The Man Who Came Uptown

Mulholland: Little, Brown. Sept. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9780316479820. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316479813. F
OrangeReviewStarA love letter to the power of reading and small acts of kindness, this novel focuses on Michael Hudson, a young man who discovers his passion for reading while awaiting sentencing on a gun charge. The charges are eventually dropped, and Michael returns to his Washington, DC, home, resolved to stay out of prison and build a better life. The private detective who helped with his case has other ideas, and the tension of the novel is whether Michael can extricate himself from the crooked path the detective is planning for him. A quick read, but not slight, this story deftly touches on issues of friendship, gentrification, human trafficking, the resurgence of white supremacy, and what it means to cross a moral line. As with all novels by Pelecanos (The Cut; Right as Rain), the characters, even the minor ones, are intriguing and could be spun off into their own novels. As a bonus, through the actions of prison librarian Anna, the book also serves to provide excellent readers' advisory on a wide variety of fiction.
VERDICT For readers who enjoy mysteries for their atmosphere and social commentary, this work does not disappoint.
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