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George Pelecanos - Author

About the Author

George P. Pelecanos was born in Washington, DC in 1957. His first novel was published in 1992 and alongside his consequential success as an author, he has also worked as producer, writer and story editor for the acclaimed and award-winning US crime series, The Wire. His writing for the show earned him an Emmy nomination.


He is the author of fifteen crime novels set in and around Washington, DC. The Big Blowdown was the recipient of the International Crime Novel of the Year award in both Germany and Japan; King Suckerman was shortlisted for the Gold Dagger Award in the UK. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire and the collections Unusual Suspects and Best American Mystery Stories of 1997. He is an award-winning journalist and pop-culture essayist who has written for the Washington Post.


Pelecanos can also claim credit for involvement in the production of several feature films. Most recently, as a screenwriter for film, he has written an adaptation of King Suckerman for Dimension Films, and was co-writer on the Paid in Full.


Pelecanos lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife and three children.

Featured books by George Pelecanos

The Martini Shot and Other Stories

The Martini Shot and Other Stories

Author: George Pelecanos Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/01/2015

THE MARTINI SHOT itself is set in the world of TV, featuring a scriptwriter on a popular cop show. When a member of the crew is murdered, the screenwriter decides to track down the perpetrators himself, to see if as a writer he can do more than just talk the talk.

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Other books by George Pelecanos

The Man Who Came Uptown

The Man Who Came Uptown

Author: George Pelecanos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/03/2019

Anna Byrne is a jailhouse librarian. Most days, she loves her job and shares the life-affirming power of books to people who would have no hope without them. Often, she can get too close and forget some of these men are dangerous criminals. But some of them never had a chance. Like Michael Hudson, who's been locked up awaiting trial before his sudden release. He's happy and relieved but can't shake the question preying on his mind: how comes the witness who put him behind bars is suddenly refusing to testify? There's a man who might have the answer, but he wants something first. Phil Ornazian is a private investigator who moonlights as a petty criminal. He's not exactly proud of it, but times are hard in Washington D.C. People have to change to survive, or die trying. But everything comes at a price and, at some point, everyone has to pay...

The Man Who Came Uptown

The Man Who Came Uptown

Author: George Pelecanos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/09/2018

From writer and producer on HBO's THE WIRE and THE DEUCE comes one of the most critically-acclaimed crime novels of the year: 'He is, quite simply, among America's finest crime writers. This latest story does not disappoint ... lyrical, beautifully observed and constantly surprising, it is a delight' Daily Mail 'In his first novel for five years, Pelecanos demonstrates why he deserves to be regarded as one of the best American crime novelists ... It's a moving tale, beautifully told' The Times * * * * * Anna Byrne is a jailhouse librarian. In a place where hope is hard to find, the power of books can be a light in the dark. For some of the prisoners, her work is life-changing. Like Michael Hudson, her best student, who's been locked up awaiting trial before his sudden release. He's relieved to be free - to 'come uptown', as they say - but can't shake the question: why is the witness who put him behind bars is suddenly refusing to testify? There's a man who might have the answer, but he wants something first. Phil Ornazian is a private investigator who moonlights as a petty criminal. He's not exactly proud of it, but times are hard in Washington, D.C. People have to change to survive, or die trying. But everything comes at a price and, at some point, everyone has to pay... * * * * * Praise for George Pelecanos: 'Perhaps the greatest living American crime writer' Stephen King 'Outstanding' Sunday Telegraph 'Powerful' Observer 'American crime writing at its finest' Independent on Sunday 'Terrific' Elmore Leonard 'Powerful' Michael Connelly 'I love the way he writes: economical, rhythmic, elliptical and angrily political' Val McDermid 'Hard-boiled fiction with heart' Sunday Telegraph 'Pelecanos has joined James Lee Burke and Lawrence Block at the high table of contemporary crime greats' The Times 'The coolest writer in America' GQ 'Gold-standard character-driven crime writing that few will ever match' Financial Times

The Man Who Came Uptown

The Man Who Came Uptown

Author: George Pelecanos Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/09/2018

From writer and producer on HBO's THE WIRE and THE DEUCE comes one of the most critically-acclaimed crime novels of the year: 'He is, quite simply, among America's finest crime writers. This latest story does not disappoint ... lyrical, beautifully observed and constantly surprising, it is a delight' Daily Mail 'In his first novel for five years, Pelecanos demonstrates why he deserves to be regarded as one of the best American crime novelists ... It's a moving tale, beautifully told' The Times * * * * * Anna Byrne is a jailhouse librarian. In a place where hope is hard to find, the power of books can be a light in the dark. For some of the prisoners, her work is life-changing. Like Michael Hudson, her best student, who's been locked up awaiting trial before his sudden release. He's relieved to be free - to 'come uptown', as they say - but can't shake the question: why is the witness who put him behind bars is suddenly refusing to testify? There's a man who might have the answer, but he wants something first. Phil Ornazian is a private investigator who moonlights as a petty criminal. He's not exactly proud of it, but times are hard in Washington, D.C. People have to change to survive, or die trying. But everything comes at a price and, at some point, everyone has to pay... * * * * * Praise for George Pelecanos: 'Perhaps the greatest living American crime writer' Stephen King 'Outstanding' Sunday Telegraph 'Powerful' Observer 'American crime writing at its finest' Independent on Sunday 'Terrific' Elmore Leonard 'Powerful' Michael Connelly 'I love the way he writes: economical, rhythmic, elliptical and angrily political' Val McDermid 'Hard-boiled fiction with heart' Sunday Telegraph 'Pelecanos has joined James Lee Burke and Lawrence Block at the high table of contemporary crime greats' The Times 'The coolest writer in America' GQ 'Gold-standard character-driven crime writing that few will ever match' Financial Times

Das dunkle Herz der Stadt

Das dunkle Herz der Stadt

Author: George Pelecanos Format: eBook Release Date: 28/08/2018

Washington, D. C.: Bartender und Gelegenheitsdetektiv Nick Stefanos ist ziemlich am Ende und lebt eigentlich nur noch fur den nachsten Drink. Als er eines Abends auf einer Parkbank am Anacostia River heillos betrunken Ohrenzeuge des Mordes an dem Teenager Calvin Jeter wird, reit er sich zusammen, denn die Metropolitan Police scheint der Fall nicht besonders zu interessieren, sie halt den Toten doch fur ein typisches Opfer der Washingtoner Gang-Kriminalitat. Aber Nick wei, dass Gangs keine Schalldampfer benutzen - gemeinsam mit Privatdetektiv Jack LaDuke versucht er die Killer zu fassen und findet sich bald in einem Sumpf aus Drogen und sexueller Ausbeutung wieder: Eine Reise in die Dunkelheit der menschlichen Seele und durch die schwarzesten Schatten der amerikanischen Hauptstadt beginnt ...

Hard Revolution

Hard Revolution

Author: George Pelecanos Format: eBook Release Date: 31/05/2017

Washington, D. C., 1968: Der junge schwarze Polizist Derek Strange fahrt bei der Metropolitan Police mit seinem weien Partner Streife, wahrend sich die Atmosphare in der Stadt immer weiter aufheizt: die Burgerrechtsbewegung und der Marsch der Armen, die traumatisierten Ruckkehrer aus Vietnam, Sex, Soul, Drogen, Morde, Unruhen und Rassismus. Inmitten dieser explosiven Gemengelage entspinnt sich ein todliches Drama: Drei Weie planen einen Bankuberfall und ermorden einen Schwarzen, auch Dereks Bruder Dennis wird umgebracht - und in Memphis wird ein Attentat auf Martin Luther King verubt. Fur Derek Strange, seine Freunde und seine Feinde ist nichts wie zuvor. Wer ist gut, wer bose - und wem kann man noch vertrauen? Die alten Kategorien gelten nicht mehr, die Welt ist komplex geworden. Und die Revolution hat gerade erst begonnen ...

The Martini Shot and Other Stories

The Martini Shot and Other Stories

Author: George Pelecanos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/01/2016

From the writer of the HBO series Treme and The Wire comes a brand new collection of short stories What really goes on beneath the surface of a city? There's the slum kid whose basketball skills earn him loyal friends and bitter rivals. The police informant grappling with his own sick conscience. A helpless young drug dealer watches as violence seeps into the lives of those who he cares about. And a writer on a TV cop show who finds drama and reality are colliding much too close to home. Corruption, revenge, honour, sacrifice and the fight to survive. Dark, fast-paced and crackling with energy, these stories expose the violence and darkness on the streets of any city. Gritty and hard-hitting, THE MARTINI SHOT is Pelecanos at his very best.

The Double

The Double

Author: George Pelecanos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/07/2014

Every man has his dark side... Spero Lucas confronts his own in an explosive thriller from the writer of the award-winning THE WIRE. Spero Lucas is a young Iraq war vet now working as a PI in Washington DC. He's hired by a young woman to find a painting she lost after being scammed by a super-smooth con-artist. Spero tracks the painting down, but the con-artist is part of a team of ruthless thugs, and the woman who hired Spero is brutally attacked as a warning to stay away. The warning doesn't work. Spero is angry and he goes on the offensive, taking out the gang one by one. But where do Spero's remorseless killings sit on the morality scale? Is he defending an innocent woman? Or have his experiences of war turned him into a ruthless killer, no better than the crooks he's up against?

A Firing Offense

A Firing Offense

Author: George Pelecanos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/11/2013

The first in the Nick Stefanos trilogy from one of the acclaimed writers of THE WIRE. Advertising director Nick Stefanos is well acquainted with the seedy side of the electronics business - blow-out sales and shady deals were his life on the shop floor. So when a stockboy disappears, it's not news. Just another metalhead off chasing a dream of big money and easy living. But the boy's grandfather asks Nick for help, and as Nick starts digging, he quickly uncovers a much darker and more violent truth. One that will lead him to the alcohol-soaked and drug-riddled underbelly of Washington DC.

Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go

Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go

Author: George Pelecanos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/11/2013

A gritty urban crime thriller from one of the award-winning writers of THE WIRE. Like most of the trouble in Nick Stefanos' life, it started with a drink. Lying in the darkness, drunk and immobile, Nick hears two men murder a terrified teenager. When he wakes in the morning, his memory is blurred. But the dead boy is still there, submerged in the river. The police presume it's a gang-killing - no shortage of them in DC. But Nick isn't sure; gangs don't use silencers. Hit men do. Despite not having worked a PI case for a year and a half, Nick starts investigating, driven by an obsessive need for the truth. And with each clue he unearths, he's driven further into the darkest corners of the human soul. The third novel in the Nick Stefanos series.

Nick's Trip

Nick's Trip

Author: George Pelecanos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/11/2013

A stylish and gripping crime novel from one of the acclaimed writers of THE WIRE. Part-time PI Nick Stefanos doesn't tail wives anymore. But when a childhood friend steps into Nick's bar after 15 years and asks for help locating his wife April, he feels obliged to do some digging. After a visit to the small-time crime boss with whom April was supposedly having an affair, Nick realises there is far more to this story than a missing wife. There is missing money. Lots of it. And some very powerful enemies...

What It Was

What It Was

Author: George Pelecanos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/11/2012

The stunning crime thriller from one of the writers of THE WIRE. Washington, D.C., 1972. Derek Strange has left the police department and set up shop as a private investigator. His former partner, Frank 'Hound Dog' Vaughn, is still on the force. When a young woman comes to Strange asking for his help recovering a cheap ring she claims has sentimental value, the case leads him onto Vaughn's turf, where a local drug addict's been murdered, shot point-blank in his apartment. Soon both men are on the trail of a ruthless killer: Red Fury, so called for his looks and the car his girlfriend drives, but a name that fits his personality all too well. Red Fury doesn't have a retirement plan, as Vaughn points out - he doesn't care who he has to cross, or kill, to get what he wants. As the violence escalates and the stakes get higher, Strange and Vaughn know the only way to catch their man is to do it their own way. Rich with details of place and time - the cars, the music, the clothes - and fuelled by non-stop action, this is Pelecanos writing in the hard-boiled noir style that won him his earliest fans and placed him firmly in the ranks of the top crime writers in America.

Nick's Trip

Nick's Trip

Author: George Pelecanos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/06/2011

Kein Weg zuruck

Kein Weg zuruck

Author: George Pelecanos Format: eBook Release Date: 01/06/2010

Wer einmal lugt ... Christopher Flynn ist schon einmal auf die schiefe Bahn geraten. Diesmal will er alles richtig machen. Job, Beziehung - zunchst luft alles gut. Bis er eines Tages mit seinem Freund Ben in einer alten Villa auf eine Tasche voller Geld stt. Ben will es klauen, Christopher widersteht. Doch als das Geld verschwindet, steht Christopher pltzlich allein da. Niemand glaubt ihm, auch die Besitzer des Geldes nicht Spannung, bei der das Herz bis zum Hals schlgt, vom Anfang bis zum Ende."e; (New York Times)"e;George Pelecanos ist sehr wahrscheinlich der beste lebende amerikanische Krimiautor."e; (Stephen King)

Shoedog

Shoedog

Author: George Pelecanos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/05/2010

Constantine is a drifter with a lot of miles behind him, a lot more ahead and plenty of jobs in between that never showed up on anyone's books. Back in his home town, he hitches a ride on a bright spring morning with a little man named Polk. There's one stop Polk needs to make, and it changes Constantine's life forever. Like the kind of cars they don't make anymore and the kind of songs they don't sing, Shoedog has the style, rhythm and muscle of a classic.