Джордж Пелеканос: The Sweet Forever

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Джордж Пелеканос The Sweet Forever
  • Название:
    The Sweet Forever
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Little, Brown and Company
  • Жанр:
    Криминальный детектив / на английском языке
  • Год:
    1998
  • Город:
    New York
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-0-316-69109-3
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    3 / 5
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The Sweet Forever: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Before you can thrive you have to survive. When cocaine hit Washington, D.C., in the mid-1980s, the city became nearly unlivable. Gun-carrying kids turned entire neighborhoods into war zones. Zombies walked the sidewalks on week-long binges. Many police officers and public officials, flush with drug money, looked away. Set amidst this chaos and danger, The Sweet Forever captures an unforgettable fight for survival as two men confront the most soul-chilling violence ever to visit the city. Marcus Clay is proud of his small chain of record stores, and proudest of his new store, right in the old neighborhood — now the epicenter of the drug trade. But a black man can’t get a break, even on his home turf, when the whole town is going crazy. Even his best friend, Dimitri Karras, who manages the store, is coming to work with his jaw wired tight from his newly acquired cocaine habit. A bad situation turns lethal when a car crashes in front of the store and Marcus sees someone grab a bag out of the backseat and run. The local drug lord wants what’s in that bag — and will do whatever it takes to prove that he is the law in this neighborhood. Nobody, certainly not a small-time businessman, is going to stand in his way. In searing confrontations, Marcus and Dimitri must defy the darkness close to home — fighting for their lives, their livelihoods, for the very soul of the city. Opening up the shadowy territory where private sin connects with larger, deadlier evils, George Pelecanos weaves familiar details from the recent past into a thriller of compelling menace and power. With characters as real as your own flesh and a relentless, dazzlingly original story, The Sweet Forever is a classic thriller from one of the most inspired writers at work today.

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“I know you are, son.”

“Who are you?”

“Anybody but the Cowboys.”

“Tackle me, Daddy.”

“Okay.”

Marcus Jr. took off toward his father, and Clay caught hold of his arm. But he didn’t tackle him; he hugged him tightly and kissed him roughly on the cheek. He smelled his son’s hair.

Clay remembered, just then, the words that Kevin Murphy had spoken: No matter what goes down in this life, there’s always hope.

“Daddy, you sad? Why you cryin’?”

“I’m not cryin’,” said Clay. “I’m happy, that’s all.”

Thursday

June 19, 1986

Thirty-Two

The sun woke Dimitri Karras early Thursday morning. Raising himself up on one arm, he read the face of the watch strapped to his wrist: ten A.M.

Karras licked his dry lips. He’d been dreaming of cool water in a tall glass, out of reach.

He withdrew a tissue from the box on the nightstand and blew blood from his nose. He dropped the tissue on the floor and sat up on the edge of the bed.

Karras rose and took a long shower, hot water first and then cold. His stomach flipped, and he leaned his weight against the tiles.

“Stupid,” he said.

He dressed and walked out to the kitchen. The message light on his answering machine was blinking; it was Marcus, most likely, calling to find out why he was late. He decided not to listen to the message. He’d think of something or other to tell Marcus by the time he got down to U.

Karras tried to drink a cup of coffee but couldn’t get it down. He poured the coffee out in the sink and rubbed his face.

God, he felt like shit.

It was going to be a long workday on three hours’ sleep. He could use a little bump to get through it. Just a little, to straighten out his head.

Karras took Connecticut Avenue uptown, the air conditioner’s blower the only sound in the car. He turned right on Albemarle Street and parked near the entrance to the Soapstone Trail. He got out of the BMW and walked west toward the apartment building where his dealer, Billy Smith, had his place.

While waiting for the light at the corner, Karras looked across Connecticut to the Nutty Nathan’s store. Nick Stefanos stood on the sidewalk out front, his hand resting on the shoulder of some bandanna-wearing black kid, both of them watching the bank of televisions in the display window of the shop. Karras hadn’t seen Stefanos since March, or thanked him for the work he’d done.

Karras crossed the avenue, approaching Stefanos and the kid from behind. As he neared them, Karras saw the televisions in the window were all tuned to the same image: Len Bias, wearing that jazzy ice green suit of his, standing out of his chair at the calling of his name.

All right, it was news. But why were they running the draft highlights again, two days after the fact?

“Nick?” said Karras.

Stefanos and the boy turned their heads. The black kid was crying freely, tears running down his cheeks.

“Dimitri,” said Stefanos, his eyes hollow and red.

Karras felt hot and suddenly nauseous in the sun. He backed away to a government oak, leafy and full, planted by the curb. Karras stepped into its cool shade.

He closed his eyes and drew a deep breath. It was better there, standing in the darkness pooled beneath the tree.

Acknowledgments

The author would like to acknowledge Dream City, Harry S. Jaffe and Tom Sherwood’s extraordinary account of the rise and fall of Home Rule in Washington, D.C., as a major source of factual material in the writing of this novel.

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