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SEPTEMBER 11

George Pelecanos writes Washington novels as no one else writes Washington novels. The native son fills his books with the kind of local detail that only lifelong residents know—or could possibly understand. But the D.C.-centric elements of his plots don’t seem to distract out-of-town readers, for Pelecanos’ reputation continues to grow in the world of very hard-boiled fiction. Having previously portrayed D.C. in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’80s, his latest, King Suckerman, is Pelecanos’ ’70s book. Set during the Bicentennial, it typically charts a descending course of violence, betrayal, and redemption as grim as it is mesmerizing. While reading King Suckerman, I started a list of metropolitan references that resonated in my life: the Benbow, a Dupont Circle dive long replaced by an office building, the Schwartz pharmacy, just up the block from the Benbow—now a Starbucks—the Slack Shack, ex-Redskin Roy Jefferson’s sideburns, F.O. Day construction company, which sponsored my friends’ Little League team, Country Boy, a produce stand in Wheaton popular with underage drinkers, and so many more. The deja vu became almost unbearable when Pelecanos set a drug deal on the Sligo Creek bike path I walk every week. I got really nervous when he placed a character on the same, short, little-mentioned D.C. street as a certain woman I used to know. I can’t wait for his next book, to catch up on the rest of my past. Pelecanos reads from King Suckerman—and perhaps from your life—at 7:30 p.m. at Borders, 5871 Crossroads Center Way, Baileys Crossroads. FREE. (703) 998-0404. (Dave Nuttycombe)