The Cut
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The Cut (Spero Lucas #1)

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  2,141 ratings  ·  347 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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Dan Schwent
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
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
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...more
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
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
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
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),...more
Mark Stevens
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
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
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
Aug 31, 2011 Ed rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
Destinee Sutton
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
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Larry Bassett
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
John Arfwedson
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
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
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
Tiana Johnson
First George Pelecanos book that I've read. I've been missing out on a lot. Must read it again to absorb the details. Washington, D.C. is not wallpaper in this story; it's a vibrant, real character in the story.
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
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
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
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
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...more
George Pelecanos is one of my favorite writers, but this book is not going to make it anywhere near my favorites list. While I could see shadows of the gritty, raw, but realistic and honest writing I associate with Mr. Pelecanos, what I found in THE CUT was the predictable plot and stock characters created by less courageous authors who either do not know or are afraid to write reality.

While predictability was my main issue with the book, I also had other problems with it that seem to be nit-pi...more
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...more
It brings me physical pain to have to write this, but I'm getting close to stepping off the Pelecanos train. I think he's the kind of writer for whom, once you've read one or two of his novels, you've gotten the gist of what he's trying to say. His thesis statements on manhood and responsibility, the more you read them, become increasingly pedantic and one-note. What used to feel like super-cool diversions into soul music and clothes now derail the narrative.

As for the story itself, it picks up...more
When I think of George Pelecanos, I think atmosphere. I think character driven. I know that when I pick up one of his novels, I will likely be in for a story full of angst and ethical questions. The Cut had all of these things to varying degrees.

The author wrote occasionally for one of my all time favorite shows, The Wire, and so I expect a lot from him when I crack open one of his books. Given that this was also an Independent Literary Award short-listed nominee for the Mystery category . . . W...more
Spero Lucas has a new line of work. Since he returned home after serving in Iraq, he has been doing special investigations for a defence 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 Lucas has ever been offered, and he quickly gets a sense of what's going on. But befor...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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