"A taut thriller"
Working for the Aiding Prostitutes in Peril non-profit
organization, Montgomery County sleuths Karen Bagley and
Sue Tracey specialize in locating teenage runaways. They
hire DC private detective Derek Strange to help them with
cases in the District. After proving his worth to his
retainers, Derek and his partner Terry Quinn are sent to
bring in fourteen-year-old Germantown runaway Jennifer from
the cold mean streets of the city.
While Terry works the child prostitution case, Derek
has a more personal vendetta to handle. Someone(s) killed
the quarterback of the Pee Wee football team that Derek
coaches while the kid was at an ice cream stand. At the
same time Derek anguishes over the lad's murder, his
longtime lover is all over him for his frequent visits to
the massage parlor.
No one describes the neighborhoods of Washington DC
better than George Pelecanos who take his audience on quite
a vivid tour of the other side of Washington. The two
subplots are well written and exciting, but the action is
the streets of the city, homicide hot even on a wintry
night. The characters are believable and make the story
line sing while augmenting Mr. Pelecanos tour guide of the
nation's capital. Fans of gritty urban investigative tales
will want to read HELL TO PAY and its predecessor RIGHT AS
RAIN because these are some of the best the sub-genre offer.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted February 20, 2002