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The Cut (Spero Lucas #1)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  3,168 Ratings  ·  404 Reviews
Spero Lucas has a new line of work. Since he returned home 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 f
...more
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published August 29th 2011 by Reagan Arthur Books (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dan Schwent
Apr 10, 2013 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
When an imprisoned drug dealer hires Spero Lucas to find out who's been stealing his product, Spero takes the case. Can Spero recover the stolen weed and collect his forty percent?

The Cut is a breezy crime tale that reads as smoothly as an Elmore Leonard. Pelecanos makes Washington DC as much of a character as Leonard does with Detroit and Miami. Spero Lucas is a compelling lead, an ex-marine who works as an investigator. The drug case he's taken quickly spirals out of control. However, the case
...more
Kemper
Mar 13, 2013 Kemper rated it really liked it
After several stand-alone literary crime novels and working on television shows like The Wire and Treme, it looks like George Pelecanos is getting back into series mode, and he’s created a helluva main character who I hope we will be seeing in many, many books to come.

Spero Lucas is a young veteran of the Iraq war who now works as an investigator for a defense attorney, but Spero also moonlights in recovering stolen property for 40% of the value. A big time pot dealer is awaiting trial in jail,
...more
James Thane
Mar 30, 2014 James Thane rated it really liked it
The Cut introduces Spero Lucas, a new protagonist from George Pelecanos, the creator of such venerable characters as Derek Strange and Nick Stefanos. And as much as I've enjoyed those other characters, I can't wait to read more books featuring this one.

Spero Lucas is in his late twenties, an ex-Marine recently returned home to Washington, D.C. from the war in Iraq. He grew up in a racially mixed household where his Greek-American parents adopted three of their four children. He's devoted to the
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Brandon
Aug 18, 2015 Brandon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction, 2015
Shortly after returning home following a stint in the U.S. Marines, Spero Lucas took up working as a freelance investigator. Occasionally picking up work for a prominent defence attorney in Washington D.C, Lucas helped to clear a case involving the son of an imprisoned drug dealer. Impressed with his work, said drug dealer offers Lucas another job: investigate several thefts of high priced product.

I've been recommended novels by George Pelecanos in the past but the sheer volume of novels sitting
...more
Melki
Jan 06, 2012 Melki rated it liked it
I normally love anything Pelecanos writes, but this one was a disappointment.
The plot was fine. Spero Lucas is hired to investigate the disappearance of some drug shipments.
Chaos and a body count ensue.

BUT, I'm either getting much smarter or George is getting more predictable. (Yeah, I'll have to go with the second theory too...) The book held few surprises for me, and I could smell it a mile away when someone was about to get a bullet in the brain.

On the plus side, all the good stuff I've lea
...more
Greg
May 17, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it
After a couple or a few or however many dramatic novels with a bit of a crime edge George Pelecanos is returning to the more formulaic detective type form of his earlier novels. The main character is a young Iraq War veteran who does some freelance investigative work for defense attorneys and also makes a bit of money by finding things for people. In the case of this book he is looking to find quite a bit of marijuana that has been stolen from a local weed kingpin. Like in most of Pelecanos's wo ...more
Destinee Sutton
Jun 27, 2011 Destinee Sutton rated it it was ok
I think I expected something more literary, so I was disappointed by the stock characters and all the paragraphs full of boring (to me) details. Honestly, why name every street Spero takes to get from location to location? Does anyone doubt that you know the names of streets in Washington, Mr. Pelecanos? And why name every brand of every piece of clothing worn? Why name every musician Spero listens to? All of this came off as so much name dropping to me, as clunky as a paid product placement. If ...more
Lou
Jan 25, 2012 Lou rated it liked it
This is my second go at a Pelecanos novel, there is a lot of praise for his work and positive comments on the cover. Still though, and the same i felt the last time I read one of his novels, it seems the storytelling is missing that extra something. The writing is good and some nice dialogue and dilemmas included in the story. The main protagonist was a likeable character I would like to read more of. It is the main case that he was on the pursuit of that became slightly boring, the rest of the ...more
Mark Stevens
Oct 27, 2013 Mark Stevens rated it really liked it
With Elmore Leonard gone, who is the heir to the throne? I nominate George Pelecanos. Urban, tough, cool, gritty, smooth, and real. Real? You know, that sense when you're reading fiction and the characters and situations pop out and grab you. Their point of view is rock solid. Leonard's early works are among my favorites--"52 Pick-Up," "Unknown Man No. 89," "The Switch," "City Primeval"--and to me "The Cut" echoes those early stories to a T. In fact, Spero Lucas' brother Leonidas is teaching "Un ...more
Steve
Mar 16, 2014 Steve rated it it was ok
Meh. It's OK. It's also frustrating, because Pelecanos is a real good writer. I just got through reading an excellent short story by him in USA Noir, titled "The Confidential Informant." Not an imaginative title, true, but the quality of the writing moves that story beyond genre, and could easily have appeared in your better literary journals. It's tone reminded me of Hemingway's "The Killers." Given a small canvas, Pelecanos can paint a hard masterpiece.

His novels (and I've read several now),
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Michael
Jan 03, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
George Pelacanos introduces us to a new series hero in The Cut. Spero Lucas is an Iraqi War veteran currently working as an unlicensed investigator for a criminal defense attorney in his hometown of Washington, DC. The adopted child of a Greek-American family, Lucas grew up in a blended family with his two brothers and sister. A savvy man, Spero has seen a lot in his 29 years. Back from the Middle East, he hustled to make a living taking odd jobs doing security, limousine driving and bouncing be ...more
Mohammed
Spero Lucas is pretty different as a lead in this kind of series at 29 years he is young. Felt weird reading about him when the norm is 40-50 years old men in this genre. Pelecanos had it easier making me relate to him since we are the exact same age. I liked Lucas despite he is immature in his realationships but that i found to be belieavable. He is somewhat amoral and i liked how realisticly it was that he isnt some PI hero when you know his backround. It will be interesting to see if he grows ...more
Ed
Aug 31, 2011 Ed rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all George Pelecanos fans
Recommended to Ed by: WOW library email
George Pelecanos' new fictional character is Spero Lucas, a sort of P.I. who does material recoveries for a 40% fee or cut, if you will. Think Travis McGee. Young Spero is an ex-Marine back from hard combat seen in Iraq, and he still has some emotional issues to iron out. The usual GP cars, guns, music, landmarks, streets, and family are included in The Cut. I especially liked Spero's brother Leo who teaches English at Cardoza High School. I wish I'd had an English teacher covering books authore ...more
Lee Thompson
Mar 23, 2015 Lee Thompson rated it really liked it
My first Pelecanos. Great writing, nice grit, interesting character doing the ole Travis McGee career.
Josh
May 26, 2012 Josh rated it liked it
Shelves: own, crime, read_2012
There is a lot of Derek Strange to Pelecanos' new series PI Spero Lucas. From his appreciation of music, clothing, and the finer sex to the deep seeding yearning to make the world a better place. What separates Lucas from Strange is obvious, age, it felt as though Pelecanos wasn't done with Strange and wanted an avenue to continue the character through a younger modernised rendition. For those who love Derek Strange (as I do) this is fantastic. I enjoyed drawing parallels between the two but als ...more
Melissa
Oct 05, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matthew
Jun 26, 2012 Matthew rated it did not like it


Burned through this one. Not because it was awesome, but because the writing is so simple, the plot so basic. this is no Travis McGee, and Pelacanos is no MacDonald. Maybe he thought he had to talk down to suit the genre? I kinda thought since The Wire is so good, this would blow me away with a hyper realistic take on the hard boiled crime book. I found there to be a lot of clumsy moralizing, some very simply drawn characters, and a penchant for naming every clothing brand ever. I was really di
...more
orsodimondo
LE STRADE DI CASA
In questo romanzo Pelecanos introduce il personaggio di Spero Lucas, veterano dell’Iraq e investigatore privato senza licenza, destinato a essere protagonista di altre storie (in US è già lstata pubblicata la seconda).
Ma non credo che la leggerò, preferisco Pelecanos quando si cimenta in storie singole, senza prequel sequel spin-off crossover drama-format ecc.

Ancora e sempre Washington, set prediletto di Pelecanos, città che conosce meglio delle sue tasche.

Ancora toponomastica
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Ensiform
Apr 29, 2013 Ensiform rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Iraq vet Spero Lucas, living in DC, makes money doing jobs for a defense attorney. He also runs a side business recovering stolen property. When a weed dealer asks him to recover some stolen packages worth a hundred grand each, Lucas gets on the case. Two dead hustlers later, Lucas realizes that this case involves dirty cops and some bad guys willing to murder to keep the money flowing, and they know who he is. Relying on his training, some vet buddies, and a deep-seated, barely-formulated rage ...more
Larry Bassett
Jun 03, 2012 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
She was dark haired, fully curved, and effortlessly attractive.

Woman as sex object on page eight. Must be George Pelecanos. In spite of that, Pelecanos is the only author I have a complete set for and buy the books as they come out. As I start this new book, published in August 2011, I wonder if I am beginning to wear out on George P. When I lived in metro DC he was the only crime writer I read. He used to be my walk on the dark side. Recently I have been reading quite a few mystery and crime a
...more
Tony
Sep 01, 2011 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers
Pelecanos, George. THE CUT. (2011). ****.
I’ve always maintained that if you took away his street map of Washington, D.C. and forbid him to talk about musical groups that most of us never heard of, Pelecanos’ novels would end up being eight-page pamphlets. His latest thriller, featuring a new protagonist, Spero Lucas, an ex-Marine who fought in Iraq, is another case in point. The author knows how to write thrillers, though, and this is another one sure to become a best seller. Lucas works freela
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John Arfwedson
Dec 18, 2011 John Arfwedson rated it really liked it
When I grew up in Washington, D.C. (50s, 60s) the streets were mean but manageable. You weren't under constant threat, exactly, but you had to have your wits about you - if you didn't get street-smart you stayed home or moved to the suburbs. It was then a very high crime city (in the air, not the air-conditioning, the way it seems now) and usually vied with bigger urban names (Detroit, New York) to be each year's murder capital. De facto segregation had a strong hold and racial tensions were hig ...more
Barbara Mitchell
I love times like this when I find a new-to-me author who has a long backlist for me to read as well. I won this book from LibraryThing. Since I hadn't read Pelecanos before, I was a little concerned, but all is well - I loved this book and this hero. Can't wait to find the rest of his books to read.

The hero is Spero Lucas. Now all this may be familiar to you, but if not, Lucas is a Marine Corp vet who served in Iraq. Now he works as an investigator for a lawyer and, as in this instance, occasio
...more
Alecia
Jan 11, 2012 Alecia rated it liked it
George Pelecanos (who is a writer and producer of The Wire) has a very good ear for street dialogue. Therefore, his bad guys and good guys in his novel sound quite natural. The story is good, and his main character, Spero Lucas, an ex-marine-turned private investigator, is a good one. I especially loved that Lucas's brother Leo is teacher who has his kids reading, among others, The Hunter, a Parker novel. He quotes lines to his class about the description of Parker. This is a great way for Pelec ...more
Andrew
Jun 15, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it
I'm grading on a curve here. The plot is a lazy and predictable re-working of old Western tropes, the female characters exist just to throw themselves at the protagonist, and Pelecanos still writes the most cringe-inducing sex scenes this side of a self-published "50 Shades of Gray" knockoff. The writing often devolves into lists of food, beer, fashion, book, movie, and music recommendations. Sometimes this is fun - Pelecanos has great taste in this stuff. Other times, it's embarrassing. I love ...more
Peter Pilot
Feb 03, 2015 Peter Pilot rated it did not like it
I could not find a single redeeming feature in this book. I chose it because I was pretty desperate for a new "hard boiled" PI novel, and I'd run out of my favourites. This book had a lot of good reviews, so I decided to give it a try. I can certainly say that I won't be reading any more George Pelecanos. This book was unutterably and excruciatingly boring. The characters were uniformly uninteresting and unlikeable, and the large amount of background detail - the clothes they wore, the food they ...more
Truman32
Feb 26, 2014 Truman32 rated it liked it
I approached this series backwards reading The Double first. I really enjoyed that story, so I was quick to go back and read this one, the first in the series.

Well, many of the trappings that made the second book so great were apparent here, not the least the main character of Spero Lucas. Spero, a veteran marine of the Iraq war is conscientious, brave, smart, healthy physically, and worldly. He loves his family and covets his friends and he can handle himself with hand-to-hand combat, gun play,
...more
Keith
Sep 06, 2011 Keith rated it really liked it
I know that this sentiment has been shared by myself and others on prior occasions but it must be done once more: Reading a George Pelecanos novel is akin to reading DC’s version of The Wire or Homicide: Life on the Street. The only difference is that you usually have to wait about a year for a new episode or in this case book to come out.

“The Cut” is no different from Pelecanos’ previous novels. Only this time the reader is introduced to a new protagonist, Spero Lucas, who like Derek Strange, N
...more
Nick
The protagonist Pelecanos's new PI series is conflicted, savvy and quite horny vet of the Iraq War, an adoptee of a Greek-American family who "came up" in the author's familiar turf, e.g., the leafy green streets of the NE sector of Washington, DC, smack up against Silver Spring and other Maryland suburbs. Spero is good at finding things, which is how he gets tangled in the case of the missing pot packages. Though he knew it was perhaps not the greatest idea to work for an imprisoned pot dealer, ...more
Hallie
Nov 19, 2011 Hallie rated it it was amazing
It is good news indeed that George Pelecanos has taken time off writing scripts for HBO ("The Wire" and "Treme") to give his fans a new novel. "The Cut," a spectacular first in a promised series of thrillers, features Iraq War vet Spero Lucas. Lucas is an unlicensed investigator with "a cop's knowledge of D.C." He has created a lucrative niche for himself, "retriev[ing] things that were lost or stolen." In return he gets 40% of the value of what he finds.

Jailed drug dealer Anwan Hawkins hires L
...more
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George P. Pelecanos (born 1957 in Washington, D.C.) is an American author of detective fiction set primarily in the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. He is also a film and television producer and a television writer. He has worked extensively on the HBO series The Wire. His novels use an ensemble cast of characters, following their exploits across several generations. While there are ...more
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Spero Lucas (2 books)
  • The Double

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