Constantine is a drifter, a man with a lot of miles behind him and a lot more ahead and a number of jobs in between that never showed up on anyone's books. He hitches a ride on a bright spring morning with a little man named Polk. Heading down a country road in Polk's hopped-up car, the two men share a few cigarettes. Later, when Constantine walks ...
Constantine is a drifter, a man with a lot of miles behind him and a lot more ahead and a number of jobs in between that never showed up on anyone's books. He hitches a ride on a bright spring morning with a little man named Polk. Heading down a country road in Polk's hopped-up car, the two men share a few cigarettes. Later, when Constantine walks toward the big brick house, the Beat in his head, the grip of the 45 warm in his hand, the siren wailing at his back, he thinks that the whole thing started on that road, with the car stopping for his upturned thumb. He thinks that the things that happen to a man are put in motion by something just that small, just that random. He thinks about that and he laughs but keeps on walking. A powerful mix of violence and social realism, "Shoedog" is contemporary noir at its finest.
Publishers Weekly, 1994-03-14 Sixty years ago, in The Postman Always Rings Twice , James M. Cain established the drifter as a dark knight of American crime fiction. Pelecanos ( Nick's Trip ) continues that tradition here, following Constantine, an enigmatic wanderer who falls into a den of thieves and disproves the adage that there's no honor among them. Hitchhiking south from Maryland to nowhere, Constantine takes a lift from an old man who stops at a country mansion to get some money. There Grimes, an equally old but wealthy man who organizes heists as a hobby, invites the pair to help rob two D.C. liquor stores. Swayed by ``the Beat'' (``the Beat was knowing that he was into something wrong, and the fear of it, and the point when the fear was no longer there. It was a hot buzz . . .''), Constantine signs on as a driver. He and his colleagues, who are all being blackmailed by Grimes, drink, plan and pick up women, with Constantine dangerously zeroing in on Grimes's young lover (``there was a freshness in her like newly printed money''). The robberies themselves, marred by a doublecross, go down fast and bad, leading Constantine to avenge his fallen partners by taking justice into his own hands. All sinners, none saints, the small-time hoods in this authentic world are crisply limned here in their fallible humanity. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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