Book 1, in the Spero Lucas series
This book sets off a new series for George Pelecanos and my first experience with the author. It features Spero Lucas, a 29 year old veteran of the Iraq War, a tough guy on the outside and tender in the inside trying to make a living as a freelance private investigator, wanders the most dangerous blocks of Washington D.C., eats at its tastiest restaurant and drinks at all the local bars. He also does side jobs finding lost and stolen property that the official authorities wouldn't bother to look for or retrieve for the owners for the arbitrarily fee of 40%.
The story opens slowly and keeps that pace throughout the mystery. Lucas is hired by Tom Patersen, a criminal defense attorney he works for on regular bases, to look into the case of a couple of kids arrested for stealing a fancy car. Armed with a pen, a notebook, a smartphone and a gun without a serial number Lucas sets up to clear their names. He gets them off and subsequently gets into the good graces of the father of one, Anwan Hawkins, a noted drug dealer up on trafficking charges. Lucas agrees to also help him and find what has happened with a drug shipment gone bad. As Lucas chases down the stolen drugs and navigates through D.C. violent underbelly and inevitably gets tangle up in a world of thieves, gangsters, crooked cops and hit men.
The story is sparsely written and has top notch dialogue but the plot and the characters never thoroughly grab my total attention and failed to keep me fully captivated. Lucas doesn't seem real, he never do recon of crime scenes, spends his time biking, kayaking, working out, drinking, eating and is every women cat’s meow. The only action is when he starts fighting the bad guys and never is he in any short of danger. The story lack climatic effects expected in shootouts and by the time the last chapters come the twists become nonsensical and I lost interest and got extremely bored…..I was happy to see the end….this mystery was definitely not for me..