Read: The Double by George Pelecanos, 2013, 9780316078399.
Pretty good. Straightforward storytelling. Second novel with Spero Lucas. Lucas is a combat veteran of Fallujah and his post-marine adjustment is mixed. He is living the dream life of a deployed Marine: lots of women, a job where he sets his own hours, drinking and smoking dope, lots of exercise on his bicycle and kayak. Lucas is still looking for meaning and excitement.
Lucas still does hourly investigative work for a local defense attorney. He makes even more by taking off-the-books private jobs for people. Lucas collects 40% of the item's value. The last novel, The Cut, had Lucas hunting down missing drug money. This story has him recovering a valuable painting worth $200,000.
Lucas has to track down a con man who stole the painting. The con man is a sociopath and works various scams and robberies with two other guys. Lucas also visits with his brother and mother, starts an affair with a married woman, visits with fellow combat veterans.
Lucas makes some violent decisions and rationalizes them. He needs the excitement and danger. People recognize he is not doing so well. Lucas disagrees, he's fine. His brother talks to him. His attorney friend talks to him. His married liaison talks to him. His mother talks to him. A VA psychiatrist tries to get him to come in for an appointment. Lucas says, "I'm fine."
Lucas ends up killing two guys to recover the painting. Lucas plans to kill a man who murdered one of his brother's high school students. Lucas saps the guy in an alley and sticks a handgun in the guy's mouth. Lucas stops himself. Lucas wonders if he is like the sociopath he killed to recover the painting. Lucas goes home. Lucas considers kissing the pistol muzzle.
1. Discussions between Spero and his combat pals. Men from his unit have taken different paths. Some are living healthy and succesfully. Others are struggling. One guy just wants a freaking job. Another illegally deals guns. Lucas pursues women.
2. Glock with a safety. Argh.
3. Car love.
4. D.C. love. Restaurants, neighborhoods, streets, intersections, local history, local personalities.
5. The missing painting is entitled The Double. Two men side by side are the same man. The painting owner mentions this to Spero, she sees the same in him. He is split.
EDIT 6. Something I remembered. Importance of muscle. A young guy-military focus on muscle. Pump up your guns. Don't forget your leg workout, build some power below the waist. Spero notices these things on others.