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Like the kind of cars they don't make anymore and the kind of songs they don't sing, the novels of George Pelecanos have the style, rhythm and muscle of classics. SHOEDOG is vintage Pelecanos: a tale that throbs with soul and pulsates with menace.
Constantine was born in D.C., and has been traveling the world ever since-finding everything but a home. Randolph has stayed in this city every day, selling shoes in a downtown store, taking care of ladies who lie about their sizes and sometimes fit him into their beds. Now these two strangers, one white, one black, have come together in a criminal's audacious plan. With five partners and the hit ready to go down, Constantine doesn't understand the treacheries, feuds and fantasies swirling around him-and he's fallen for a woman who only doubles his risk. But Randolph, a self-confessed "shoedog," can smell trouble a mile away. And when the shooting starts, he'll give Constantine a chance to live-or die where he was born.
Katherine walked through the lobby doors and out onto the sidewalk below. He watched her step off the curb into the wet street. A car filled with kids passed in front of her and accelerated at a puddle. Katherine stepped back and avoided the splash. She wound her straight hair back behind one ear, walking with a forced bounce in her step as she crossed the street. She slipped once on a patch of slick asphalt, the heel of her pump sliding out from under her. But she caught herself, and quickly
taken her out? He couldn’t remember, just then. Randolph pulled the right slingback from the box, put her foot on his knee, and guided the shoe onto her foot. The Haitian woman walked her shoes up to the register, where the manager, a balding, heavy-set young man, sat ringing up sales. Randolph yelled to the manager, “That’s a twenty-nine”—Randolph’s sales number—“on that one, Mr. Rick.” Randolph excused himself, content that the Panis was going to fit just fine, and walked around to the freak
her feet. Randolph said, “Eight and a half.” “What’s that?” said Constantine. “The lady wears an eight and a half. An A width, though. Tougher than a motherfucker to fit.” Randolph eyed Constantine’s denim shirt. “Speakin’ of threads, man, that outfit there—what the fuck is that your uniform?” Constantine flashed on his high school military academy and service days, chuckled to himself. “I guess so,” he said. “Too many choices, too many complications. You know what I’m saying?” “I know
said. His head hurt awfully bad. “I guess you two know what you want,” Rego said. “We’re lookin’ for somethin’ serious,” Randolph said. “I got these Chryslers,” Rego said. “They’re serious as a heart attack.” Randolph said, “Talk about it.” Rego nodded in a scholarly manner as he dragged on his cigarette. He walked over to a long, clean-lined Plymouth parked third in the row, and touched his hand gingerly to the hood, as if the hood were hot. “This Fury should do it,” Rego said.
they embraced. He kissed her on the lips. After a while, she pulled away, shook her blond hair away from her face with a toss of her head. Constantine touched his finger to the vein in Delia’s neck, felt the drum of her pulse. “Not in this place,” she said. “Okay?” “Okay,” said Constantine. He went to the bathroom, urinated, brushed his teeth, and washed his face. He combed his hair, pushed it behind his ears, and walked back out into the room. Delia stood by the window, looking down onto the