cover image What It Was

What It Was

George Pelecanos. Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur, $9.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-316-20954-0

At the start of this action-driven novel, a special treat for longtime Pelecanos fans, two old friends, Derek Strange and Nick Stefanos, enjoy a few drinks in a Washington, D.C., bar, where Strange relates a story that has become the stuff of myth on the streets. Flashback to 1972, one of the most volatile and exciting years in the country's history. Strange, who left the D.C. police force after the %E2%80%9868 riots, has set up shop as a private investigator. A young woman hires Strange to find a stolen ring, and the case soon leads him to a homicide scene, where he meets up with his former partner, Frank "Hound Dog" Vaughn. Vaughn is on the trail of a killer, Robert Lee Jones, whose street name, Red Fury, fits not just his temperament but his formidable girlfriend's sleek red-over-white Plymouth Fury GT Sport. As Vaughn and Strange work their respective cases, a series of increasingly brazen and violent crimes keep bringing them together. They quickly realize that the only way to take down Red Fury is to do it their own way. Inspired by a real chapter in D.C. history, Pelecanos (The Cut) gives us the rich period detail%E2%80%94the cars, clothes, music, and attitude%E2%80%94of the 1970s. Agent: Sloan Harris, ICM. (Jan.)