SHOEDOG by George Pelecanos / Z-View

Shoedog by George Pelecanos

Trade Paperback : ‎ 240 pages
Publisher: ‎ Back Bay Books

First sentence…

The first thing Constantine noticed, as the car pulled over and slowed to a stop, was the bumblebee emblem on the grill.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Constantine left home at 17 and has been drifting around the world for almost as many years.  While hitchhiking, Constantine is picked up by an older man named Polk.  They make good traveling buddies and plan to head towards Florida, but first Polk asks Constantine to accompany him on a stop.  A man named Grimes owes Polk $20,000 and Polk intends to collect it.

Polk and Constantine meet Grimes in an office in Grimes’ mansion.  Grimes tells Polk that he can pay him after a score he has planned for the coming week.  There’s a spot for Polk if he wants in.  Then they’ll just need to find one more driver.  Polk suggests that they use Constantine, if after hearing the plan they want in.

Grimes brings everyone together. The crew consists of Gorman (something isn’t right about this guy), Grimes (has history with Polk and it may not be good), Valdez (who takes an instant dislike to Constantine), Jackson and Randolph (the one dude who seems most trustworthy).  The plan is to knock over two locations using three man teams.  Constantine is deciding if he wants in when Grimes’ young wife, Delia, brings everyone coffee.  Delia’s eyes meet Constantine and his decision is made. He’s in.  As the days go by leading up to the caper, Constantine and Delia grow closer despite the risk of what Grimes will do if he finds out.  And by closer, I mean “closer’.

After the robbery, Polk plans to collect his money and head south with Constantine.  Delia and Constantine have other ideas. They will use Constantine’s cut to make their escape.  None know that Grimes, Gorman and Valdez have plans of their own.

Pelecanos has another winner with Shoedog, a true crime noir.  It earned 4 of 5 stars.

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