Audio Books: ‘The Night Gardener’

The Night Gardener,” by George Pelecanos. Read by the author. Abridged, 6 hours. Hachette Audio. $29.98.

Pelecanos is on familiar turf with police, death and Washington, D.C. Three cops who worked a 1985 homicide scene, in which a body was left in a community garden (thus the title), are reunited 20 years later, when a similar case surfaces.

The time jump offers an intriguing look at how police officers have changed. The star detective retired as the crack epidemic exploded. One of the rookies made homicide detective, while the other drives limousines, having quit the force under a cloud of suspicion. What also makes this novel stand out is the home life of Detective Gus Ramone. Married to a black woman, he worries about the racism and crime his teenage son faces. They have a tough and touching relationship of mutual respect that allows them to be honest with each other.

As a reader, Pelecanos is straightforward and doesn’t affect any accents, which intensifies the drama of cops doing difficult work.

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