Caught In Passing...

Jack LaDuke
Created by George Pelecanos

When we first meet sad sack private eye JACK LaDUKE in the novel Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go, he is foiled in an attempt to intimidate alcoholic bartender and occasional private detective Nick Stefanos. He then amuses Stefanos by handing him a business card with an actual eye logo printed on it. Nevertheless, Stefanos and LaDuke agree to team up in an attempt to solve a murder of a young black kid that Stefanos sort of witnessed while in the throes of an alcoholic stupor. Stefanos refers to LaDuke as "Pretty Boy," but comes to find out that his partner is carrying heavy baggage, having been sexually abused as a child by his own father. At the end of the novel, LaDuke is transformed both psychologically and physically.

Down by the River might be the best of the many fine Pelecanos novels. LaDuke is certainly one of his most interesting supporting characters. Here's hoping that someday Pelecanos will bring LaDuke back for an adventure of his own.


Respectfully submitted by Brian D. Rubendall.

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