cover image The Man Who Came Uptown

The Man Who Came Uptown

George Pelecanos. Mulholland, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-0-316-47982-0

Michael Hudson, the hero of this unforgettable novel of crime, redemption, and the transformative power of the written word from Edgar-finalist Pelecanos (The Double), awaits trial in a Washington, D.C., jail for armed robbery. Like many of his fellow inmates, Hudson has taken to reading as a way to pass the time. He looks forward to the books carefully chosen for him by jail librarian Anna Byrne, who leads regular book discussion groups. As Hudson devours novels, he begins to catch a glimpse of a larger world outside, one that he didn’t realize was available to him. Meanwhile, Phil Orzanian, an investigator for Hudson’s defense attorney, dissuades a witness from testifying, and Hudson is suddenly out free. Orzanian turns out to run a side business robbing drug dealers and other criminals of their ill-gotten gains, and he reminds Hudson of the debt the former inmate owes him. As the fates of Hudson, Orzanian, and Byrne collide, Pelecanos shows that doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest option. Inspired by the author’s own experience with prison literacy programs, this is the work of a master storyteller at the top of his game. Agent: Sloan Harris, ICM Partners. (Sept.)