I love a good book series. For me, the key thing about a book is having something to look forward to. Once I finish the most recent in a series, the next one can’t come along fast enough. Before I started reading horror, I cut my teeth on mysteries like The Three Investigators and The Secret Seven, not to mention the Famous Five, Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes. At a young age, the thrill of such work got my nerves going and really immersed me in the mystery laden pages. However, I had their entire back catalogues at the local/school library (many exciting lunch breaks occurred, I can tell you) so access was easy. In more recent times, with Jack Reacher, Robert Hunter and, to an extent, James Bond, the series are current. You have to wait for the next instalment…which means one thing: Finding different reoccurring characters to fill the void.
A year ago, I discovered Jack Lockwood. I now had a way of filling the gaps in my calender.
Doppelganger is the second book in the Lockwood series. Canterbury is haunted by a serial killer, nicknamed ‘The Bible Killer’. At the same time, Lockwood meets a woman, Lucy Green, who he falls in love with. Targeted by a local gangster for writing an unauthorised biography, Lockwood must navigate his love life, steer clear of his potential death and put an end to the killer’s reign of violence. However, all isn’t as it seems. It’s not long before Lockwood realises there’s more to this chain of events than first thought. And Lucy does strike a resemblance to a child killer, one who was given a new I.D some years previous…
First of all, Doppelganger is a phenomenal story. The author really knows how to craft an excellent mystery, interwoven with violence, intrigue, unpredictability, romance, and thrills. Jack Lockwood is fast becoming one of my favourite reoccurring characters. Unlike Reacher or Bond, he is a simple man with a simple past. He’s a writer and a criminal profiler. He doesn’t possess a certain set of skills or have the law on his side – specifically because of a previous novel that enraged the local police force. Constantly at battle with the law, the criminal and his own personal demons, Lockwood is a man alone, fighting the world for his very survival. It makes for riveting reading, one that pits the ordinary man against the odds. He has a rich back story too, one that develops Lockwood and explains how he became the man he is. This is an excellent cue, one that immediately connects the readers to the character.
The triple header of story lines works wonders. True, on occasion it does creak a little. Balancing three solid, excellent storylines – all of which could feature in their own novel – was always going to be tricky for any author, but Geoffrey West pulls it off. I couldnt put the book down, despite this issue, which is a testament to the authors ability. Second in a current trilogy of books – the third one will be reviewed tomorrow – but written as a stand alone with minimal reference to the first book, you can go into Doppelganger with a blind eye and still enjoy the book. I would recommend Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide first though…it’s Lockwood’s introduction…by not doing so, you are missing out. However, it prepares you for Lockwood as he goes through his most challenging test to date.
Smooth, effortlessly easy to read and filled with tension, Doppelganger is a great tale of mystery. I breezed through this and the third book, Sheer Fear, within a matter of days. Lockwood is one of those characters that has charm, wit, menace, smarts, and intrigue about him. It makes for a brilliant mystery thriller. I think back to my youth, being scared of Hound of the Baskervilles or spooked by something as simple as an empty room in The Famous Five. Simple times…but memorable ones. With West’s novels, his work reminds me of moments like these, ones that really ram home what reading is all about. I may be ageing gradually and the landscape of books might be changing every day, but with characters like these, we’ll always be reminded of the good old days. Proof that, whatever happens, novels will always have a place. If this book was in print, it would be on my shelf. Any mystery fan worth their salt deserves to read this. Highly recommended.