Admit it, everyone’s reading Pelecanos because Obama is. That’s fine. Regardless of why you open the cover, The Way Home takes hold the way an HBO series does, begging you to watch just another episode until it’s 3am and you’ve almost finished the thing. After spending some time in a DC jail (juvee), Chris Flynn starts his life over, working for his father, but can’t avoid his surroundings. Installing carpet just doesn’t seem like “making it” in Chris’ mind, or his father’s. Chris and his ultimate-loser co-worker, Ben, find $50,000 and have to deal with the consequences of not taking it. But like any film or TV-series that captures your whole awareness, beyond time or meals or the dog’s need for a walk, this story presents characters and relationships that teach something about your own. Chris and his father (Tommy) do change, slowly, the way fathers and sons do: they give up pretenses, or, at least let ideal expectations loosen a bit. They stop being angry about the similarities between them. Go ahead, in the wee hours of the morning, when you finish this book in one sitting, wonder if the president is still thinking about Chris and Tommy and Amanda, just down the street in DC.