All in all [Spero Lucas] is very good company, especially for readers who know Washington and are beguiled by its many complexities…Pelecanos clearly knows that he is in the business of entertainment, and he goes about it in a thoroughly professional way. But entertainment needn't be an end in itself. A book that entertains can also enrich, instruct and even enlighten. George Pelecanos's books do all of that, which is plenty good enough for me.
The Washington Post
Lucas is a terrific character…Although Pelecanos writes in the third person, he seems to be inside Lucas's head, looking out at the world with the omnivorous vision of someone savoring and recording every precious detail…What emerges is a magnificent collage of a city loved with a passion by someone ravenous for life.
The New York Times Book Review
The Cut…does a fine job of establishing Spero as a durable and highly appealing hero. And it sets up a back story and modus operandi that will work well for him in the future.
The New York Times
Pelecanos's excellent first in a new crime series introduces Spero Lucas, a 29-year-old Iraq War vet who does investigative work for a Washington, D.C., defense attorney. Anwan Hawkins, an imprisoned marijuana dealer who has taken notice of Lucas's cool, efficient work, offers him a cut of the proceeds if he can recover several large stolen marijuana shipments. Though Lucas is in some ways an idealistic young man, he's no innocent. He accepts Hawkins's deal, a choice that nearly destroys him. As the body count mounts, Pelecanos (The Night Gardener) provides glimpses of Lucas's multiracial family, from his adoptive parents to his three siblings, two of whom are African-American. In the end, the group of hardened criminals responsible for the theft, including a former D.C. cop, set their sights on Lucas and those close to him. Both vital and timely, this remarkable novel also connects D.C.'s past and present as only Pelecanos does. Readers will want to see a lot more of Lucas. (Aug.)
"As you'd expect from a writer with credit for both The Wire and Treme, Pelecanos expertly renders the streets of the US capital and succeeds where many have failed of late: creating a fully formed antihero whom readers will want to meet again."Shortlist
"Pelecanos is incapable of writing a book that isn't gripping, and the dialogue is of a brilliance comparable only with Elmore Leonard and George V Higgins."The Times
"Pelecanos keeps readers on their toes with a series of twists that confound stereotypes, drilling the plot along with breakneck prose, sassy dialogue and even shifting into a serious analysis at modern society in all its flawed glory. Exceptional."The Big Issue
"Pelecanos, heir to Elmore Leonard's throne, has landed another short, sparkling masterpiece. What's more, The Cut is just the beginning of a planned series for tough, streetwise, mother's boy Spero Lucas."The Mirror
"He's best known for writing acclaimed US TV show The Wire. But George Pelecanos has spent many years penning brilliant but under-appreciated crime novels set in Washington DC...the dialogue, characters and sense of location are superb. Pelecanos is a cut above the rest."Natasha Harding, The Sun
Home from Iraq, Spero Lucas has been handling investigations for a defense attorney, specializing in stolen property. When a big-time crime boss asks him to find out who's been pilfering from his operation, Spero accepts—and gets in over his head. Pelecanos introduces a new hero in a new series of interest to all thriller fans.
Pelecanos' newest hero walks the mean streets of the Nation's Capital with all the piercing hopes and fears and personal baggage of the others (The Way Home,2009, etc.).
Jailed drug dealer Anwan Hawkins, pleased with the way Spero Lucas' brisk investigative work for attorney Tom Petersen gets his teenaged son David sprung on charges of car theft and worse, asks him to take on a private recovery job. The item in question is three shoeboxes of marijuana pinched from three D.C. doorsteps where Hawkins had asked FedEx to deliver them on the assumption that his couriers would beat the absent homeowners to the pickup. The finder's fee is 40 percent. The gig smells rotten, but no more rotten than most of what Lucas has done since his stint with the Marines in Iraq. The couriers, Tavon Lynch and Edwin Davis, have nothing to tell Lucas. Nor do most of the neighbors who might have seen who swiped the merchandise. His only hope is Ernest Lindsay, a potential witness who's a student in Lucas' brother Leo's English class at Cardozo High. But Lucas is reluctant to involve Ernest in a case that promises the involvement of bent police officers and hired killers, especially after somebody pops the two couriers. It's obvious to the reader, if not to Lucas, who pulled the trigger, but not why. And before Lucas learns that, he'll have to confront the exceptional difficulty of acting the white knight in a world in which, as a deeply compromised cop reminds him, "we all got dirt on us."
Another tough, heart-rending odyssey through a war zone in which every denizen has the potential to be both hero and villain.