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Like the kind of cars they don't make anymore and the kind of songs they don't sing, the novels of George Pelecanos have the style, rhythm and muscle of classics. SHOEDOG is vintage Pelecanos: a tale that throbs with soul and pulsates with menace.
Constantine was born in D.C., and has been traveling the world ever since-finding everything but a home. Randolph has stayed in this city every day, selling shoes in a downtown store, taking care of ladies who lie about their sizes and sometimes fit him into their beds. Now these two strangers, one white, one black, have come together in a criminal's audacious plan. With five partners and the hit ready to go down, Constantine doesn't understand the treacheries, feuds and fantasies swirling around him-and he's fallen for a woman who only doubles his risk. But Randolph, a self-confessed "shoedog," can smell trouble a mile away. And when the shooting starts, he'll give Constantine a chance to live-or die where he was born.
briefing’s two-thirty this afternoon. All the details will be handled then, by Weiner.” “Condense it for us, Grimes. You can do that.” “Of course I can. But if you turn it down, how can I let you and your friend walk?” “Because you know me,” Polk said, making a head movement toward Constantine. “And I’m vouching for him.” “I don’t like it,” Valdez said, behind their backs. Polk and Grimes kept their eyes on each other, ignoring Valdez. It was as if the Mexican were not standing in the room.
feet as the Caddy rolled slowly toward the gate. The driver stopped the car ten feet shy of the gate and touched his hand to the visor. The gate opened in, just clearing the front bumper. The engine continued to idle as the heavy one and the driver got out of the car. Polk did not move up to meet them. They stopped walking two feet shy of Constantine and Polk, keeping their eyes on Polk. Both of them wore black ties tightly knotted into white button-down collars, with scuffed black oxfords on
putting his notebooks and pencils into a battered briefcase, patting Constantine’s shoulder on the way to the door. Eventually, Constantine was alone. He heard their voices out in the hallway—Valdez and Gorman’s anger, Jackson’s simple laughter—and then their heavy footsteps on the marble stairs. Constantine ground the butt of his cigarette into the ashtray, rubbed his face around with his hand. The gray smoke of the meeting hovered in the center of the room, turning slowly in the light.
While those other boys were thinkin’ how to get the jump on me, or thinkin’ about the pussy, all I was concentrating on was doin’ my job. From twelve to two, that’s what the fuck I do. I put my head down, just like a dog, and I cross that bridge. And every single day, I’m the only one in that joint who gets to the other side.” Randolph sat back, pointed at Constantine. “I’m a shoedog, man. Might be time for you to be some kinda shoedog too.” Constantine finished the rest of his vodka, put the
terrifically sexy girl he had known, a young waitress at Coffee and Confusion. He could still see her, leaning over the tables, serving drinks, her long black hair falling around her face. He wondered where that girl was now. Weiner closed his eyes, put his head back, and killed his drink. “WHAT you thinkin’ about, baby?” Randolph said, “Nothin’.” “You thinkin’ about somethin’.” Randolph rolled onto his elbow. He put his hand to the woman’s breast. His fingers traced her nipple in the