Reviewing THE WAY HOME by George Pelecanos

In the Los Angeles Times, I use George Pelecanos’s new novel as a means of writing a mini-essay about how his concerns and writing style has changed over time. Here’s how it opens:

There comes a point in a writer's career when reviewers start to look
not just at the book on the "New Releases" table in the bookstore, but
at the body of work as a whole. This sort of analysis usually happens
when the number of potential books is dwarfed by the author's previous
output; upon recent death, when literary-leaning obituarists struggle
to mine some instant legacy; or years if not decades later, when those
in the throes of rediscovery commit their ecstatic cries to page and

For crime writers, such summary judgments focus either
on specific characters — Chandler's Marlowe, Christie's Marple and
Poirot, Highsmith's Ripley — or indelible one-offs, like Eric Ambler's
"A Coffin for Dimitrios" and Dorothy B. Hughes' "In a Lonely Place."
Characters inspire loyalty, passion and debate among readers; one-offs
spur reexamination, depending on the time period of discovery.

Pelecanos, however, is a different breed, because his work is less
about specific characters and more about discrete periods…

  One caveat: I took one art class each in high school and college, both in Canada, so maybe the terminology's different up there. And for a different take on the book, <a href="">see Kevin Allman's review in today's Washington Post</a>.