REVIEWED BY ANDREW ABRAHAMS
In 1972 three white teens go for a joyride in a black neighborhood near Washington, D.C., looking for trouble. One of the youths tosses a Hostess cherry pie—and a racial slur—out a car window at a group of local men, who retaliate with gunfire, killing one of the agitators. Thirty-five years later, Alex Pappas, an innocent passenger in the car who remains tortured by the tragic—and still murky—event, is possessed with questions about what really went down, particularly with the two African-American brothers who were at the scene of the crime. One nasty obstacle in the way of his search for truth is the sinister Charles Baker, a hardened criminal and blackmailer. The Maryland-based Pelecanos infuses this yarn with raw emotion, centering the story on the growing bond between Pappas and Raymond Monroe, one of the black men whose life was changed by the incident. And if the ending seems a bit pat, the theme of redemption rings out as loud as the gun fired on that fateful day.