David Pepose’s noir procedural concept is not only sustained in this second installment but strengthened. With tight narrative and nearly non-stop action, he has put forth a detective that is a force to be reckoned with in a world that’s almost plausible. Locke is haunted and tortured by demons past and present that may justify his elaborate delusions. He’s not evil, necessarily, but he is certainly no innocent, though perhaps he wishes he still was. He may yet find redemption if not peace, but only if he manages to capture the killer of his lady love.
Spencer and Locke is a deliberately strange story that is exciting and stands firmly on its crime story merits. It continues to draw the reader into this bare-knuckle world of thugs, strippers, and the otherwise depraved. The “what if” aspect of a surrogate grown up Calvin, works with amazing precision despite odds stacked against it. The imagination of an isolated child is mixed with some early trauma to produce a sociopathic police detective who inspires fear and sympathy. What could have been just a gimmick is the very thing that makes me enjoy this story more than I thought I would. It is this unique twist that makes this story so good.
Spencer & Locke succeeds where it has no right to do so. This issue delves deeper into the mystery adding more violence and betrayal and is more awesome for the effort. Not only has Pepose pulled off an amazing stunt, Santiago is right there with him seamlessly weaving the real and the unreal, the Sunday Funnies and the grotesque pulp fiction to produce something outstanding.