A FIRING OFFENSE
Meet Nick Stefanos, hard-drinking, heavy-metal-loving D.C. appliance salesman who talks so much like a private eye that stockboy Jimmy Broda's grandfather insists that he find the missing boy, who was fired after he stopped showing up for work--and who was last seen with novice druggie Eddie "Redman" Shultz and dangerously experienced Kim Lazarus. Despite Nick's marathon sessions with drink, drugs, and women, the seamiest stuff goes down on the retail floor of Nutty Nathan's, a milieu that Pelecanos limns with such tell-all relish that it's obvious Jimmy's troubles stem from his job--and it's a shame (though no surprise) that, by the time this loosely plotted tale has run its course, Nick has left retail for the comparatively wholesome world of the professional shamus. Nick's as robust as his mystery is anemic. This debut is promising--but better wait for Pelecanos to throw better stuff.