The Cut (Spero Lucas Series #1)

The Cut (Spero Lucas Series #1)

by George Pelecanos
3.7 40


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The Cut (Spero Lucas Series #1) by George Pelecanos

Crime fiction writer George Pelecanos introduces Spero Lucas, an anti-hero making his place in the world one battle at a time. Includes a bonus work of short fiction focusing on Spero's early life.
Spero Lucas has a new line of work. Since he returned home to Washington, D.C. after serving in Iraq, he has been doing special investigations for a defense attorney. He's good at it, and he has carved out a niche: recovering stolen property, no questions asked. His cut is forty percent.
A high-profile crime boss who has heard of Lucas's specialty hires him to find out who has been stealing from his operation. It's the biggest job Spero has ever been offered, and he quickly gets a sense of what's going on. But before he can close in on what's been taken, he tangles with a world of men whose amorality and violence leave him reeling. Is any cut worth your family, your lover, your life?
The first in a series of thrillers featuring Spero Lucas, The Cut is the latest confirmation of why George Pelecanos is "perhaps America's greatest living crime writer." (Stephen King)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316078429
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 08/29/2011
Series: Spero Lucas Series , #1
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

George Pelecanos is an independent film producer, an essayist, the recipient of numerous international writing awards, a producer and an Emmy-nominated writer on the HBO hit series The Wire, and the author of a bestselling series of novels set in and around Washington, D.C. He currently writes for the acclaimed HBO series Treme.


Silver Spring, Maryland

Date of Birth:

February 18, 1957

Place of Birth:

Washington, D.C.


B.A., University of Maryland at College Park, 1980

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The Cut 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Dirty_Lowdown More than 1 year ago
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
aejsc More than 1 year ago
Good plot but characters are too stereotypical
McCarthy92 More than 1 year ago
Many said that George Pelecanos' later stand-alone novels were not as good as his, Stefanos, D.C. Quartet, and Strange/Quinn novels (no, they were not as good, but the ones that I have read were fantastic). The Cut brings with it a new character, Spero Lucas, a vet-turned investigator for a D.C. defense attorney. And what a character he is. In the only negative review I read, the critic complained about not knowing Lucas enough. For me, I knew him pretty well, and yes, there was some left to know about him, but as Pelecanos writes more books about Lucas, which he plans to do, Lucas will be more developed. The Cut brings Pelecanos back to his roots, a straight up action book that is pure fun. However, behind the action, there is a lot of heart. Pelecanos writes some of the best action scenes, dialogue, and pop-culture references, period.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
In the first novel of a new series, we are introduced to Spero Lucas, a just-returned Iraq war veteran, working as an investigator for a Washington, D.C. defense attorney with a sideline of recovering “lost” property fort a 40 per cent cut of its value. In the caper he undertakes in this initial foray, he seems to bite off more than he can chew. The attorney is defending a top marijuana peddler, and the client asks for Spero to visit him in jail. He tells Spero that his deliveries are being stolen and he is out of money, and would appreciate recovery of either the merchandise or the cash. The assignment takes Spero off into all kinds of action, some of which is kind of far-fetched. Mr. Pelecanos is well-known for his characterizations and his use of the nation’s Capital as background, and this book is no exception. Somehow, however, using Spero as an example of a footloose vet just returned from the desert just didn’t quite ring true. Some of his friends who served with him there do exhibit the plight of wounded, disabled marines, or just plain still unemployed, somewhat more realistically. That said, the novel is written with the author’s accustomed flair, and the plot moves at a rapid pace. Certainly, the action is vivid, and the reader keeps turning pages. Recommended.
JABJr More than 1 year ago
I had the opportunity to listen to this book and enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed it so much that I wish I would have read it. I try to listen to books I otherwise would not read. Spero Lucas and his family make for great characters and there is great description of the surroundings and other characters. Just a great read. Looking forward to the next Spero Lucas novel. That one I will read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I may be biased as I live in the DC area, but the book was great. It moved and left out the typical plotlines that bog down a story. Like the main character, this book is a bull.
Howard Rosenberg More than 1 year ago
George pelicanos is in my mind the best writer publishing books today. Similar to two of my favorite authors pat conroy and john stienbeck the story is secondary to his study of humanbeings . After im done reading his books i allwys feel that i have gained incredible insight .the heroe of this book is a young gutsy arrogant man.but the man writing the book is very close to my age and thats the incredible benifit that ihave gained .mr pelicanos has made me think closer about my own life and ihave strived to become a bettet man
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smcAZ More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the character in this book, that Im reading the next one.
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RonnaL More than 1 year ago
THE CUT begins a new series for Pelecanos.  Spero Lucas is just returning from serving in Iraq.  He's working with a defense attorney  to retrieve "things", no questions asked.  Spero's "cut" is a straight 40% of the the retrieved item's value.  He's part of a blended Greek family living in Washington, DC.  He's adopted and white, while his favorite sibling is his black high school teaching brother.   Leo's mission in this book is to retrieve a "stolen package" that turns out to be the sales money from a shipment of "weed". The "owner" is a retired cop turned crime boss--making money from drugs and killing anyone whom he feels may interfere in that process.  Soon Spero finds out that this job could cost more than he'd bargained for, as a couple of young boys are murdered, one of his brother's promising students is threatened, and any semblance of morals or ethics are going away with this deal.  Although the action and thrills are definitely great in this story, my personal favorite parts of this book involve the relationships, both great and terrible, that exist between fathers and sons, between good school teachers and their students, and between the police and the community.  Pelecanos has a real handle on capturing these relationships while telling a whopper of a story.   Personally, I could do without some of the foul language, and the drug usage and explicit sex.  but unfortunately, I also believe these parts were necessary to truly capture the parts of Washington, DC where this story takes place.  I've not really been a fan of Pelecanos before reading this book, but now I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book in this series!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The e-book formatting on this book is messed up. All print is very tiny and no amount of adjusting the font will enlarge it. Customer support makes big promises but they cannot fix it. Do not buy the Nook version of this book. George Pellecanos is great and a hard copy would probably be great.
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Fast moving action. Pelecanos has a winning new character, I'm looking forward to the next book in this series.
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