Cover image for The martini shot : a novella and stories
Title:
The martini shot : a novella and stories
Author:
Pelecanos, George P.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Works. Selections
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2015.
Physical Description:
295 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
"Whether they're cops or conmen, savage killers or creative types, gangsters or God-fearing citizens, George Pelecanos' characters are always engaged in a fight for their lives. They fight to advance or simply to survive; they fight against odds, against enemies, even against themselves. In this, his first collection of stories, the acclaimed novelist introduces readers to a vivid and eclectic cast of combatants."--Provided by publisher.
Language:
English
Contents:
Confidential informant -- Chosen -- String music -- When you're hungry -- Miss Mary's room -- Plastic Paddy -- Dead their eyes implore us -- Martini shot.
ISBN:
9780316284370
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Short stories and a novella from one of crime fiction's most revered writers.

Whether they're cops or conmen, savage killers or creative types, gangsters or God-fearing citizens, George Pelecanos' characters are always engaged in a fight for their lives. They fight to advance or simply to survive; they fight against odds, against enemies, even against themselves. In this, his first collection of stories, the acclaimed novelist introduces readers to a vivid and eclectic cast of combatants.

A seasoned claims investigator tracks a supposedly dead man from Miami to Brazil, only to be thrown off his game by a kid from the local slum. An aging loser takes a last stab at respectability by becoming a police informant. A Greek-American couple adopts an interracial trio of sons and then struggles to keep their family together, giving us a stirring bit of background on one of Pelecanos' most beloved protagonists, Spero Lucas. In the title novella - which takes its name from Hollywood slang for the last shot of the day, the one that comes before the liquor shots begin - we go behind the scenes of a television cop show, where a writer gets caught up in a drama more real than anything he could have conjured for a script.

By turns heartbreaking and humane, brutal and funny, these finely constructed tales expose the violence and striving beneath the surface of any city and within any human heart. Tough, sexy, fast-paced, and crackling with energy, The Martini Shot is Pelecanos at his very best.


Author Notes

George P. Pelecanos was born in Washington, D.C. on February 18, 1957. Before becoming an author, he worked as a line cook, dishwasher, bartender, and woman's shoe salesman. His first novel, A Firing Offense, was published in 1992. His other books include Nick's Trip, Shoedog, King Suckerman, Right as Rain, Hard Revolution, Drama City, The Night Gardener, and What It Was. He has received numerous awards including the Raymond Chandler award in Italy, the Falcon award in Japan, and the Grand Prix Du Roman Noir in France. Hell to Pay and Soul Circus were awarded the 2003 and 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes.

He has served as producer on the feature films Caught (1996), Whatever (1998) and BlackMale (1999). He was a producer, writer, and story editor for the HBO series, The Wire, which won the Peabody Award and the AFI Award. He was also a writer and co-producer on the HBO World War II miniseries The Pacific and an executive producer and writer on the HBO series Treme.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Pelecanos' experience as a TV writer and producer (The Wire, Treme) is put to good use in this collection's title novella, which takes place on the set of a cop show. The narrator, writer and producer Vic Ohanion, is drawn into the investigation of a murder when his friend, crew member Skylar, is killed, apparently the result of his side business, dealing marijuana to the rest of the crew. Pelecanos embeds plenty of insider film talk (turnarounds, money shots, B-lines, etc.) in the story, but the jargon actually helps build the ambience of life on a film set a circus world of skilled itinerant workers who do what they do until the tents are folded, and they move down the road. The murder of one of them shakes the low-key camaraderie of the crew, prompting Vic to see if writing about cops translates to acting like one in the real world. It's a fine story and, not incidentally, would make a terrific movie about the movies. The rest of the collection, comprising stories originally published in various crime anthologies, all display Pelecanos' rare gift for street-smart dialogue. Longtime fans will be pleased to find appearances by several characters, Spero Lucas, in particular, familiar from Pelecanos' novels. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Pelecanos' first story collection may not draw quite the sales of his novels, but dedicated fans won't want to miss anything with his name on it.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Edgar-finalist Pelecanos (Drama City) showcases his formidable skills in his first story collection. Among the standouts is the unforgettable "The Confidential Informant," in which a Washington, D.C., man who lives in the shadow of his aging Vietnam vet father attempts to prove himself to the old man by helping the police "solve a homicide." Fans of Pelecanos's Spero Lucas series will welcome the emotionally charged "Chosen," which fills in the back story of Lucas's mixed-race family. In "The Dead Their Eyes Implore Us," a raucous Depression-era story, a Greek immigrant gets mixed up with a corrupt Pinkerton agent. In the title novella, the life of Victor Ohanion-who, like Pelecanos, is a writer and producer for a cable TV crime show-begins to resemble his scripts after a set worker is murdered; Ohanion decides to settle the score. While these eight tales are not as deep as the author's novels, the collection is still a winner. Agent: Sloan Harris, ICM. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

The first story collection from the prolific Pelecanos (The Double) collects several previously published pieces and two new ones, including the title novella. Mining the author's own experience as a writer and producer on HBO's The Wire, "The Martini Shot" nearly collapses under the heavy industry jargon but emerges as a clever tale about television dramas and the nomadic people who create them. "Chosen," which first appeared as an ebook add-on to the first "Spero Lucas" novel (The Cut), touchingly fills in the blanks of the elusive private investigator's past as one of three adopted children of a Greek American couple. Most of the stories here appeared in various noir anthologies over the last two decades, when Pelecanos emerged as one of the country's most distinctive and reliable crime writers, and they showcase an author whose gritty prose style and sympathetic characterization have remained remarkably consistent in that time. VERDICT The best pieces in this collection do linger in memory ("Miss Mary's Room"), but many readers will view this title as a stopgap until the author's next full-length novel. A welcome but inessential addition to any public library's collection. [See Prepub Alert, 7/7/14.]-Michael Pucci, South Orange P.L., NJ (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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