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Derek Strange Books In Order

Publication Order of Derek Strange Books

Right As Rain (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hell To Pay (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Soul Circus (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hard Revolution (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The American writer George P. Pelecanos is an author with a long and illustrious writing career behind him, having written a number of detective fiction and crime novels, many of which are multi-layered in their style and their approach, as he clearly is a master of both his craft and the genre as a whole. Setting up his characters and his premises well, he is known for looking at the bigger picture, something which was reflected through his time working on the acclaimed television series ‘The Wire’, as he creates world that are grimly realistic, as they don’t shy away from reality.

The characters he portrays as well are also known for the way they relate and resonate with the readers, as he builds fully three dimensional personalities to inhabit his dark and highly dangerous worlds. One such character is that of the Derek Strange series, a franchise which revolves around his highly popular leading protagonist of the same name. Going under the full title of the Derek Strange and Terry Quinn series, it has run for over five books so far and counting, with a whole range of different investigations there. Set around the on-goings of two private investigators, it follows the both of them and their time as ex-cops turned private, with their personalities complimenting one another.

Known for his tightly knit and extremely evocative style, this particular series is no exception to the special brand of George Pelecanos high-caliber crime fiction. As a consummate professional, he really knows how to provide the best of the genre, this time looking at the case files of the successful black Derek Strange, along with the less than successful white Terry Quinn who’s barely hanging on. It’s these differences that Pelecanos plays off for powerful effect, creating a tension that manages to take the reader to boiling point, something that will continue for some time yet.

Right as Rain

Initially published through the Orion publishing label, this was first brought out in 2001, to an already eager audience of fans of the highly influential author. Setting up the premise for the black and the white cop, it may seem a bit worn on its premise to begin with, but the direction that Pelecanos takes it in will surprise many. Knowing his subject matter and genre well, he really leads the reader with masterful strokes, constantly keeping them guessing right until the very end.

Dealing with race relations within America and the police force in a very real and very grounded way, this book lays out many of the larger ideas from George Pelecanos as a writer of scope. Taking on some of the big issues he’s never one to shy away from certain aspects of this particular area of life and all that it unfortunately may entail. With institutional racism being one of the major pressure points, this was a book that was written all the way back in 2001, yet shows an enormous amount of insight into the current state of America today. Set in Washington DC, he’s also able to create a highly evocative and extremely detailed portrait of the city and one that never strays too far from the truth either. Knowing the area well, Pelecanos paints a very vivid picture of the city, showing everything going on there, including some of the stuff that other writers may traditionally turn away from. Immersing the reader in this world, it’s very easy for his readers to simply fall into his rich and textured descriptions of the city contained within the pages. The characters themselves are also highly developed too, as they resonate with the audience in a very realistic sense, building very detailed portraits of them as people.

A black policeman has been killed and, not only that, they’ve been murdered, sparking off accusations of racism, something that is extremely prescient considering the culprit is apparently a white cop. This leads both Derek Strange, the well-to-do successful sixty-something ex-cop turned private investigator, and Terry Quinn, the somewhat disgraced white ex-cop, as they seek to find out the truth. Their journey takes through the heart of institutionalized racism, a racism that digs right to the core of America’s apparently greatest establishments. Where does the truth lie? Can they get to the bottom of it all? Will they be right as rain?

Hell to Pay

First brought out through the Phoenix publishing label this time, this was originally released in 2002, as it aims to carry on directly from the first novel. With the characters already firmly established many returning readers will already know what to fully expect from the novel, but that’s not to say that they won’t be surprised along the way. Taking it in new directions it works to further develop the relationship between the two, as it continues to elaborate on some of the themes and ideas that came before.

Dealing with the hardened streets once again, the private investigators Derek Strange and Terry Quinn step out into the thick of it in the hopes of ensuring justice is served. The somewhat grizzled personality of Derek Strange plays off against the more erratic character of Terry Quinn; a trope that is given a fresh force of life here. Dealing with the racism and corruption that lies at the hearts of some of America’s largest and oldest institutions, they look towards doing the right thing in the only way they know how. Can they ensure justice is served? Where will their investigations lead them? Will there be hell to pay?

The Derek Strange and Terry Quinn Series

Following the case files of these two private investigators, this franchise is enormously successful in what it sets out to do, which is to engage the reader, whilst also drawing their attention to some wider points. Knowing exactly what beats to hit and what buttons to push, Pelecanos really is at the top of his game here, as he manages to take the reader on a journey alongside the characters. Visual and immersive too, this will be one of his most enduring series to date, leaving a legacy that will continue to be the envy of many an aspiring writer, something that will carry on into the foreseeable future.

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