Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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.)
"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)
"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
"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
"[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
"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
"[Pelecanos] is more the heir of a novelist such as Richard Price, who pushes the boundaries of the form, than of mystery writers who adhere to them....[A] powerful and compelling book." Los Angeles Times
"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
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 on the case have pursued very different paths during the last two decades.
The haunting story of three cops one good, one bad, one broken and the murder that reunited them in a showdown decades in the making.
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.