Derek Strange is a rookie cop, the job he’s dreamed of since he was a boy. His brother, Dennis, has not been as fortunate; home from the service with a disability pension and zero prospects, he is man with good intentions but bad habits. Derek has always looked out for Dennis, but no amount of brotherly love can save him from the dangerous world of Alvin Jones, a local bottom-feeder, hustler, and stone killer who draws him into his web of violence.
While the rookie cop navigates the rocky terrain of a city in turmoil, a family in crisis, and his love for a woman he has driven away, Frank Vaughn, a cop at the opposite end of his career, investigates the vicious hit and run of a young black man. Vaughn’s personal life is a shambles, but he’s good police; he pursues the killers with sharklike intent. Meanwhile, in Memphis, a prophet is murdered, igniting a volcanic chain of events that will leave the nation’s capital burned, divided, and decimated, forever changing the lives of its working-class inhabitants.
Two cops struggling to do their jobs against the backdrop of a violent uprising: Their paths collide in the middle of a full-fury revolution, in an electrifying climax to the most powerful book yet from George Pelecanos, “the poet laureate of the D.C. crime world” (Esquire), who “writes with intelligence and complexity, as well as with a sober recognition of the evil at large in the world” (Washington Post).