“The thirst for knowledge is like a piece of ass you know you shouldn't chase; in the end, you chase it just the same.”
The best of the Stefanos novels and my second favorite book Pelecanos has written! In somewhat of a parallel to Nick Stefanos's character, the first two books in the series are a little meandering, but this novel is more mature, with a cleaner and clearer plot line, and finally a real sense of true detective work.
Nick is on somewhat of a guilt trip with his latest investigation. He is set on solving the murder of a teenage kid; a murder he witnessed and possibly could have stopped if he wasn't piss drunk and semi-conscious under a bridge in Anacostia after a major bender. But the mystery is secondary to the wonderful character study of Nick himself, now close to rock bottom. The novel is not only a detective story, but also a look at a young man trying to finally confront his alcoholism.
Nick has grown into a great character and almost all of the smaller characters are extremely memorable, including LaDuke and the "man in the brilliant blue coat". And as usual, there is a great sense of place in the way Pelecanos portrays mid-90's Washington D.C. and it's culture. I used to live there for four years in college and I really miss it. Reading these books takes me right back!
This is an awesome story that kept me hooked. Also, for a real conclusion to Nick Stefanos's story, read [b:Shame the Devil|10451508|Shame the Devil|George Pelecanos|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1344266916s/10451508.jpg|1110674], my #1 favorite Pelecanos novel, which unites both the Stefanos series and the DC Quartet series and brings them both to a rich resolution.