The acclaimed George Pelecanos has just published his new thriller, The Double. Harry Guerin finds out whether it ranks with the author's classics.
Nineteen books into a brilliant crime-writing career, Washington DC chronicler George Pelecanos and his fans have reached that most unwanted of milestones: his first average read.
A tale of stolen art, wartime scars and vigilante justice, The Double is the second outing for Pelecanos' latest creation, Spero Lucas. The Iraq veteran turned private eye initially appeared able to compartmentalise his wartime experiences, but he is now hungrier for risk - and closer to the edge.
Like all Pelecanos heroes, Lucas has plenty of depth and charisma, but he is let down here by his love interest, his nemesis and the showdowns involving each.
While the social and political commentary (Pelecanos has written for both The Wire and Treme) is as sharp and insightful as ever, the thrills pale when compared to such Pelecanos classics as his DC Quartet and Hard Revolution - and even the first Lucas adventure, The Cut.
The next case feels make or break for the character.