Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Way Home

Reform. George Pelecanos has a message for readers of his new novel, The Way Home: the juvenile criminal justice system needs to change. To deliver the message, Pelecanos creates 26-year-old protagonist Chris Flynn, who after spending time in juvenile detention, now works for his father as a carpet installer. A wider cast of characters include former offenders, and Pelecanos’ description of the trajectory of different lives reveals the shortcomings of the system. The father-son relationship Pelecanos presents seemed shallow and predictable to me. Most of the characters were so one-dimensional that they strained any credibility. Much of the plot is thrilling and will keep many readers engaged. The setting in and around Washington, D.C. will appeal to many readers. I found the plot too implausible at enough points to actually laugh at some of the action. The Way Home provides entertainment with an agenda; the result is less entertaining than most readers would want to receive from an action novel.

Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)

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