The Fifth Risk
I’ll read anything Michael Lewis publishes, even the minor works, like this one that examines what happens in the institutions of government when the new leaders not only disdain the institutions, but are also entirely incompetent. A brisk narrative telling celebrating the important of bureaucrats, and the power they hold, and how attacking them, without a clear plan for what to do instead is foolish and dangerous.
A lot of Trump era D.C. books are fearmongering and unhelpful, this one is neither. There’s real insight here in how government works, and how it could be better. Worth reading for that alone.
Hell to Pay: A Derek Strange Novel (Derek Strange Novels)
The second book in Pelecanos’s series about P.I. Derek Strange and his sidekick Terry Quinn. Probably even better than the first, this one has less silly shoot ‘em up scenes and more of the grime that is crime in South East D.C. as well as more development of the deeply troubled Quinn and the only slightly more together Strange.
As I’ve written many times before, crime novels are about crime like playboy is about the articles. It needs to be there to be, but it isn’t the part that matters. Crime novels are really about two things — the protagonist and place. Pelecanos does a great job with both, creating believable fucked up barely holding it together cops and showing us D.C. as it is – segregated, largely poor, mostly black, undemocratic, and violent. The writing here is so good you can see why Pelecanos was pulled into the David Simon writing machine for both the Wire and Treme.
Recommended for the enthusiast.