Down By The River Where The Dead Men Go

by George P. Pelecanos

Reviewed by Steve Rudd


As the novel title must suggest, this is a Crime-Thriller… and one of the highest order.
I first heard of the author in Pelecanos through him heaping praise on the Action-Thriller writing of Steve Hamilton. Like with Hamilton’s work, Pelecanos weaves an engrossing story around a series of hugely believable and genuinely exciting set-pieces. Interestingly, many authors who write Crime-based stories seem to stick with one main character through all of their work. Steve Hamilton narrates his stories through an ex-P.I. called Alex McKnightMeg Gardiner sets her stories in California with Evan Delaney, while Joe R. Lansdale sets his stories in deep dark Texas with buddy boys Hap and Leonard seeing the action at first hand.
Down By The River Where The Dead Men Go is actually the third story in a series that Pelecanos has decided to set in the capital of the US, Washington DC. At the centre of affairs is Private Investigator Nick Stefanos who witnesses a murder in a secluded area of the city. Thus, he naturally sets out to investigate. In due course, he learns that the victim was a young man, possibly tied up in a bit of pornography and drug-dealing.

Far from being a run-of-the-mill whodunnit, this genuinely engrossing novel is so addictive that you will probably be highly tempted to read it all in one manic sitting.

When the action comes it is vividly realised, but the interludes of drama are just as important and they really show off the author’s talents when it comes to catapulting some fascinating characters into some godforsaken scenarios.


ISBN 1-85242-529-6 (Serpent’s Tail)

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