels.

This story reminded me how I'm more than ready for another Spero Lucas novel—hope that's next from Pelecanos! The collection also contains a novella, "The Martini Shot," which goes behind the scenes of a television crime show and follows one of the show's writers probably loosely based on Pelecanos' own involvement with The Wire. But this is just more than a you-are-there type of story, as the writer finds himself caught between the woman he loves and the trouble a friend finds himself in.

Even though the story was tied up at the end, I found this really interesting, and would have loved to keep reading this. There wasn't anything I didn't like about the collection; I just wasn't blown away by every story. I felt as if a few duplicated themselves a bit, and some didn't grab me as much the other stories, or other Pelecanos novels, have in the past. His excellent storytelling ability is on display, but some of the stories needed a little more time to develop.

If you've never read anything by George Pelecanos, you need to remedy that. While this collection isn't his best work, it's still a great example of why he's one of my favorite writers—and why I can't wait for his next book to come out, even if it's a year or so away. Dec 11, Melissa rated it liked it.

He wrote the episode where Wallace dies! Apparently he's written all the penultimate episodes, which as anyone who's watched The Wire can tell you is when all the really awful shit goes down. Which has nothing to do with this book, but here we are. Not many writers can make ten pages meaty enough or give their characters enough weight in such a short time that I'll feel strongly about what happens to them, and I don't know that Pelecanos succeeds that well at it, but this is neither better nor worse than I expected it to be.

I don't think that short story is his best format, but he's a great writer otherwise and that's okay. View all 3 comments. Jan 16, Melodie rated it it was ok Shelves: read Have I said before that I love Pelecanos?? I might have.


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That aside, this book was somewhat disappointing. Most of the short stories were pretty good, with a couple being well above average. Pelecanos should not write sex scenes.

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He's not good at it. His sex scenes actually make me laugh. He writes noir mysteries like nobody's business. Jan 11, Lee Thompson rated it liked it. I really like the economy of Pelecanos's prose. Dug most of the short stories but the novella didn't do anything for me.