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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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The Night Gardener

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The Night Gardener Cover

ISBN13: 9780446619219
ISBN10: 0446619213
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Gus Ramone is "good police," a former Internal Affairs investigator now working homicide for the city's Violent Crime branch. His new case involves the death of a local teenager named Asa whose body has been found in a local community garden.

The murder unearths intense memories of a case Ramone worked as a patrol cop twenty years earlier, when he and his partner, Dan "Doc" Holiday, assisted a legendary detective named T. C. Cook. The series of murders, all involving local teenage victims, was never solved. In the years since, Holiday has left the force under a cloud of morals charges, and now finds work as a bodyguard and driver. Cook has retired, but he has never stopped agonizing about the "Night Gardener" killings.

The new case draws the three men together on a grim mission to finish the work that has haunted them for years. All the love, regret, and anger that once burned between them comes rushing back, and old ghosts walk once more as the men try to lay to rest the monster who has stalked their dreams. Bigger and even more unstoppable than his previous thrillers, George Pelecanos achieves in The Night Gardener what his brilliant career has been building toward: a novel that is a perfect union of suspense, character, and unstoppable fate.

Review:

"Pelecanos (Drama City) delivers a dignified, character-driven epic that succeeds as both literary novel and page-turner. In 1985, the body of a 14-year-old girl turns up in a Washington, D.C., park, the latest in a series of murders by a killer the media dub 'The Night Gardener.' T.C. Cook, the aging detective on the case, works with a quiet, almost monomaniacal, focus. Also involved are two young uniformed cops, Gus Ramone, who's diligent, conscientious and unimpressed by heroics, and Dan 'Doc' Holiday, an adrenaline junkie who's decidedly less straight. Fast forward 20 years. Detective Ramone, now married with kids of his own, investigates the murder of one of his teenage son's friends. The homicide closely resembles the earlier unsolved Night Gardener murders. Holiday, now an alcoholic chauffeur and bodyguard, follows the case on his own and tracks down Cook, long retired but still obsessed with the original murders. While the three work together toward a suspenseful ending, Pelecanos emphasizes the fallacy of 'solving' a murder and explores the ripple effects of violent crime on society." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Like the veteran cops and private investigators who populate his fiction, George Pelecanos knows his precinct inside out. His first 13 novels examined life on the streets of his chosen beat — eastern Washington, D.C. — with the precision of a crime-scene expert and the compassion of a grief counselor. After reading just a few of his books, even nonresidents might feel that the neighborhoods of Southeast,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Gracefully, [Sandor] lures us up and down her streams of thought with simple yet distinctive language as she investigates the natural world and seeks to define her own place in it." Katharine Weber, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"In the end, The Night Gardener is powerful not because it is a good story well-delivered, though it is both of these. It is powerful because it uses all the power of fiction to answer questions that nonfiction never will be able to fully address." Denver Post

Review:

"The Night Gardener is another of Mr. Pelecanos's beautifully delineated moral tales, filled with gut-wrenching turns of fate and razor-sharp, boisterously vivid characters." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

"George Pelecanos has been a gifted writer for a long time, but with The Night Gardener he reaches that sweet spot where talent, experience and sheer storytelling combine to produce the best book of his career." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"The more Pelecanos writes, the more he extends his range....One thinks of Michael Connelly, John Harvey, and Ian Rankin — other writers able to look inside their cop heroes with remarkable sensitivity — but Pelecanos' scalpel may cut more precisely than any of them." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Pelecanos creates another fascinating, completely believable hero whose supporting cast members all have their own great stories....Another winner from arguably our best contemporary crime writer..." Library Journal

Review:

"[T]he real attraction here, as usual with Pelecanos, is the tangle of untamed subplots....The setup screams Mystic River, but Pelecanos's olympian yet furiously impassioned take on urban violence remains his own." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

It's been 20 years since three teenagers were killed and their abused bodies were left in public parks. The case was never solved, but the two lead detectives in the investigation have pursued very different paths during the last two decades. Now they are reunited by a new murder.

About the Author

George Pelecanos is an independent-film producer, an award-winning journalist, a producer and writer on the HBO hit series The Wire, and the author of a bestselling series of novels set in and around Washington, D.C., where he lives with his wife and children.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

gaby317, June 22, 2009 (view all comments by gaby317)
Synopsis:
The book opens with glimpse at a crime scene in a community garden in Washington D.C. in 1985 where Pelecanos introduces three key detectives. T.C. Cook, a sergeant with 24 years on the force, known as "The Mission Man" with a 90% closure rate. Dan Holiday, known as Doc, is tall, thin, and is results oriented but with little respect for the rules. Gus Ramone, like Doc Holiday is on his second year at Metro DC police force, but he prefers to follow the playbook, stay safe, put in his time and move on. Holiday and Ramone are handling crowd control. T.C. Cook is examining the crime scene surrounding Eve Drake, a young black teenager and the third and latest victim of the "Night Gardener". There is considerable pressure to solve and catch the culprit of the "Palindrome Murders".

Pelecanos then takes the readers to Washington D.C. in 2005. Doc Holiday has been eased out of the police force and instead owns and manages a limo company while Ramone has remained on the force and risen up. As a senior detective, Ramone plays on his strengths to close cases and liberally relies on the skills of those around him. His life centers on his wife and their young daughter and their fourteen year old son who is undergoing some adjustment problems in his new Maryland school.

With Holiday's accidental discovery of another teenage corpse in a community garden in the Southeast D.C. area twenty years later, Holiday and Ramone's paths intersect. Ramone's teenage son had been friends with Asa Johnson, the victim, and Ramone takes an interest in the case.

The Palindrome Murders had suddenly ceased in 1985 but the Night Gardener had never been caught. Holiday suspects that the Night Gardener may have become active again and that Asa was his latest victim. Though he'd left the police force years ago, Holiday finds himself thinking about Asa Johnson and the Palindrome Murders and doesn't trust that Ramone and the detectives will solve the case. Holiday reaches out to retired T.C. Cook to see if together they can help the police locate the killer.

Review:
George Pelecanos has built a strong reputation for authentic dialogue and interesting characters through fifteen Washington D.C. based detective novels and his Emmy-nominated show The Wire. The Night Gardener is my first experience with his work and I can see how he's developed a strong and loyal fan base.

The Night Gardener is carefully crafted and comes together smoothly. While the three main detectives and Asa Johnson's murder is the primary storyline, there are several other narratives and crimes that occur simultaneously. Even the subordinate plot lines and characters are well developed, which heightens the level of suspense. I couldn't tell until the ending how everything would fit together. But when I reached the end, then the details that were floating around in the periphery somehow made sense and I realized how The Night Gardener was so carefully crafted.

I would recommend this book to people fond of forensic and police thrillers, and detective novels. I think it would have special appeal to those familiar with the Washington D.C. area.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780446619219
Author:
Pelecanos, George P
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Author:
Pelecanos, George P.
Author:
Pelecanos, George
Subject:
General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Hard-Boiled
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Police
Subject:
Teenagers
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Washington, d. c.
Copyright:
Publication Date:
August 2007
Binding:
Mass Market Paperbound
Language:
English
Pages:
431
Dimensions:
6.89x4.18x1.07 in. .47 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

The Night Gardener Used Mass Market
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 431 pages Grand Central Publishing - English 9780446619219 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Pelecanos (Drama City) delivers a dignified, character-driven epic that succeeds as both literary novel and page-turner. In 1985, the body of a 14-year-old girl turns up in a Washington, D.C., park, the latest in a series of murders by a killer the media dub 'The Night Gardener.' T.C. Cook, the aging detective on the case, works with a quiet, almost monomaniacal, focus. Also involved are two young uniformed cops, Gus Ramone, who's diligent, conscientious and unimpressed by heroics, and Dan 'Doc' Holiday, an adrenaline junkie who's decidedly less straight. Fast forward 20 years. Detective Ramone, now married with kids of his own, investigates the murder of one of his teenage son's friends. The homicide closely resembles the earlier unsolved Night Gardener murders. Holiday, now an alcoholic chauffeur and bodyguard, follows the case on his own and tracks down Cook, long retired but still obsessed with the original murders. While the three work together toward a suspenseful ending, Pelecanos emphasizes the fallacy of 'solving' a murder and explores the ripple effects of violent crime on society." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Gracefully, [Sandor] lures us up and down her streams of thought with simple yet distinctive language as she investigates the natural world and seeks to define her own place in it."
"Review" by , "In the end, The Night Gardener is powerful not because it is a good story well-delivered, though it is both of these. It is powerful because it uses all the power of fiction to answer questions that nonfiction never will be able to fully address."
"Review" by , "The Night Gardener is another of Mr. Pelecanos's beautifully delineated moral tales, filled with gut-wrenching turns of fate and razor-sharp, boisterously vivid characters."
"Review" by , "George Pelecanos has been a gifted writer for a long time, but with The Night Gardener he reaches that sweet spot where talent, experience and sheer storytelling combine to produce the best book of his career."
"Review" by , "The more Pelecanos writes, the more he extends his range....One thinks of Michael Connelly, John Harvey, and Ian Rankin — other writers able to look inside their cop heroes with remarkable sensitivity — but Pelecanos' scalpel may cut more precisely than any of them."
"Review" by , "Pelecanos creates another fascinating, completely believable hero whose supporting cast members all have their own great stories....Another winner from arguably our best contemporary crime writer..."
"Review" by , "[T]he real attraction here, as usual with Pelecanos, is the tangle of untamed subplots....The setup screams Mystic River, but Pelecanos's olympian yet furiously impassioned take on urban violence remains his own."
"Synopsis" by , It's been 20 years since three teenagers were killed and their abused bodies were left in public parks. The case was never solved, but the two lead detectives in the investigation have pursued very different paths during the last two decades. Now they are reunited by a new murder.
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