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Publisher's Summary

From writer and producer of HBO's The Wire and The Deuce comes one of the most critically acclaimed crime novels of the year.

Anna Byrne is a jailhouse librarian. In a place where hope is hard to find, the power of books can be a light in the dark. For some of the prisoners, her work is life-changing.

Like Michael Hudson, her best student, who's been locked up awaiting trial before his sudden release. He's relieved to be free - to 'come uptown', as they say - but can't shake the question: why is the witness who put him behind bars suddenly refusing to testify? There's a man who might have the answer, but he wants something first. 

Phil Ornazian is a private investigator who moonlights as a petty criminal. He's not exactly proud of it, but times are hard in Washington, DC. People have to change to survive or die trying.

But everything comes at a price, and at some point everyone has to pay....

©2018 George Pelecanos (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

"He is, quite simply, among America's finest crime writers. This latest story does not disappoint...lyrical, beautifully observed and constantly surprising, it is a delight." (Daily Mail)

"In his first novel for five years, Pelecanos demonstrates why he deserves to be regarded as one of the best American crime novelists... It's a moving tale, beautifully told." (The Times)

What listeners say about The Man Who Came Uptown

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A great American thriller ..

Ken Follett recommended this in a youtube interview.
Pelecanos is the writer of TV dramas esp The Wire, Treme & The Deuce. He is a writer of smart literate crime fiction based around Washington DC. The dialogue is a joy, the stripped-down, soulful black prose.
This book deals with moral ambiguity and authentically flawed characters. The author is very big on the redemptive power of books. Going Uptown means getting out of prison, Michael Hudson is introduced to books and book discussions in prison by the mobile librarian Miss Anna.
Michael gets out thanks to the other central character Phil Ornazian, a DC private investigator, who loves his wife and 2 kids, but has a taste for vigilante justice. Together with retired cop Thaddeus Ward they take on pimps who treat their prostitutes badly, guys who traffic young girls and neo-Nazi thugs who descend upon suburban parties.
I finished this 8hr in 1 day.
Very enjoyable addictive listen. Highly recommend.

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  • David from Edinburgh
  • 17-02-2020

More than a thriller

This author deserves a wider audience. The plot, characterisation and description are all first class. There is a moral to this tale.

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  • Mark
  • 01-04-2019

Morality Play

I love the work of George Pelecanos and this has many of the ingredients that make him so great - a solid plot, great dialogue and excellent references to popular culture especially music and cars. It is very strong on the redemptive power of literature (without actually saying why) so we assume that reading is good (which it is) and makes people better (which it might - but it is not proven).
On the downside, I found the reading a little wooden and the female English accent appalling so perhaps a better read than listen.

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