Lorenzo Brown is fresh out of the clink. The former drug enforcer has vowed to go straight and found himself a job as an officer for the Humane Society. He patrols downtown DC looking for ill-treated pets - but in the course of his day repeatedly comes face-to-face with his old life. Rachel Lopez is an attractive young probation officer. Brown is one of her clients but also fast becoming one of her friends - perhaps he is one that can be saved. Nigel Johnson is a smart young drug-dealer on the make. He has plans to make a lot of money AND stay alive to spend it. He already runs his neighbourhood but doesn't realise that he stands on the brink of a vicious turf war which could destroy him. From these basic players, Pelecanos weaves and amazing new novel, one that defines a generation of black, Hispanic and white Americans fighting - literally - for their lives.