The Double by George Pelecanos
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While trying to clear a man for the murder of his mistress, Spero Lucas takes on another case, the case of a painting stolen by a woman's former lover. Further complicating things is a love affair Spero is having with a married woman. Can Spero recover The Double and survive his new lady love with his health intact?
First, the official business. I got this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for reviewing it. This new Kindle is quickly paying for itself.
The first Spero Lucas book, The Cut, was also my first George Pelecanos. Since then, I've read the Nick Stefanos trilogy and the first two books in the DC Quartet. Pelecanos really does like his heroes damaged, doesn't he?
As in the first book, Spero Lucas is a Gulf War vet with some trouble adjusting to civilian life. He makes his living recovering stolen property for people in exchange for 40% of the value. The Double, the painting of the title, will net him 80 large should he manage to recover it. That's a thick slice of pizza. The addition of his love affair with Charlotte really sets this one above most other detective stories. When a ladies man like Spero falls for a woman, he falls hard. I found myself empathizing with him while he was waiting for her to call him.
The villains of the piece, Billy Hunter and his cronies, were reprehensible pieces of garbage and I couldn't wait for Spero to catch up with them. The thing that keeps this from becoming a mindless actionfest is that Spero has a lot of soul searching moments and a lot more baggage from his time as a marine than originally displayed. Not that he can't dish out the violence. The final fist fight in this one is among the most brutal I've ever read.
The Double was a little lighter on musical references but it still hit all the sweet spots for me and my unconventional tastes, namely Ernest Ranglin and numerous mentions of dub records. I like that Pelecanos brought back much of the supporting cast of the first book. I'll be sad once he starts picking them off.
To sum up, I liked this just as much as the The Cut. It's top notch and I'm ready for another Spero Lucas novel. Get writing, George!
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