Book Review: “The Turnaround” by George Pelacanos

This review can also be found at my Goodreads page.
I recently finished George Pelacanos' book "The Turnaround".  It's the second book of his that I've read and I've got to tell ya, I don't think I'm going back for more.
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.  Naturally, the reader is asked to confront their own inherent race-prejudices, but perhaps more importantly, it asks you to examine the effects that mistakes made young can have on your life – and whether can you ever fully escape them.  And it's not the plot that lets "The Turnaround" down, it's the execution.
The Turnaround
George Pelecanos

Pelacanos writes "urban" crime-dramas (what I found out is called urban noir), 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 kicked off 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 latest-design 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 twist" coming from about page 45.)
Execution? Clunky.
Stars: 2 of 5
Recommend?  Not really.  Unless you're really into the genre.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: “The Turnaround” by George Pelacanos

  1. oooh the brand name references always get me. I wonder if they are paid for putting them in there. I mean, it adds nothing to the plot when I find out someone is talking on a Nokia phone…or just a phone.

  2. You have to wonder about if a book is any good or not when the title of it appears in extremely smaller type than the authors name. I am just saying…

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