The Double
George Pelecanos
Little, Brown 2013

Although some have compared George Pelecanos’ Spero Lucas to John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee, I really fail to see any but the most superficial connection between the two. This said, The Double, the second Spero Lucas mystery novel (there is a link to our review of the first one, The Cut, at the bottom of this page) is a very good read and George Pelecanos certainly makes you want to read more about this character. Kindle at Amazon

Spero Lucas is an Iraq war vet who does some investigative work for a Washington D.C. Attorney. This time, he has to find evidence that Calvin Bates did not murder girlfriend Edwina Christian even if all the evidence proves the contrary. His brother teaches at a local high school and he asks Spero to look into the murder of Cherise Roberts, one of his students. Finally, a barmaid friend of his tells him of a woman who had a valuable painting stolen and would like it back.

The stolen painting part of the plot is where many have stuck the McGee comparison. The problem is Spero does not bed the woman nor even comes close to offering his sexual services as a cure-all for what ails her. The only similarity is he gets a percentage of the painting’s value if he recovers it.

George Pelecanos is a very talented mystery writer and The Double is an entertaining read all the way through. Lucas is an interesting character and some of his traits, such as his involvement in the local V.A hospital are quite interesting.

The only weak point in this Pelecanos thriller is one of the cases gets wrapped up as if an afterthought though the events leading to that resolution are smartly set up.

Other George Pelecanos titles reviewed here:  A Firing Offense     The Night Gardener  Drama City  The Double