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Nick's Trip - George Pelecanos Whe a high school friend of Nick's hires him to find his missing wife, Nick takes the case and quickly finds out nothing is as it seems. While Nick looks for the wife, he also looks into the murder of a reporter friend of his. Are the two events linked? Will Nick be able to solve the cases and escape with his life?

As Nick Stefanos' life continues to side downhill, pushed by a waterfall of booze, my esteem for George Pelecanos continutes to rise. Nick's Trip, much like the previous novel, A Firing Offense, sees Nick going on a drunken road trip. This time, however, it's with his client, Billy Goodrich.

The Goodrich portion of the novel is a trip into the countryside centering around checking April Goodrich's old haunts and going up against her old boyfriend, Tommy Crane. Nick consumes an inhuman amount of booze and gradually pieces together what is going on. The other portion, finding out killed William Henry, puts Nick up against dirty cops and organized crime alike.

Much like the last book, the greatest strengths of this one are Washington DC as a setting and the characters. Nick continues his plunge toward rock bottom and I love that he works as a bartender between cases. The regulars at the Spot help drive the story forward as Nick pieces things together. I also like the side plot with Nick and Jackie Khan.

The writing is even better than in the last book. It's pretty clear that Pelecanos holds James Crumley on a pedestal, or at least did at the time this was written.

Any complaints? Not really, apart from the structure being pretty similar to the last book and there not being several hundred more Nick Stefanos books out there waiting for me to read them. Four drunken stumbling stars.