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Extended Audio Sample Hard Revolution: A Novel Audiobook, by George P. Pelecanos Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,021 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: George P. Pelecanos Narrator: Lance Reddick Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Derek Strange and Terry Quinn Series Release Date: August 2005 ISBN: 9781594832345
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It was a time when cars came dressed in chrome, white girls followed the Supremes, and a man in Memphis brandished a gun. On the streets of DC, where once people of all creeds and colors managed to live together, a tide of anger and confusion is taking young men in its wake.

Derek Strange is a rookie cop, the job he’s dreamed of since he was a boy. His brother, Dennis, has not been as fortunate; home from the service with a disability pension and zero prospects, he is a man with good intentions but bad habits. Derek has always looked out for Dennis, but no amount of brotherly love can save him from the dangerous world of Alvin Jones, a local bottom-feeder, hustler, and killer who draws him into his web of violence.

While the rookie cop navigates the rocky terrain of a city in turmoil, a family in crisis, and his love for a woman he has driven away, Frank Vaughn, a cop at the opposite end of his career, investigates the vicious hit-and-run of a young black man. Vaughn’s personal life is in shambles, but he’s good police; he pursues the killers with shark-like intent. Meanwhile, in Memphis, a prophet is murdered, igniting a volcanic chain of events that will leave the nation’s capital burned, divided, and decimated, forever changing the lives of its working-class inhabitants.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Mr. Pelecanos writes clean, tight, cogent prose with a heartfelt urgency. However convenient the story’s timing may be, it packs a serious punch.”

    New York Times

  • “No one who lives in this city and reads fiction and cares about the world we live in can afford not to read these books. They are reports from front lines that are only a few miles away, unblinking looks at a reality that is all around us, that perhaps we think we have known for years, and yet most often we have never really known at all.”

    Washington Post

  • “Pelecanos’ foray into Strange’s past does not in the end diminish, but rather adds to, our sense of his complexity and humanity…He never loses his delicate, personal touch.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Pelecanos’ vivid, astute, and meaningful narrative makes Hard Revolution an accomplished study of a culture tearing itself to pieces in the face of major social change…It’s a true testament to Pelecanos’ skill that no single plot element or story thread…outweighs the others. He uses his adept noir sensibility to further define personal tragedy and its greater symbolic meaning.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “Pelecanos has been justly celebrated for his noir sensibility and his gritty portraits of the streets of Washington, DC, but he hasn’t been recognized for what may be his greatest achievement: redefining the art of writing serial fiction.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Written in rich, observant prose, the novel is a brilliant study of a society tearing apart as racial tensions escalate after the King killing; no wonder some observers have pointed to Pelecanos as the kind of thriller writer who should be nominated for a National Book Award.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “As with the previous Strange works, this is a superior crime novel from one of the genre’s outstanding writers. Recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • A 2005 Barry Award Finalist for Best Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 2/19/2014

    " Pelecanos -master of American crime- but also I love the way he documents his novels and this one is a must for all those interested in the 60s era "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 2/19/2014

    " A really satisfying prequel - after 3 books of following Derek Strange in the current day, without really getting too much of his history, this look at his youth and brief time in MPD during the post King race riots of 1968 is most welcome. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 2/17/2014

    " Pretty cool - DC set against the back drop of the '68 riots. A little heavy on the focus on cars, but it was cool to read about places I know. My first Pellacanos book - he was one of the writers for the Wire. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eddy Allen | 2/16/2014

    " "Derek Strange is a rookie cop, the job he's dreamed of since he was a boy. His brother, Dennis, has not been as fortunate; home from the service with a disability pension and zero prospects, he is a man with good intentions but bad habits. Derek has always looked out for Dennis, but no amount of brotherly love can save him from the dangerous world of Alvin Jones, a local bottom-feeder, hustler, and stone killer who draws him into his web of violence." While the rookie cop navigates the rocky terrain of a city in turmoil, a family in crisis, and his love for a woman he has driven away, Frank Vaughn, a cop at the opposite end of his career, investigates the vicious hit-and-run of a young black man. Vaughn's personal life is a shambles, but he's good police; he pursues the killers with sharklike intent. Meanwhile, in Memphis, a prophet is murdered, igniting a volcanic chain of events that will leave the nation's capital burned, divided, and decimated, forever changing the lives of its working-class inhabitants. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carlito Virina | 1/26/2014

    " Derek Strange in his youth as a rookie cop in the turbulent 60s. engaging story and colorful characters. sharp, witty dialogue as always. Pelecanos delivers yet again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 MentorPublicLibrary | 1/25/2014

    " Fast-paced street crime thriller. The author is amazing with his knowledge of 1960s clubs, streets, news events, musicians and songs. He must have done a lot of research. It feels like a lot of characters sometimes and jumping back and forth between them but I couldn't wait to find out what was going on with the other characters. It really kept my attention. I want to try his other books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack Goodstein | 1/17/2014

    " Derek Strange as a young man, becomes a cop, gets caught up in the riots after MLK's assassination and a couple of murders for good measure. Pelecanos is really fond of musical references and cars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 CT | 11/6/2013

    " Slow going and not as good as Right As Rain. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melodie | 9/28/2013

    " One of the very best books I've read in recent years. Pelecanos know D.C. and can tell a story like no one else. I went to a signing he did when this book came out and he gave out CDs with music from the time period in which the book is set. It was a great soundtrack to have on while reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shavonne | 9/25/2013

    " Good book, connected a lot of dots "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wilhelmina | 9/17/2013

    " This is the brilliant George Pelecanos at his absolute best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia | 5/27/2013

    " Great for reading about real places in DC and for learning more about the 1968 riots. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy | 2/1/2013

    " Pelecanos. Each of his books opens up a new dimension of DC. Hard Revolution, set in the 1950s and 60s, gives an added appreciation for the place through the unique context of time and history, while keeping the characters and storytelling as sharp as ever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 12/24/2012

    " Especially impressed by the blow-by-blow account of the DC riots following the 1968 murder of Dr. Martin Luther King. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 11/19/2012

    " GOOD READ..... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia Brooks | 11/16/2012

    " I have fallen down a George Pelecanos wormhole and I never want to get out... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 10/29/2012

    " A little too much in here about cars and music of the 60s but George writes great potboilers about the DC area and this one is no different. It's lead up to the district riots after MLK's assassination is educational as well as suspenseful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren Sandler | 6/7/2012

    " Brother gets a bit heavy handed at times, and needs to be a bit more selective about his florid references to every deep cut on DC radio, but man I was taken with this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 6/5/2012

    " this is a prequel to pelecanos' tremendous strange/quinn series of books, and takes place in DC in 1968. i'd recommend reading the books in their proper sequence, and as always, i'd recommend any pelecanos book (except "shoedog") without reservation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alex | 5/12/2012

    " Fantastic! Like James Ellroy's novels, this is a crime novel which transcends merely being a genre novel and is real literature. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy Day | 2/10/2012

    " He's just an amazingly good crime writer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 12/15/2011

    " My absolute favorite George EVER. And I love George. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Vickie | 8/23/2011

    " First time reading this author...read so many good reviews about his writing...not crazy at all about the book and I am about halfway through. Not going to get back to this...for all the great praise about the author i just could not get into it at all. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Geni | 5/13/2011

    " After a couple of tries, I have concluded I am simply not a fan of George Pelecanos's fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan | 4/20/2011

    " Loved the story, even though it was fiction it was well researched and spoke of the time in DC before and after the riots of the late 60's "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 4/17/2011

    " Lived through the late '60's in the San Francisco bay area. For me the book was an interesting portrayal of events on right coast at a time that stands out in my memory. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 9/26/2010

    " An exellent portrait of Washington DC in the 1960s leading up to the riots. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mr. | 6/17/2010

    " George Pelecanos is a fantabulous storyteller and this book was very exciting and entertaining! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 3/24/2010

    " A little too much in here about cars and music of the 60s but George writes great potboilers about the DC area and this one is no different. It's lead up to the district riots after MLK's assassination is educational as well as suspenseful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 1/15/2010

    " Pelacanos is more than a mystery writer. This is the second of his books that I've read. In each, he has taken me more deeply into the characters and their cultures than I ever expected. Each was very well written and, in the end, I had learned something. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gregtrob | 11/19/2009

    " I had issues with this book, just due to having read books later on that had some of the characters from this one. All in all an excellent read as expected from Pelecanos. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Art | 10/22/2009

    " A little heavy-handed in its commentary on family and on fathers and sons, but still gripping and challenging -- both evocative and provocative in its look at DC in the midst of the Civil Rights Era. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 10/10/2009

    " A really satisfying prequel - after 3 books of following Derek Strange in the current day, without really getting too much of his history, this look at his youth and brief time in MPD during the post King race riots of 1968 is most welcome.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 9/7/2009

    " I probably could have done without the "prologue" chapters taking place nine years before the main bulk of the novel. However, the plot, action, perspectives etc. are handled so deftly, particularly during the second half of the book, this became one of my favorite Pelecanos novels. "

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About the Author

George Pelecanos is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels set in and around Washington, DC. His works have earned him the Raymond Chandler Award in Italy, the Falcon Award in Japan, and the Grand Prix Du Roman Noir in France. He is also an independent-film producer, an essayist, and a producer and Emmy-nominated writer of the HBO hit series The Wire. He currently writes for the acclaimed HBO series Treme. He lives with his family in Silver Spring, Maryland.