Lorenzo Brown loves his work. As an officer for the Humane Society, it is his job to cruise the city streets looking for dogs that are being mistreated: underfed, unclean, trained to kill. He takes pride in making their lives better. And that pride helps Lorenzo resist the pull of easier money doing the kind of work that got him a recent prison bid. Rachel Lopez loves her work, too. By day she is a parole officer, helping people, Lorenzo Brown among them, along a path back to responsibility and advancement. At night she heads for the city's hotel bars, where she can always find a man who will let her act out her damage. She loses herself in sex and drink and more.
But Rachel's nights are taking a toll on her days. Lorenzo knows the signs. The trouble is, he truly needs her right now. There is an eruption coming in the streets he's left behind, the kind of territorial war that takes down everyone even near it. Lorenzo needs every shred of support he can get to keep from getting sucked back into that battleground. He reaches out to Rachel, but she may be too far gone to help either of them.
Writing with the grace and force that have earned him praise as "the poet laureate of the crime world", George Pelecanos has created a novel about two scarred and human people who must navigate one of life's most brutal passages. It is an unforgettable, moving, even shocking story that will leave no reader unchanged.
"A red-hot book....This story is so well constructed that it creates enormous suspense about the prospect of disaster." (The New York Times)
"What Pelecanos does best is to expose the vulnerabilities of his characters, the parts of themselves they hide from the world." (Booklist)
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