Samiksha Jaiswal

Hell to Pay (novel)

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Country  United States
Series  Strange and Quinn
Pages  288 pp
Author  George Pelecanos
Genre  Crime Fiction
Followed by  Soul Circus, What It Was
3.9/5 Goodreads

Language  English
Publication date  March 2002
Originally published  March 2002
Preceded by  Right as Rain
Publisher  Little, Brown and Company
Hell to Pay (novel) t0gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcRJDBr6yZu2KtbcrP
Media type  Print (hardback & paperback)
Similar  Works by George Pelecanos, Derek Strange and Terry Quinn books, Mystery books

Hell to Pay is a 2002 crime novel by George Pelecanos. It is set in Washington DC and focuses on private investigator Derek Strange and his partner Terry Quinn. It is the second novel to involve the characters and is preceded by Right as Rain (2001) and followed by Soul Circus (2003) and Hard Revolution (2004).


Plot introduction

The novel’s central plotline concerns the murder by drug dealers of a no-account deadbeat over an unpaid debt and the incidental killing of the intended victim’s nephew, starting with the killers’ efforts to locate the victim and continuing through Strange’s investigation of the murders and the killings’ repercussions in the world of the DC drug trade. Secondary plotlines involve efforts by Strange’s white associate, Terry Quinn, to locate a young girl who has disappeared into prostitution, as well as Strange’s background investigation of a potentially shady young man who is engaged to marry the beautiful daughter of Strange’s wealthy friend.


Derek Strange is an ex-cop and current private investigator. Strange has a successful business and is a lifelong resident of Washington DC.

Major themes

The novel addresses broader themes relating to crime and the status of the African-American community in DC, frequently drawing contrasts between elements of hip-hop and gangster culture today that are portrayed as destructive, and the positive, uplifting cultural expressions of the past, such as R&B and soul music of the 1960s and 1970s. Characters also exhibit an acute awareness of gentrification, racism, and economic inequality, and these issues are the subject of comment by both the characters and the narrator, as are the history of Washington, DC and the fortunes of its various sports franchises.


Hell to Pay (novel) Wikipedia

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