Monday, August 30, 2010

The Big Blowdown by George P. Pelecanos (St Martin's Press 1996)

"How much do you want us to collect?" said Recevo
"Forty ought to do it for now. We had a little communication problem in the past. Maybe he was kidding me, but I couldn't understand much of what the old guy said. Typical, with these immigrants - they don't even bother to learn the language."
That's because they've been too busy workin', tryin' to feed their families. Workin' like dogs, as if a dog could ever work that hard. Not that any of you snow-white bastards would understand the meaning of the word-
" . . . That's why I thought it might be a good idea for Karras here to go along. That sound good to you, Karras?"
Karras smiled and nodded. He thought he'd mix things up this time.
"Yeah," said Reed. "Karras and this Georgakos bird, they speak the same language. The two of them can sit around together all night and grunt."
Gearhart snorted, issued a gassy grin. Karra heard Reed strike a match to the Fatima behind his back. The smoke from it crawled across the room.
"Forty dollars," said Recevo, trying to cut the chill. "That should be a walk in the park, right, Pete?"
"Not a problem," said Karras.
"Hey, Karras," said Reed. "Be a good little coloured girl and fetch me that ashtray offa Mr. Burke's desk."
"I'll get it," said Recevo, but Karras held him back with his arm.
"I asked Karras to get it for me," said Reed.
Karras pointed his chin in the direction of Gearhart. "Ask Laird Cregar over there to get it for you, Reed. He's a little closer."
Gearhart's grin turned down. He didn't make a move for the ashtray, and neither did Reed.
Recevo drummed his fingers on the arm of his chair. He shifted in his seat. "Mr. Burke, what should we do if this Georgakos gives us an argument?"
"He won't give you an argument," said Burke, keeping his eyes locked on Karras. "He wouldn't give an argument to a couple of boys who've seen the action you've seen. Would he?"
Burke himself had seen no "action", as he was on the brown side of thirty. But he had a brother who had fought in the European theatre, and being a veteran meant something to Burke. There were points to be had there, Karras figured, and some degree of slack.
"We'll take care of it", said Recevo, and he and Karras rose from their seats.
"Hey," said Reed. "I've got an idea. Maybe you ought to wear your uniforms over to the Greek's place. Wear your medals, too. Maybe that would help.
"Maybe you'd like to go with them," said Burke, with a touch of acid in his voice.
"Reed might have a little problem there," said Karras. He'd need a uniform, too. And the last time I checked, they weren't handin' out uniforms to Section Eights."
Reed stood from his chair, blood coloring his face.
"Hold it," said Burke. "You two can play if you want, but not in here."
"Guy kills a few Japs," muttered Reed, "thinks his asshole squirts perfume."
Burke raised his voice. "Shut your mouth, Reed, and sit down. You can thank me later."


J.J said...

Best book ever!

Darren said...

And I'd never heard of it until I'd stumbled across Reidski's blog!

I read it in a day because I couldn't put it down. I needed to know what happened next.

It couldn't be filmed, though. The bastards would want to change the ending.

bob said...

I think this is probably my favourite Pelecanos novel.

Darren said...

I love The Big Blowdown but King Suckerman edges it for me.

I just wish I'd read them in sequence,

bob said...

OK, maybe King Suckerman was better! I am obsessive about reading serieses (is that the right plural?) in order, and I love Pelecanos for writing in serieses.

Darren said...


my brother in the law is the same.

Absolutely refuses to read a series of books in the wrong order.

bob said...

And quite right he is too!

Then my other problem is when I leave a big gap before continuing with the series. For example, to read the latest Ellroy, am I going to have to go back and re-read the previous two books in the trilogy as it's so long since I read them?