“Drama City” by George Pelecanos is the story of Lorenzo Brown, a Humane Society animal control officer, and Rachel Lopez, his parole officer. Such a simple sentence to sum up this work by Pelecanos does not do the book justice. The story is so much more. Originally written in 2005, the themes and lessons are as germane now as in 2005.
Lorenzo Brown is a man with a past that only haunts the edges of his post incarceration existence. His best friend from his early days is one of the local drug lords in Washington D.C. Even though he maintains a distant, but friendly relationship with this kingpin, Lorenzo sticks to his new, clean lifestyle which is checked regularly by his parole officer, Rachel Lopez.
Rachel Lopez is a woman who lives to work. Her job is her life since her personal life is rife with alcohol and sex addictions. She is vigilant regarding her parolees and concerned about their lives. Throughout the book, she remains guilt-ridden with her own behavior, but comes out of her self-destructive nights ready for another day on the job.
When the three worlds of Lorenzo Brown, his kingpin friend, and Rachel Lopez collide, a violent kid from the streets brings everything to a screeching halt.
Pelecanos taps into D.C.’s heart and pulls out a story that could have been related to him as truth or pulled from the headlines. He captures the dialogue and culture of his subjects well, bringing the reader to a front seat in the theater of real life.
“Drama City” is masterfully plotted. Pelecanos has put together a wonderfully realistic story with characters that jump off the page, inhabiting his plot and his fictionalized version of D.C. I highly recommend “Drama City” for your reading list. Whether you’re into street fiction or not, this is sure to be a book you will enjoy. I give “Drama City” five flags!