Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review of "The Double" [44]

The Double: Spero Lucas by George Pelecanos
Little, Brown and Company, ISBN 978-0316078399
October 8, 2013, 304 pages

"The job seems simple enough: retrieve the valuable painting--"The Double"--Grace Kinkaid's ex-boyfriend stole from her. It's the sort of thing Spero Lucas specializes in: finding what's missing, and doing it quietly. But Grace wants more. She wants Lucas to find the man who humiliated her--a violent career criminal with a small gang of brutal thugs at his beck and call.
Lucas is a man who knows how to get what he wants, whether it's a thief on the run--or a married woman.
In the midst of a steamy, passionate love affair that he knows can't last, in pursuit of a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, Lucas is forced to decide what kind of man he is--and how far he'll go to get what he wants"
Poor Lucas is a soldier without a war, an ex- military man who can't quite put the military behind him. His mother would love for him to go back to college, but that isn't going to happen. And I don't see him in a desk job anytime soon, with a suit and tie. No, Spero is building a different sort of life for himself.

He spends a lot of time cycling around the Washington, D.C. Area or taking his kayak out on the many nearby waterways. He is one very fit ex-marine and lucky that he is or he would probably be dead by now, all the physical confrontations he gets involved in. He is a blue collar guy. Dressing up is a shirt with buttons and something other than his work boots. He makes part of his living doing investigative work for an area lawyer, but his really area is expertise is finding lost things, for which he takes a 40% commission. That is a big percentage, but he is worth it. Usually the jobs are impossible enough and dangerous enough..and often maybe not quite people are willing to pay. And Spero Lucas is a man willing to do what he has too, to get the job done. It often isn't nice. Yes, once again he is forced to decide just how far he will go to right what he sees as a wrong. In chasing the man who befriended Grace...then stole her very valuable and sentimental painting...he has a worth adversely, a handsome and charming beast. Heavy on the Beast.

Now, if you know Lucas, you might suspect he is having a bit of an issue with the ladies as well. Lucas like the ladies and the ladies like Lucas and he tends to, shall we say, keep himself busy with things he likes. In this case it is with a married woman who just wants him for his body and a great roll in the hay. Many men might not consider that a problem, but you see, our dear boy has fallen in love and you have to think this is not going to turn out well for Lucas.

Back in this book, the second in the series after The Cut, are a few of Lucas's ex-military buddies, all of whom, like Lucas, do not seem to be adapting 100%. They are, to him, brothers and Lucas tries  to find a few tasks to keep their minds off their problems. And we have the reappearance of one of Lucas four siblings in this book. It is an interesting family, four kids, two white, two black, three of which, including himself were adopted by the Greek American couple. He is a good son and goes to visit his widowed mom, often meeting up with the one good sibling, his brother Leo, a schoolteacher, who is probably also his best friend and a moral sounding board.

You may know Pelecanos from his work on the TV show The Wire, for which he was a writer and the producer and there are some similarities. Washington steps in for Baltimore, but this is still a world of drugs and thugs, young girls selling themselves on the street, lots of bad, lots of sad people. But it is not quite as grim as The Wire was, maybe largely because Lucas is really a deep and sensitive guy. A thinker. In between the shooting and the beating and such...
He is a work in progress, trying to find a place for himself in this world and if you have read The Cut, you will see he is making some progress. And riding along with Lucas on his bike you will get a great tour of D.C. as well, its bike paths and waterways, its restaurants and bad and neighborhoods, the good and the not so good, which is always interesting.

Another very good book from a very good writer.
Run out and pre-order a copy right now before you forget!

My thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.


  1. Can't wait to read this - I love Pelecanos in spite of the fact that I have to respell his name every time I try to type it! :--)

  2. I picked up a copy at BEA -- now to get to it!!!!

  3. I'm very excited about this book!!


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