Right As Rain ~ George Pelecanos

Right as Rain (2001) is the first novel in the Derek Strange/Terry Quinn series by George Pelecanos. Pelecanos, along with Ed Burns and Richard Price and Dennis Lehane and others, were some of the talented writers involved with HBO’s 5-season, 60-episode run of The Wire. Pelecanos wrote seven of the episodes for the crime series that was set in Baltimore, which is one of the reasons that I downloaded this (it was one of the Amazon Daily Deals for $.99), so there was not much to lose.  Right as Rain is set in and around the Baltimore area and doesn’t show as much polish as his writing in The Wire.

There’s a message there of decrying the ingrained racial intolerance of American society that, though coming from the right place, is just a bit indelicate and heavy-handed. The story though was diverting enough, occupied as it was with drug dealing and addiction. A private investigator (Derek Strange, ex-cop, black) teams up with another ex-cop (Terry Quinn, white) as the series kicks off. I doubt I’ll read any further of these, which is not to say those who like PI stories of the ‘series’ type might  find these pleasurable.

Strange is hired by the mother of a murdered black police officer to find out what ‘really’ happened to Chris Wilson. We know that Terry Quinn shot and killed Wilson in what was ruled an accident. But there are accidents and there are accidents. Eventually Strange enlists Quinn to help his investigation and the start of a Black-White investigative team is born.  There are some interesting characters and some nice twists and turns along the way. Solid if unspectacular detective fiction.


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