The Turnaround Prime – Stg2bio.co

On a hot summer afternoon in , three teenagers drove into an unfamiliar neighborhood and six lives were altered foreverThirty five years later, one survivor of that day reaches out to another, opening a door that could lead to salvation But another survivor is now out of prison, looking for reparation in any form he can find itThe Turnaround takes us on a journey from the rock and soul streets of the s to the changing neighborhoods of DC today, from the diners and auto garages of the city to the inside of Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, where wounded men and women have returned to the world in a time of war A novel of fathers and sons, wives and husbands, loss, victory and violent redemption, The Turnaround is another compelling, highly charged novel from George Pelecanos, the best crime novelist in America


10 thoughts on “The Turnaround

  1. Dan Schwent Dan Schwent says:

    Way back in 1972, three white boys drove into the black part of town with an eye toward starting some trouble One boy wound up dead and the lives of three boys were changed forever Now it s forty years later and Charles Baker thinks someone owes him for the year he did in prisonOnce again, George Pelecanos serves up a tale of redemption and forgetting the past, set against his usual Washington DC backdrop Of all the George Pelecanos books I ve read, this one is the least like a crime novel Way back in 1972, three white boys drove into the black part of town with an eye toward starting some trouble One boy wound up dead and the lives of three boys were changed forever Now it s forty years later and Charles Baker thinks someone owes him for the year he did in prisonOnce again, George Pelecanos serves up a tale of redemption and forgetting the past, set against his usual Washington DC backdrop Of all the George Pelecanos books I ve read, this one is the least like a crime novel, although it does have some crime elements, most of which have to do with Charles Baker.Alex Pappas, diner owner, has a chance encounter with Raymond Monroe, one of the black boys involved in the incident in his past that left him scarred both emotionally and physically Raymond s brother James is the one charged with the shooting of Pappas best friend back in the 70 s Meanwhile, Charles Baker, friend of the Monroe boys, is a waste of skin who s living with the mother of an aspiring drug dealer and begins planning to take over the youth s drug business.Like a lot of Pelecanos novels, one of the themes in The Turnaround is that it s possible to rise above rough beginnings or let them drag you down It s also about talking about cars, basketball, music, and the restaurant business.There s not a lot I have to say about this novel It s a character driven book, eventhan most of Pelecanos books, and there s not a whole lot that actually happens aside from Charles Baker trying to shake people down and getting out of his depth That being said, I couldn t wait for someone to take Baker out.I wasn t too excited about this one after reading the dust jacket and mostly read it to get it out of the way It sliterary than most of Pelecanos books and pretty well written Three stars


  2. Richard Richard says:

    Filled with themes of forgiveness, responsibility, and redemption, while still being just a simple, handsomely told story about everyday working men, this book is pure Pelecanos All the elements of his work are here, from the spare writing, to the constant theme of what it means and what it takes to be a man One of his best traits that sets him apart from so many other writers is the sense you get when reading that he genuinely loves and cares about his characters This is a great book to read Filled with themes of forgiveness, responsibility, and redemption, while still being just a simple, handsomely told story about everyday working men, this book is pure Pelecanos All the elements of his work are here, from the spare writing, to the constant theme of what it means and what it takes to be a man One of his best traits that sets him apart from so many other writers is the sense you get when reading that he genuinely loves and cares about his characters This is a great book to read as a primer to Pelecanos s work Then read them all


  3. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    I recently read The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, and that had cultural cringe stamped all the way through it like a seaside resort s name in a stick of rock no, not crack cocaine, a kind of candy Upper class Americans in the late 19th century were completely in awe of Europe its aristocracy, its culture, its old money In the passing of a few decades, this cultural cringe had changed hands A whole new sexy thing had been invented in America and entire industries were all revved u I recently read The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, and that had cultural cringe stamped all the way through it like a seaside resort s name in a stick of rock no, not crack cocaine, a kind of candy Upper class Americans in the late 19th century were completely in awe of Europe its aristocracy, its culture, its old money In the passing of a few decades, this cultural cringe had changed hands A whole new sexy thing had been invented in America and entire industries were all revved up to tell us about it principally Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley This led to kids growing up in Britain in the 50s thinking that British people never wrote songs and only made rubbish films, and were never, ever cool And seeping out from the slimy depths of 1920s 30s hardboiled pulp fiction came a kind of poetry which celebrated this new thing, this new cool It was all made out of surfaces and brand names, it was technical language applied to the everyday, it was a whole new way of talking, full of assumptions, and if you were young and British it was like overhearing a conversation in Serbo Croat, but it was also a dog whistle When you heard it your nose got pressed up against whichever window it was coming out of As for instance early Beach Boys and Jan and Dean lyrics Chrome reversed rims with whitewall slicksAnd it turns a quarter mile in one oh sixDoor handles are off but you know I ll never miss emThey open when I want with the solenoid systemor She s ported and relieved and she s stroked and bored.She ll do a hundred and forty in the top end floored She s got a competition clutch with the four on the floorAnd she purrs like a kitten till the Lake Pipes roarAnd if that ain t enough to make you flip your lidThere s onething, I got the pink slip, Daddyor You ll probably wipeout when you first try to shoot the curveTakin gas in a bush takes a lotta nerveThose hopscotch poledads and pedestrians, too, will bug yaShout Cuyabunga now and skate right on throughI mean, what does this all mean Is it still English American authors do this a lot Don DeLillo is a prime conjurer of technobrandnameism, great long paragraphs of White Noise for instance are pure abstractions to British readers because we only catch about one reference in twenty And so with George Pelecanos Cody, with his black on black DC dog tag hat, plain black T, Nautica jeans, and blck Air Force highs, looked like any rough edged city kidMarkos rose and went to the open kitchen, equipped with a Wolf cooktop and wall oven, an ASKO dishwasher and a Sub Zero side by side.BSR turntable, belt drive Got the Shure magnetic cartridge on the tone arm Marantz receiver, two hundred watts, driving these bad boys right here, the Bose Five Oh Ones.America this kind of America is always cool It never goes out of date, it s a style, a verbal legerdemain, all flash but real too, right from the 1920s up to three minutes ago George Pelecanos does it well And as for this particular novel, it s a slow burner, takes a whole hundred pages to get all the threads started up and get interesting And in the end it turns out that this no nonsense tough talking book has a big ole liberal heart that dances on the very edge of schmaltziness But that s okay Talk tough to me some , George More guns,cars,stereos and kitchen appliances You know I love it


  4. Aditya Aditya says:

    The title The Turnaround surely does not refer to Pelecanos fortunes He has tried to write a literary novel and exposed his limited skill set As the plot hardly moves, his prose comes under greater scrutiny and does not hold up It is too dry to evoke feelings, it is bare bones and journalistic I have read a lot of Pelecanos and compared to dime a dozen thriller writers, he is fine But for the past few books, he has been trying to getandliterary and frankly embarrassing himself The title The Turnaround surely does not refer to Pelecanos fortunes He has tried to write a literary novel and exposed his limited skill set As the plot hardly moves, his prose comes under greater scrutiny and does not hold up It is too dry to evoke feelings, it is bare bones and journalistic I have read a lot of Pelecanos and compared to dime a dozen thriller writers, he is fine But for the past few books, he has been trying to getandliterary and frankly embarrassing himself.El Leonard had a golden rule when it came to crime writing, drop the part readers tend to skip Not universally applicable but a solid tenet Pelecanos must be at the other extreme of the scale, write pages of stuff no one cares about His characters sit and have a drink, cue pages of description on the music playing on radio His character sees a car, cue encyclopedia of vintage cars This never adds to character building and is a farfetched way to be atmospheric The dialogue which is the saving grace for a lot of hard boiled crime writers has never been his strong suit and is equally underwhelming here.I have read 15 novels and 100 characters from Pelecanos and all of them are the variations of the only two he knows how to write The hero a working class manly man who given a choice between sodomizing himself with his own severed dick and wearing a pink shirt will always chose the first Did I tell you he is manly If I did not Pelecanos will about a hundred times And the villain a gangster with kinky sex habits who overestimates his own worth His characterization is actually the best part of his writing but if I wrote about the same two characters for twenty years, I too would do an ok job.There is a third type in his books the random female with big tits and great ass, is there a single woman in DC who has not walked out of a Playboy Magazine who pops up everytime his salt of the earth working man characters needs to get laid Once again genre fans will point out, a lot of crime authors can be derided on similar grounds But remember I am being so harsh because Pelecanos is essentially writing a character driven narrative with shallow characters.The plot deals with a bunch of white kids going into the wrong part of the town and playing what they perceive as a harmless prank They do not understand its repercussions or maliciousness and lives on both sides of the race divide are shattered The set up is good but the story that traces the lives of those involved three decades later is utterly predictable and boring The dramatic conflict is further resolved by a pointless deus ex machina event The big twist is evident from the first fifty pages So there is nothing about the plot that merits a recommendation.Pelecanos has always been a pretentious author If his prose was backed up by afocused narrative, this would be a better than average crime book But he insists on getting on a pulpit and preaching about race relations and redemption So as an incidental crime book with literary aspirations, this is crap I might give him one last chance but I am getting tired of his shtick Rating 2 5


  5. Melissa Melissa says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Surprisingly, the most trite of the Pelecanos oeuvre Only one sympathetic death, while normally George is good for at least two, most often three, and even though neither Alex Pappas nor the Monroe brothers know that Charles Baker has been conveniently murdered by some deus ex machina hitmen, they still ride off into the sunset of Monroe s Mechanics Color me not my usual level of impressed.


  6. Michael Michael says:

    Right up front George Pelecanos is one of my favorite authors He writes exactly the kind of crime novels I m interested in reading, ones that venture beyond the crime which in some cases doesn t even occur on the page to its effects on a community He prefers a lean, direct writing style, relies little on contrived plot twists, and allows his characters only the hardest earned of optimism His dialogue is spot on and his characters are complex He rarely utilizes violence for its own sake, c Right up front George Pelecanos is one of my favorite authors He writes exactly the kind of crime novels I m interested in reading, ones that venture beyond the crime which in some cases doesn t even occur on the page to its effects on a community He prefers a lean, direct writing style, relies little on contrived plot twists, and allows his characters only the hardest earned of optimism His dialogue is spot on and his characters are complex He rarely utilizes violence for its own sake, choosing instead to chart the effects that ripple out after an act of violence occurs It s not a big surprise why David Simon tapped Pelecanos to write several episodes of The Wire, since that show took all of the above qualities as its mission statement.So I have pretty high standards for a Pelecanos novel, and each time he has delivered and, for the most part, he delivers in his new novel, The Turnaround, as well But sometimes when you ve read an author a few times, you start to see the machinery behind the story, and all of those elements that made the first few books such eye opening experiences now come off as rote This might explain my disappointment in his otherwise solid new novel, one I d still recommend despite its flaws It contains all the hallmarks that make Pelecanos such a good read, but for the first time, I found myself saying, We ve been down this road before The novel begins in 1972, when three white teens, high on marijuana and youthful arrogance, drive to the other side of town and casually shout out racial epithets to three black teens as they drive by But the road dead ends, and the white kids are forced to turn around and drive back as the black kids stand waiting, poised One kid runs away Another doesn t make it out alive The novel then jumps to present day, as we follow the progress of those teenagers, now in their 50s, as they all come to terms with their roles in The Incident.This is treated with the gravity you d expect from Pelecanos, as he understandsthan most other crime novelists how one 10 minute sequence in 1972 could leave scars that never go away There s also an economy to his prose that is both deliberate and welcome Pelecanos has always flirted with the stripped down aspect of hard boiled fiction, but never before with such confidence.If you had to single out one overarching theme coursing through his works, it s the nature of manhood On whether a character measures up as a man, Pelecanos s definition seems clear a real man gets up, goes to work every day, is there for his children biological or otherwise , remains faithful to his woman, stays loyal to his friends, pays his bills and his debts, and maintains a long mental Rolodex of great soul songs from the 1970s Tough to argue with those criteria, but sometimes Pelecanos relies exclusively on those guidelines when establishing his characters, to the point of repetition.In The Turnaround, one character, having worked hard all day, is said to relax at night with his bought on time television Another character, who works in his father s restaurant, learns that Work was what men did Not gambling or freeloading or screwing off Work The effect is that Pelecanos sometimes telegraphs his characters in a way that s only slightly less clumsy than just saying Character A is good and Character B is bad.Most of these hiccups occur in the early stages of the novel the story settles in once the action moves to present day, and as they say on book jackets everywhere, I wasn t able to put the book down But this still seems like a small step back from his previous novel, The Night Gardener it s minor Pelecanos, a novelist riffing on some familiar themes


  7. Steve Betz Steve Betz says:

    I just finished George Pelacanos book The Turnaround It s the second book of his that I ve read and I ll tell ya, I don t think I m going back for .The story here is actually a compelling one 30 years after a tragic racial incident in Washington DC, some of the principals are drawn back together The book asks you to examine the effects that mistakes made young can have on your life and can you escape them And it s not the plot that lets The Turnaround down, it s the execution.P I just finished George Pelacanos book The Turnaround It s the second book of his that I ve read and I ll tell ya, I don t think I m going back for .The story here is actually a compelling one 30 years after a tragic racial incident in Washington DC, some of the principals are drawn back together The book asks you to examine the effects that mistakes made young can have on your life and can you escape them And it s not the plot that lets The Turnaround down, it s the execution.Pelacanos writes urban crime dramas, but unfortunately his books don t seem to have a lot of street cred with me The characters are just a little too cliche e.g., the black characters are constantly using words like dawg Really Dawg I feel like he s channeling Ice T on Law Order SVU for inspiration And even this might not be so bad except for the heavy use of product placement as a substitute for reality for example let s see if I can channel it Steve removed his New Balance 1123 running shoes and sighed as he stared at the screen of his iMac 8.1 which had an impressive 2.66 GHz processor speed He removed his designer Oliver Peoples glasses and rubbed his eyes He really didn t want to write this book review Decent plot Yes Though i saw the surprise coming from about page 45.Execution Poor.Recommend Not really Unless you re really into the genre


  8. Ed Ed says:

    I ve read with relish the earlier GP titles NICK S TRIP, KING SUCKERMAN, etc THE TURNAROUND is acomplex, mature title GP has dialed back on the violence and focused on families The other trademarks like the musical and pop culture references detailed observations and a strong sense of setting remain intact The social slant still comes through crime doesn t pay, the USA sends its soldiers into meatgrinder wars, etc I haven t read any other of the recent titles to make compa I ve read with relish the earlier GP titles NICK S TRIP, KING SUCKERMAN, etc THE TURNAROUND is acomplex, mature title GP has dialed back on the violence and focused on families The other trademarks like the musical and pop culture references detailed observations and a strong sense of setting remain intact The social slant still comes through crime doesn t pay, the USA sends its soldiers into meatgrinder wars, etc I haven t read any other of the recent titles to make comparisons to THE TURNAROUND


  9. Kemper Kemper says:

    Another great Pelecanos book where instead of standard crime mystery story, you get a character study on loss, regret, and forgiveness.


  10. Seizure Romero Seizure Romero says:

    I don t know that I would ever call Pelecanos a great writer His stories are not epic, he doesn t write particularly quotable dialogue and I won t necessarily remember any particular book years from now except for Down By the River Where the Dead Men Go good book best title ever and King Suckerman just plain badass Pelecanos has, however, definitely earned his place as a damned good writer His plots are tight and bullshit free David Baldacci and a gazillion others could learn f I don t know that I would ever call Pelecanos a great writer His stories are not epic, he doesn t write particularly quotable dialogue and I won t necessarily remember any particular book years from now except for Down By the River Where the Dead Men Go good book best title ever and King Suckerman just plain badass Pelecanos has, however, definitely earned his place as a damned good writer His plots are tight and bullshit free David Baldacci and a gazillion others could learn from him , his characters are real and the man knows how to put his readers at the scene He sees the details, not only in setting but in the ways people interact with each other He pays attention, and he has the rare ability to transmit his observations without the excess that so many other writers use to pad the page What makes him unique in my experience what I look forward to in each of his books is his ability to write a soundtrack for his stories he has what seems to be an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music from the 60s through the early 90s I ve learnedabout old school RB the good stuff, not the modern crap through his stories than I ever did through a radio