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The Cut

(Spero Lucas #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  4,139 ratings  ·  481 reviews
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
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published August 29th 2011 by Reagan Arthur Books (first published 2011)
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Vicki Renee I was confused for several chapters also and then finally Spero is described as being "Causasian." I think Leo is black.
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,139 ratings  ·  481 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Dec 27, 2012 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
Dec 13, 2011 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,
James Thane
Mar 30, 2014 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
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 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
Destinee Sutton
Jun 18, 2011 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
Jan 04, 2012 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
May 06, 2011 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 ...more
Mark Stevens
Oct 07, 2013 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 ...more
Jan 25, 2012 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
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Just okay. Not a page-turner as I expected. Didn't particularly care for Spero Lucas, the investigator, or the outcome of the case. Read like a script at times. I'm a fan of The Wire-- like many people-- so this was disappointing.
Mar 09, 2014 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),
Aug 30, 2011 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 ...more
Jan 03, 2012 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 ...more
Mohammed Abdi Osman
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
Jun 18, 2012 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
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
It seems Pelecanos takes a dash of MacDonald's Travis McGee, a little bit of Crais, then adds pinches of Leonard and Stark / Westlake (those authors are actually name-dropped in the story) with his introduction of new series character Spero Lucas. It was a decent enough start, and it has potential for a long run with the investigator both fairly young in age and career.
Lee Thompson
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
My first Pelecanos. Great writing, nice grit, interesting character doing the ole Travis McGee career.
Stephen Goldenberg
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Felt the need for a light escapist read plus it’s a long time since I’ve read any George Pelicans. I must be getting too old for his tough guy anti-hero crime novels because I found The Cut only moderately entertaining. Spero Lucas, the Iraq vet turned private investigator, is a bit too good to be true. He’s macho tough and violent but with a sensitive and intelligent side to him and, of course, every beautiful young woman quickly leaps into bed with him. Also, got bored with the shootouts.
Aug 31, 2011 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 ...more
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes moves slowly. Sometimes tense. I like the character of Spero Lucas. An interesting background and family history. Others have said this first book of the series lays the foundation. I liked it well enough to stay with it and will read others in the series, too.
Larry Bassett
Nov 27, 2010 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
John Arfwedson
Dec 18, 2011 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 ...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,
Jul 04, 2012 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
Oct 26, 2013 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,
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2011
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
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thrillers
If you like to know what your investigator wears, what he eats and where he eats at all times, you should love this novel. Not being up on DC geography, I did not need to know where Spero Lucas was walking and exactly what streets he took. I did not need to know how he was dressed or how the bad guys were dressed, in meticulous detail. I did not need a complete description of the food and the restaurant, each time Spero took a meal.
In between these descriptions some interesting action scenes
Jan 09, 2012 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 ...more
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Glad I read "The Double" which is the second of this series first. Otherwise, I may have passed as this is not as engaging because its hard to have empathy for drug dealers. 5 of 10 stars
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George Pelecanos was born in Washington, D.C., in 1957. He worked as a line cook, dishwasher, bartender, and woman's shoe salesman before publishing his first novel in 1992.

Pelecanos is the author of eighteen novels set in and around Washington, D.C.: A Firing Offense, Nick's Trip, Shoedog, Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go, The Big Blowdown, King Suckerman, The Sweet Forever, Shame the

Other books in the series

Spero Lucas (2 books)
  • The Double
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