The Crime Writers’ Association

Gold Dagger 2010


George Pelecanos

The Way Home

Published by: Orion

Synopsis: When Thomas Flynn leaves his son, seventeen year old Chris, at Pine Ridge, a juvenile prison near Washington, D.C., his heart is broken but his mind is made up: Chris will have to pay for the mistakes he’s made. Inside, Chris is exposed to kids from a different D.C. than the comfortable one he knew – one less remote from the street fights, car chases, and marijuana deals that got him here in the first place.

A decade later, Chris and the friends he made at Pine Ridge seem reformed. Chris has a job, thanks to his father, a girlfriend, and his own apartment. But when he and the others are inadvertently caught up in a burglary, old habits and worse instincts rise to the surface, threatening this new-found stability with sudden treachery and violence.

With the drama, compassion, and urgency for which Pelecanos is celebrated, The Way Home travels the streets of Washington, D.C. and tells the story of its people, and the tensions that always linger just out of sight, circling back again and again to that clapboard house on Livingston Street where Thomas and Chris Flynn’s rocky relationship moves from distrust and scorn toward a flawed, but real, redemption.

Judges’ comments: A remarkable portrait of a blue collar family whose son is struggling to break free from his criminal past.

George Pelecanos is the author of fifteen previous crime novels set in and around the Washington area. He is also an award-winning journalist, screenwriter and producer – most recently being nominated for an Emmy award for his work as a producer, writer, and story editor on The Wire. Pelecanos lives in Maryland with his family.

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