Tonally and thematically reminiscent of the work of Donald Goines, this brutally realistic urban novel revolves around the complicated relationship between a “big-time pimp” and the detective who put him in jail 15 years earlier.
Now a free man after doing his time, Anthony “AD” Davis finds that the Seattle streets have changed—they’re essentially ruled by gun-toting, crack-slinging gangbangers. But after purchasing a new pair of shoes and a suitable car, the pimp re-establishes himself in short order. AD’s release from prison hasn’t gone unnoticed, however. George Pratt, a detective in Seattle’s Prostitute and Sex Crimes Squad, is following his every move. While AD builds his stable by indoctrinating drug-addicted prostitutes and young runaways, Pratt’s personal life unravels, as his daughter is killed in a car accident and his wife leaves him. When Pratt’s young partner asks about his obsession with the pimp, he’s less than forthcoming; in fact, the pasts and futures of AD and Pratt are inexplicably linked, and a bloody resolution is looming. Ultimately, the power of this novel comes mainly from the characterization of AD, an intriguing, contradictory man who, although detestable in many ways, lives a deeply contemplative life. His philosophical one-liners throughout are often profound: “I think you should chart a path before you decide on a destination.” Many chapters are just a few paragraphs long, and it would have been interesting and insightful to read more about AD’s childhood so as to understand what shaped him as a boy. Nonetheless, it’s a highly entertaining read, like a 21st-century Daddy Cool (1974).
Violent and visceral but also replete with social commentary and existential wisdom.