The job seems simple enough: retrieve the valuable painting--"The Double"--Grace Kinkaid's ex-boyfriend stole from her. It's the sort of thing Spero Lucas specializes in: finding what's missing, and doing it quietly. But Grace wants more. She wants Lucas to find the man who humiliated her--a violent career criminal with a small gang of brutal thugs at his beck and call.

Lucas is a man who knows how to get what he wants, whether it's a thief on the run--or a married woman. In the midst of a steamy, passionate love affair that he knows can't last, in pursuit of a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, Lucas is forced to decide what kind of man he is--and how far he'll go to get what he wants.

George Pelecanos came through town the other day on a publicity tour for his new novel The Double (9780316078399). Between TV and print interview appointments he found time to come by the Manda offices and talk to us about the book and what went into writing it.

Sitting around the table, one thing that we all agreed upon was how real this book feels. This is in part due to the fact that Pelecanos is a native of Washington DC, the same city that the book is set in. Gone are the typical descriptions of large ivory buildings gleaming in the sun, and plots about insider politics running rampant everywhere. In their place are descriptions of a Washington not often seen on TV, or read about in books; a different side of a city that readers might think they know. They get to see a Washington conveyed through and brought to life by Pelecanos' acute familiarity. They also see a different side of investigator Spero Lucas, a character that time and time again, they might think that they know. That it is difficult to guess what the P.I. is going to do next is definitely another reason why this book feels so real. Pelecanos is not dealing in cliches, and readers are treated to a real character moving through and working in a real city.

Perhaps this is why Stephen King has told Entertainment Weekly that Pelecanos is "Perhaps the greatest living American crime writer." It could also be the fact that Pelecanos doesn't milk his characters simply because he knows people will read them. If he has nowhere else to go with a character he retires them and moves on. In the case of Lucas, Pelecanos seems as interested in him as the reader is, and it certainly keeps things interesting. Lucas is not your typical hero, and this is not your typical crime novel. At times disturbing, at others erotic, and always exciting, this is one novel that will leave you wanting more. Hopefully Pelecanos doesn't tire of Lucas before we do!

If readers are interested in following Spero Lucas from the start, he first appears in George Pelecanos' The Cut.

"It's astonishing all the good stuff Pelecanos can pack into one unpretentious book: meaty substance, multiple story lines, vital characters, choice dialogue and all those descriptive details ... that make the story so rich." (New York Times).

"Pelecanos' work has antecedents in the books and films of Richard Stark (Donald Westlake), John D. MacDonald, Elmore Leonard and Don Siegel but also a spooky magic all his own - thanks to the utter believability he maintains."  (Wall Street Journal).