Awhile back the owner of a local independent bookstore recommended Pelecanos to me when I was buying a book by Dennis Lehane. He said if I liked Lehane, I'd enjoy Pelecanos, "They're gritty crime stories" he told me. King Suckerman is the second book by him that I've read. The first one was The Way Home which was excellent. Interestingly, while I was reading it, the list of books President Obama took with him on vacation to Martha's Vineyard was reported on and it was one of the books. Apparently Obama and I agree on at least one thing.
Pelecanos's books take place in Washington D.C. This one in the summer of 1976 when the District is preparing for the huge bicentennial celebration of July 4th. Marcus Clay and Dimitri Karras are two young men who spend most of their time talking about music, playing basketball, and getting high. They quickly find themselves in way over their heads when they inadvertently get involved in a drug deal that goes bad, finding themselves in possession of the drug dealer's drugs, cash, and girlfriend - not an ideal situation to be in. As Clay and Karras find themselves, and those close to them, being targeted for revenge, they have to make some decisions that will change the path their lives were on.
To describe this book as gritty is a little bit of an understatement. It's not the type of book I would ever recommend to my wife or her book club. Although since most if its members rarely read the actual book the majority of the time, it probably wouldn't really matter.