Private investigator Spero Lucas returns in George Pelecanos’ powerful follow-up to The Cut. The Afghanistan veteran who finds things for people who’d like few questions and their jobs kept quiet is in search of a stolen painting. Lured in by a swindling Casanova who purloined her dignity and her valuable art, Grace Kincaid hires Lucas to reclaim what is rightfully hers. This art thief, however, has no plans to give up the piece and is prepared to take Lucas down to keep it.
As Lucas works the case, he also finds himself in a new predicament. He’s falling in love with a married woman. They’ve initiated a passionate affair, sneaking off to hotel rooms whenever she summons him. The affair is completely on her terms; she calls Lucas to satisfy her needs and despite his frustration with the arrangement, he can’t tell her no.
Through his interactions with the art thief and his mistress, as well as his continuing struggles to re-integrate into civilian life, Lucas questions who he is. The answer isn’t an easy one; Pelecanos has smudged the lines between right and wrong, and good intentions count for little, if anything.
Pelecanos’ characters dwell in the dark, underside of Washington D.C. and his tone mimics their environment. Meanwhile the beauty and strength of his writing exudes a melodic air; readers can practically hear the soulful rhythms that form the soundtracks to his characters’ complicated lives.
The Double is complex, gritty crime fiction at its best. Pelecanos shines again.
The Double is available in hardcover (ISBN: 978-0316078399) from Little, Brown. An unabridged audio version (ISBN: 9781478924760), narrated by Dion Graham, is available from Hachette Audio.