The Man Who Came Uptown (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Badge
The Man Who Came Uptown Cover Image
$27.00
On Our Shelves Now
1 on hand, as of Oct 18 12:45am
(Mystery)

Staff Reviews


To be honest, you had me at Pelecanos.  

George Pelecanos is smart, witty, and honest. He IS Washington D.C., minus the politics. He underscores the story with the music, the food, the streets, the rhythm, and pulse of DC.

There is a plot, of course. Probably a murder. The stuff of most mysteries. But this is not most mysteries. This is Pelecanos.

Pelecanos can grab me with just  the dialogue inside the car, on the way to commit a crime. Nobody does dialogue like Pelecanos. Snappy. Funny. Real. There are snatches of conversations that will stick with you, like a song stuck in your head. 

This book begins in the arms of a jailhouse librarian who finds her identity, surrounded by hardened and hopeless inmates. She comes with a simple offering of books. Words that will give voice and meaning to the men's broken dreams.  Words that inspire or explain or confound them within their isolation. Carrying the weight of this journey is Michael, a young man newly inspired by books and vowing to rise above his own destiny. To reclaim his life and his dignity. 

Of course, the universe will conspire to thwart his efforts to live a good and honest life. Temptation has a way of derailing even the most heroic among us. I read the final chapter slowly, with both trepidation, and hope. The last pages felt like the flip of a coin.... suspended in mid air. Hold your breath. This is quite a ride.Heads or tails?

— Robin Templin

The Man Who Came Uptown is classic George Pelecanos. Are you thinking, “I know that author’s name, I just don’t know why?” 

A writer of 20 crime novels over the course of a 36-year career, Pelecanos was also a writer for David Simon’s TV series “The Wire,” followed by Simon’s HBO series “Treme” and “The Deuce.” Maybe Simon reached out because of Pelecanos’ skill creating empathic, but morally ambiguous characters. Or maybe it was the impeccably timed rhythm and snap of his dialog. The Man Who Came Uptown is as tight a crime novel as you will find these days—and, bonus-- is a love letter to reading and books. 

Right off the bat, we are introduced to Michael Hudson, a convict; and Anna, a prison librarian. They strike up a friendship over books, seeing each other weekly. Anna’s success at matching prisoners with the books they read spills over into a prison book club. The meeting to discuss Of Mice and Men is one of the scenes where Pelecanos soars. Surprisingly and without notice, Michael is sprung from prison when a witness withdraws his damning testimony. This leaves a void for Anna, while Michael is compromised by those who pulled the strings to get him out of prison. Does he play it straight and confront the unknown and possible consequences, or does he fall in with those who landed him in jail in the first place?

Read this crime novel for entertainment, a look into the human condition in extraordinary circumstances, and for the dissection of the democratic act of the experience of reading great books. 

Sarah's review first appeared on 89.1 KMUW. You can listen to the review HERE

— Sarah Bagby

The Man Who Came Uptown is classic George Pelecanos. Are you thinking, “I know that author’s name, I just don’t know why?” 

A writer of 20 crime novels over the course of a 36-year career, Pelecanos was also a writer for David Simon’s TV series “The Wire,” followed by Simon’s HBO series “Treme” and “The Deuce.” Maybe Simon reached out because of Pelecanos’ skill creating empathic, but morally ambiguous characters. Or maybe it was the impeccably timed rhythm and snap of his dialog. The Man Who Came Uptown is as tight a crime novel as you will find these days—and, bonus-- is a love letter to reading and books. 

Right off the bat, we are introduced to Michael Hudson, a convict; and Anna, a prison librarian. They strike up a friendship over books, seeing each other weekly. Anna’s success at matching prisoners with the books they read spills over into a prison book club. The meeting to discuss Of Mice and Men is one of the scenes where Pelecanos soars. Surprisingly and without notice, Michael is sprung from prison when a witness withdraws his damning testimony. This leaves a void for Anna, while Michael is compromised by those who pulled the strings to get him out of prison. Does he play it straight and confront the unknown and possible consequences, or does he fall in with those who landed him in jail in the first place?

Read this crime novel for entertainment, a look into the human condition in extraordinary circumstances, and for the dissection of the democratic act of the experience of reading great books. 

— Sarah Bagby

To be honest, you had me at Pelecanos.  
George Pelecanos is smart, witty, and honest. He IS Washington D.C., minus the politics. He is the music, the food, the streets, the rhythm and pulse of DC.
There is a plot, of course. Probably a murder. The stuff of most mysteries. But this is not most mysteries. This is Pelecanos.

Pelecanos can grab me with the dialogue inside the car, on the way to commit a crime. Nobody does dialogue like Pelecanos. Snappy. Funny. Real. This book begins in the arms of a jailhouse librarian and a young man inspired by books and striving to rise above his own destiny.
Pelecanos has outdone himself. Once again.
 

— From What is Robin Templin reading?

Description


In bestselling and Emmy-nominated writer George Pelecanos' novel, one of the best mysteries of 2018 (Publishers Weekly), an ex-offender must choose between the man who got him out and the woman who showed him another path.

Michael Hudson spends the long days in prison devouring books given to him by the prison's librarian, a young woman named Anna who develops a soft spot for her best student. Anna keeps passing Michael books until one day he disappears, suddenly released after a private detective manipulated a witness in Michael's trial.

Outside, Michael encounters a Washington, D.C. that has changed a lot during his time locked up. Once shady storefronts are now trendy beer gardens and flower shops. But what hasn't changed is the hard choice between the temptation of crime and doing what's right. Trying to balance his new job, his love of reading, and the debt he owes to the man who got him released, Michael struggles to figure out his place in this new world before he loses control.

Smart and fast-paced, The Man Who Came Uptown brings Washington, D.C. to life in a high-stakes story of tough choices.

About the Author


George Pelecanos is the bestselling author of twenty novels set in and around Washington, D.C. He is also an independent film producer, and a producer and Emmy-nominated writer on the HBO series The Wire, Treme, and The Deuce. He lives in Maryland.

Praise For…


"Like his hero Elmore Leonard, Pelecanos finds the humanity in the lowest of lowlifes. . . . Pelecanos' peppery dialogue energizes every page."—Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Tribune

"This is a book about love of family, about the stresses that can lure almost anyone into crime and about how hard it can be for someone [to] make it on the outside. But most of all, it is a book about the transformative powers of friendship and reading. The story is told in tight, soulful prose by a novelist who has devoted many hours to inmate literacy programs in D.C."—Bruce DeSilva, Associated Press

If I were in jail, George Pelecanos would be on my reading list, right up there with James Lee Burke and Elmore Leonard. . . . Pelecanos's characters [are] so human and so doomed. This is an author who writes with the steady hand of a man who knows he's driving a cool set of wheels and respects his own mechanical skills."—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

"A modern storytelling master's paean to the power of books, literature, librarians, and booksellers."—Bethanne Patrick, NPR.org

"Read this crime novel for entertainment, a look into the human condition in extraordinary circumstances, and for the dissection of the democratic act of the experience of reading great books."—KUMW

"In this book, George Pelecanos stretches, showing a broader understanding of his characters' actions and motivations, and the result is a more interesting book. I hope that whatever he may do in television in the future, he never stops writing novels."—Washington Times

"The thriller plot is taut and suspenseful, as jolting as it is carefully nuanced, but it is Pelecanos' focus on character, on his ability to show the richness and depth of his people, as well as their often-heartbreaking yearning for something more, that gives this novel-and all his work-its special power."—Booklist, Starred Review

"Using his customary knowing dialogue and stripped-down, soulful prose, Pelecanos skillfully, sensitively works the urban frontier where the problems and stresses of everyday life cross the line into the sort of criminal behavior that could tempt anyone-anyone at all."—Kirkus


Product Details
ISBN: 9780316479820
ISBN-10: 0316479829
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: September 4th, 2018
Pages: 272
Language: English