cover image The Martini Shot: A Novella and Stories

The Martini Shot: A Novella and Stories

George Pelecanos, read by Dion Graham. Hachette Audio, , unabridged, 6 CDs, 7.5 hrs., $30 ISBN 978-1-4789-8316-3

For this collection of seven short stories and one novella, reader Graham exhibits a chameleon-like dexterity in performing Pelecanos’s full-bodied characters, men approaching a turning point in their lives. “String Music” has Graham portraying a slang-slinging teenage narrator, a basketballer who experiences the dark side of sports. In two of the stories, Graham employs various degrees of a Greek accent: “Chosen” introduces us to the adoptive parents of Pelecanos’s series hero, Spero Lucas, and “The Dead Their Eyes Implore Us,” set in 1933 and narrated by a Greek immigrant, is a bloody tale of vengeance. Pelecanos leaves the D.C. setting used in much for his work for “When You’re Hungry,” a grim tale about an insurance investigator whose search for a scam artist takes him to Brazil, giving Graham a chance to show off his Portuguese accent. No accent is needed for “The Martini Shot,” but there’s a touch of forced jauntiness as Victor, a television writer on location near New Orleans, narrates a moody tale of passionate romance and his investigation of a crew-member’s murder. A Little, Brown hardcover. (Jan.)