Customer Reviews for

The Cut (Spero Lucas Series #1)

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Pelecanos understands the genre like Monet understood paint.

Pelecanos brings a certain poetry, a certain literary touch to the crime fiction genre. The Cut is no exception. Pelecanos understands the genre like Monet understood paint. He instinctively knows which clichés of the genre will work and which to avoid. First, the ones ...
Pelecanos brings a certain poetry, a certain literary touch to the crime fiction genre. The Cut is no exception. Pelecanos understands the genre like Monet understood paint. He instinctively knows which clichés of the genre will work and which to avoid. First, the ones he uses and uses oh, so well; Spero Lucas is, like many protagonists of crime fiction, a war veteran. He served as a Marine in Iraq and was an obvious man of action choosing to be the first in the door at `clearing houses' in the streets of Fallujah. Secondly, like Sam Spade or Philip Marlow, Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder or Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, Spero is a loner. He also maintains that ambiguous place between the cops and the criminals and has his own set of values based in common sense and not laws. And probably most important, Pelecanos' subject matter is very socially aware and pertinent in making some social issues a part of the back story i.e. a feeling of detachment of returning vets, how disabled vets get lost in society, the complicated racial relations of our nations capital, which in and of itself is a microcosm of the nation as a whole. After returning from Iraq, Spero wasn't drawn to college not being able to see himself wearing a suit and tie or bound to a desk and office. He drifted into investigative work employing a keen sense of observation that allowed him to survive the war. He writes and diagrams everything he sees in a moleskin note book or takes endless photos with his iPhone - the new gun for the 21st century detective. He also does `side jobs' finding lost or stolen property that the official authorities wouldn't bother to look for or retrieve for the owners. Oft time the owners won't even report these things because they in themselves may be illegal - unreported income, or a drug stash for instance. He preforms this for the arbitrarily arrived at fee of 40% of the value. Hence the title, The Cut. The clichés he avoids are, endless, senseless violence that only show how tough the tough guy hero is. Spero comes off as more a thinking mans tough guy with his minute analysis of everything. Yet, there is this quiet sense of menace underneath the skin. And almost a recklessness in his approach at times. He is also a very good reader of character. The author avoids the obvious cliché of too cute dialog. Instead, the dialog not only drives the character development but the story and plot. And, if nailing all the other story elements isn't enough, Pelecanos' gives a sense of place, Washington DC, that is superb. He takes you through alleys, and down streets, observes buildings, architecture, row houses and school yards, history and the seasons in detail and makes it endlessly interesting. It's a side of the city you don't see often in fiction. It's not a DC of movers and shakers and thousand dollar suits and limos. It's a city diverse in it's racial make up, rich in it small bars, night clubs and restaurants. It's a city of the homeless living in the shadows of our greatest monuments to a promised land. In short, he gives the city to average ever average everyday people. The politicians just work there.

What Pelecanos' has done is to fashion a first class crime story that stands head and shoulders above the genre and contains all the right elements to be considered literary fiction as well as popular fiction. Then he wraps it up as the opening of a series that should keep any reader ecstatic for years to come. It's a master

posted by Dirty_Lowdown on November 1, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Nothing special

Good plot but characters are too stereotypical

posted by aejsc on September 30, 2011

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    Posted September 7, 2011

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    Posted December 27, 2011

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    Posted September 15, 2011

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