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Review and Giveaway: The Turnaround

May 17, 2009


In the 1970’s, three teen-age white boys –  Billy, Pete and Alex – were out drinking, smoking pot and cruising.  They drove into a black neighborhood, pulled up alongside three teen-aged black boys – Raymond, James and Charles –  rolled down the window, threw a Hostess cherry pie at one the young men and yelled a racial epithet.  When the white boys sped off, they discovered the street ended in a turnaround; when they returned the black youths were waiting for them.  One boy, Pete, jumped out of the car and ran off; the rest were involved in “the incident” that left Billy, the driver of the car, dead and Alex wounded.

Thirty years later, Alex is running his father’s coffee shop and mourning the death of his younger son in Iraq.  Pete is a hugely successful lawyer.  James seems to have straightened himself out after years in prison and is working as an auto mechanic.  Raymond is a physical therapist, working with wounded soldiers at  Walter Reed Hospital.  Charles has been in and out of trouble and still seems to think the world owes him something.

After a chance encounter at Walter Reed, Alex and Raymond get together to talk and to try to make amends.  Alex makes a startling discovery about “the incident,” and decides it’s time to make some changes in his life.

The title of The Turnaround by George Pelecanos is perfect – it signifies the turnaround involved in “the incident” and the turnaround most of the characters make in their lives.  I really enjoyed this book and was engrossed in it and its characters from start to finish.  The character development in this crime novel is fantastic.  I empathized with most of the characters and wanted them to make good decisions.  George Pelecanos has decided to include some social issues in his books and he includes the war and our treatment of veterans in this one, which I found fascinating too.  The Turnaround has some graphic moments and foul language, but I thought they were both suitable for the nature of the novel.

I found this great interview of George Pelecanos and discovered that “the incident” is based on a real-life event.  He wrote the book because he wondered what happens to the people involved in events like that.  This book is also somewhat autobiographical for him since his father owned a coffee shop.

I have an extra copy of The Turnaround to give away to one lucky reader.  To enter,  simply leave a comment on this post.  Contest is open worldwide.  I will use to determine the winner.  Contest ends at midnight EST, Sunday, May 24, 2009.  Winner will be announced on Monday, May 25, 2009.

73 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2009 6:38 am

    I just received a copy of this in the mail – I’m looking forward to reading it.

  2. May 17, 2009 7:34 am

    Wow, that sounds good. I saw you all talking about it on Twitter, but didn’t really know what it was about. I’d like to give that a read. 🙂

  3. May 17, 2009 8:01 am

    Nice review. I’d love to be entered in your giveaway.


  4. May 17, 2009 8:05 am

    Please enter me in the give-away! Thank you. 🙂

  5. Melanie permalink
    May 17, 2009 8:16 am

    Sounds good. I see you are reading Life’s That Way. Is it good so far?

  6. May 17, 2009 8:18 am

    Nice review. Glad you enjoyed it!

  7. May 17, 2009 9:06 am

    I really like the sound of this book. Can I be entered into the competition. I find it amazing how silly actions can lead to such awful situations. How we do things, not thinking about the consequences they have on others.
    I am intrigued by the startling discovery Alex makes.

  8. May 17, 2009 9:13 am

    I loved the BlogTalk radio show too — I thought he as fascinating!

  9. May 17, 2009 10:05 am

    This sounds great!! I’d love to win it. Thanks for having this contest 🙂

  10. Allykatt permalink
    May 17, 2009 10:12 am

    I’d love to be entered in this giveaway. This book has been on my TBR list as I like Pelecanos writing style a lot.

  11. May 17, 2009 11:02 am

    This sounds like a great book!

  12. Lisa C permalink
    May 17, 2009 11:03 am

    Please enter me in your giveaway. Your review really piqued my interest & I’d love to read this book. Thanks!

  13. May 17, 2009 11:16 am

    This book sounds so good! Naturally I want to be entered in the contest, but whether I win or not, I’ll definitely be hunting for this one to read.

  14. May 17, 2009 11:27 am

    I have been wanting to read this book!

  15. May 17, 2009 11:30 am

    Sounds great – count me in!

  16. Carol S permalink
    May 17, 2009 12:02 pm

    You have convinced me to read this book-thanks.

  17. May 17, 2009 12:33 pm

    I liked your review and especially liked the video. I’m reading one of his new books, The Way Home, right now and it very good so far. I’ve never read any of his books before this so it’s nice to discover a new author.

  18. May 17, 2009 12:42 pm

    Every time I enter the bookstore I pick up this book and consider making the purchase.

    Please enter me in the giveaway 🙂

    Mstermind1 at gmail dot com

  19. May 17, 2009 1:30 pm

    I’ve read a couple of this authors books and thought they were good thrillers. I’ll have to write this one down. Great review.

  20. Alicia permalink
    May 17, 2009 1:41 pm

    Sounds like a cool book.

    Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

  21. Catherine permalink
    May 17, 2009 2:27 pm

    Thanx for the contest

  22. Liyana permalink
    May 17, 2009 2:36 pm

    Count me in please!

  23. May 17, 2009 4:03 pm

    I would be interested in reading this! 🙂

  24. May 17, 2009 4:14 pm

    I almost bought this book last weekend but maybe I’ll win it!! Loved your review!!

  25. brenda helgeson permalink
    May 17, 2009 4:20 pm

    sounds intriguing. love to add it to my summer reading list

  26. May 17, 2009 5:25 pm

    Another super review of this book. I need to read it. It would be nice to win a copy!! Please enter my name. Thank you… I really needed to look at your banner picture today; I wish I was there!!

    cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

    P.S. With a pile of books!!

  27. May 17, 2009 5:25 pm

    Don’t enter me – I have this one on my to-read stack. So glad to read your positive review. 🙂

  28. May 17, 2009 6:14 pm

    i enjoyed your review–captured my interest and i’m eager to give this one a read. thank you for hosting this giveaway. 🙂

  29. May 17, 2009 7:37 pm

    Thanks for letting us know — I just posted this on Win A Book!

  30. May 17, 2009 10:04 pm

    I keep seeing this around! I’m not a crime type reader…but even I am getting interested. Sure, enter me. Ha, I didn’t even see that little blurb about it being a giveaway until i read the other comments.

    Hope you had a great weekend.

  31. May 17, 2009 10:17 pm

    This sounds interesting … thanks for entering me!

  32. Nick Duretta permalink
    May 17, 2009 10:21 pm

    Sounds like a great book. Please put me in the running!

  33. May 17, 2009 10:25 pm

    This sounds fascinating. Don’t enter me though. I’m not sure I’d like the graphic nature, even if it’s appropriate to the novel. It certainly sounds good.

  34. Ellie W permalink
    May 17, 2009 10:31 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read this book. Please enter me.
    eswright18 at gmail dot com

  35. May 17, 2009 10:47 pm

    looks like a good one, please enter me into this giveaway.


  36. May 17, 2009 11:50 pm

    Ohhh this sounds like a good one!

  37. May 17, 2009 11:50 pm

    No need to enter me. I think I won this one. Great review. I expect to really like this book.

  38. May 18, 2009 6:46 am

    I really need to broaden my reading so this one would be perfect, I am in 🙂

    blodeuedd1 (at) gmail (dot) com

  39. Cindy permalink
    May 18, 2009 6:51 am

    Great review, I would love to read this book.

  40. May 18, 2009 8:03 am

    Please enter me in the giveaway too. I’ve never read George Pelecanos before, and this book sounds like a great read

  41. Llehn permalink
    May 18, 2009 8:53 am

    Please enter my in the giveaway. Thanks!

  42. stacybuckeye permalink
    May 18, 2009 9:31 am

    This sounds wonderful! Please sign me up. I like the fact that it’s based in truth. That always makes it more interesting.

  43. May 18, 2009 9:55 am

    I am intrigued – I’ll be adding this to my wishlist. Thanks!

  44. May 18, 2009 10:01 am

    me tooooo 🙂

    This book sounds really good, thanks for opening it to international readers.

  45. susan permalink
    May 18, 2009 10:11 am

    Great review! I want to read this book!

  46. May 18, 2009 11:50 am

    This is the first review I have read about this book and it sounds like a fantastic read. I would love to be entered in your giveaway. I really enjoy books that incorporate social themes. Thanks for the chance.

  47. May 18, 2009 11:58 am

    I think this is the one you said I’d enjoy, so I just have to enter. Thanks for the great giveaway. I posted it in my sidebar.

    diaryofaneccentric at hotmail dot com

  48. May 18, 2009 1:42 pm

    Thanks for the chance to win!!


  49. Sandra K321 permalink
    May 18, 2009 1:50 pm

    I would enjoy reading this book. I enjoy more historical fiction or true to life type stories than other genres so this would be good for me.

  50. May 18, 2009 4:36 pm

    Your review really intrigued me, this story looks really interesting. And I loved the author video, hearing him talk about everything that went into the book – it seems like he really puts his all into his writing.

  51. Jason permalink
    May 18, 2009 4:38 pm

    It looks like an awesome book. Thanks for the chance

  52. Anita Yancey permalink
    May 18, 2009 8:13 pm

    I really enjoy reading crime novels, and would love to read this one. The book sound great. Please enter me, and thanks for having this giveaway.

  53. wendy wallach permalink
    May 18, 2009 9:35 pm

    I would love to add this to my summer reading pile.

    madamerkf at aol dot com

  54. May 18, 2009 9:35 pm

    I’d like to enter the drawing too, Kathy. I really liked the Pelecanos book I read a couple of years ago. I thought he did an amazing job with the characterization. This sounds like something I would like too.

  55. May 18, 2009 11:05 pm

    I have read so much about this book and am very intrigued. I love stories that show how once choice/one incident can change your life forever…good or bad. Sign me up!

  56. j chaborek permalink
    May 19, 2009 1:48 am

    Just like everyone else, I’d love to be entered in the giveaway! I’ll need some great books for this summer’s suntan and beach sessions.

  57. Wanda permalink
    May 19, 2009 10:16 am

    Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.

  58. May 19, 2009 10:18 am

    sounds like a great book.

  59. May 19, 2009 1:24 pm

    This sounds like such a good one! Please count me in.
    gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

  60. Kelly permalink
    May 19, 2009 2:29 pm

    Wow, this sounds like a really good read. I’d love to win a copy!

  61. May 19, 2009 11:47 pm

    This book sounds really interesting. I’m about to read my first Pelecanos for book club, The Way Home!

    skrishna [at] skrishnasbooks [dot] com

  62. May 20, 2009 11:41 am

    Great review and it has made me want to read this book. Thanks 🙂

  63. kim v permalink
    May 20, 2009 3:37 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  64. May 21, 2009 5:30 am

    Not my general type of book, but it does sound interesting!

  65. May 21, 2009 7:25 am

    Hey Kathy. You don’t have to enter me. I already have the book. Just wanted to say thanks for the video. I am looking forward to reading this book and I’m glad that you liked it.

  66. May 21, 2009 4:21 pm

    Love the video! It sounds like a sad book but I like the whole turnaround that te characters make of themselves.

  67. Glenn permalink
    May 21, 2009 9:16 pm

    From your review, this sounds like a decent read. Thanks for the giveaway.

  68. Cindy permalink
    May 22, 2009 7:16 pm

    After reading your review, I’d love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  69. Mishia permalink
    May 23, 2009 2:10 am

    Sounds like an interesting read.

  70. jacque permalink
    May 23, 2009 7:51 pm

    I have been wanting to read this! Thanks !

  71. May 24, 2009 8:13 pm

    Sounds like a great book! 🙂

  72. Eileen Deliz permalink
    May 26, 2009 10:45 am

    George Pelecanos is one of my favorite authors! I would love to win this book. Thanks!

  73. June 5, 2009 5:19 pm

    As you may know, I’ve had some chaos happening in my life the last several weeks, so I’m just now catching up on my blog reading…

    This book sounds fascinating! I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for such a great review, Kathy.

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