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The Cut (Spero Lucas 1) [Paperback]

George Pelecanos
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

5 July 2012 Spero Lucas 1

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 40%.

A high-profile crime boss who has heard of Lucas's speciality 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 before he can close in he tangles with a world of men whose amorality and violence leave him reeling. Is any cut worth your family, your lover, your life?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (5 July 2012)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 1409109674
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409109679
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 201,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


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 )

a bloody, brooding thriller of rare authenticity. (Mark Sanderson EVENING STANDARD )

expertly crafted writing, pop-culture references ... and a plot that keeps twisting to the dramatic finale. (SHORTLIST )

This is gold-standard character-driven crime writing that few will ever match. I can't wait for the sequel. (Christopher Fowler FINANCIAL TIMES )

Pelecanos keeps readers on their toes with 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 )

The language, like the action, is brutal, fast and hard ... Stephen King describes Pelecanos as 'perhaps the greatest living crime writer' and The Cut certainly marks him out as a name to watch. In fact, he may just come to give Ellroy and Leonard a run for their money in the hard-boiled stakes. (DAILY MAIL )

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 )

George Pelecanos writes hard-boiled fiction with heart (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH )

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 20111125) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

The first in a stunning action-packed new series from one of the writers of THE WIRE.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Struggling with Violence! 7 Sep 2011
In THE CUT Pelecanos vividly describes not only the struggle of a returning vet coming to terms with rejoining society, but that of young men in the city in general trying to make a living whilst avoiding crime and violence. The writing is in his usual style that uses little adverbs or descriptive prose, but somehow manages to build up the picture for the reader through the actions and reactions of the main characters. The street life and action scenes are very realistic and the main character both believable in his flawed or guiltless motivation and likeable as a result.

Spero Lucas is a tough Iraq veteran who keeps himself super-fit and on return to Washington finds work with a disreputable defence attorney. Spero is trying to find direction on civvy street and whilst figuring this out uses his talents to recover debts for Tom Peterson's clients. Things get heavy when he is hired to protect drop money for a dangerous crime boss (like there's any other kind) and the bag-men are hit and he becomes chief suspect. Lucas uses his military training to avoid his pursuers and gather forces whilst trying to figure out who is behind it all.

Another great read from Pelecanos that has left me eager for the next!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fallujah, Half Smokes and Black Uhuru. 31 Aug 2011
This shortish novel introduces Mr. Pelecanos' new character, Iraq veteran turned private investigator Spero Lucas. He's somewhat more of a man of action than Pelecanos more downbeat heroes -this is indicated in a neat bit of metafiction within a subplot set in an English Literature class, when the students stop reading Elmore Leonard and start on the hardboiled Donald E. Westlake - but otherwise this novel is everything we've come to expect from the author - a tightly plotted procedural, the working class DC setting, exhaustively detailed descriptions of clothes, food and cars, and of course the musical backdrop, Spero being a 70s reggae fan.

A justified criticism of Pelecanos work, I think, is that his heroes are all rather similiar. Like their author, their all deeply into pop culture, (often to a somewhat unlikely degree) fond of eating'half smokes' (whatever they are) at Greek cafes, have issues with their Fathers, etc. I'm not sure that Spero is different enough from Nick Stefanos to have been worthwhile creating, to be honest. But at least, as he's not an alcoholic, we're spared Pelecanos constant moralisising on that score (Though Spero's Mum has four glasses of wine on a Saturday night in order that Pelecanos can have a little tut-tut).

But I digress. Pelecanos has never written a bad novel, and 'The Cut' whilst not one of his very best, is certainly up there with the rest of his output. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes The Cut 18 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
The Cut is the first in a projected series of books, which centres around a new character called Spero Lucas; a former military man who is a private eye of sorts--although his speciality is that he finds things, and when he does, he requires a cut of forty percent. But, as with any book like this, Spero Lucas finds trouble and violence before anything else.

The plot is a straightforward one, with a couple minor twists and turns, but the book is strong as a whole. George Pelecanos is gradually progressing as a writer and improving with each of his novels. His prose and dialogue in places can be wooden, but only a line here and there--it's isolated rather than pandemic. His strength is in taking a scenario and injecting rawness and realness into it. His stories are vivid, realistic and atmospheric. There's almost a noir-ish feel to them.

The Cut isn't filled with overblown action sequences and cool plot twists and endless gunfights. It's tight and fast-paced and true.
And although it's not his best, it IS up there with some of his finer work. I recommend it if you want a gritty, street crime novel that's been wrapped in a convenient PI structure.

I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my Cup of Tea 13 May 2013
Book 1, in the Spero Lucas series

This book sets off a new series for George Pelecanos and my first experience with the author. It features Spero Lucas, a 29 year old veteran of the Iraq War, a tough guy on the outside and tender in the inside trying to make a living as a freelance private investigator, wanders the most dangerous blocks of Washington D.C., eats at its tastiest restaurant and drinks at all the local bars. He also does side jobs finding lost and stolen property that the official authorities wouldn't bother to look for or retrieve for the owners for the arbitrarily fee of 40%.

The story opens slowly and keeps that pace throughout the mystery. Lucas is hired by Tom Patersen, a criminal defense attorney he works for on regular bases, to look into the case of a couple of kids arrested for stealing a fancy car. Armed with a pen, a notebook, a smartphone and a gun without a serial number Lucas sets up to clear their names. He gets them off and subsequently gets into the good graces of the father of one, Anwan Hawkins, a noted drug dealer up on trafficking charges. Lucas agrees to also help him and find what has happened with a drug shipment gone bad. As Lucas chases down the stolen drugs and navigates through D.C. violent underbelly and inevitably gets tangle up in a world of thieves, gangsters, crooked cops and hit men.

The story is sparsely written and has top notch dialogue but the plot and the characters never thoroughly grab my total attention and failed to keep me fully captivated. Lucas doesn't seem real, he never do recon of crime scenes, spends his time biking, kayaking, working out, drinking, eating and is every women cat's meow. The only action is when he starts fighting the bad guys and never is he in any short of danger.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Lazy and disappointing
This is a disappointing and lazy book. The central character never comes alive and is little more than a wish-fulfillment figure for the author. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Mark Ferris
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
Excellent as per all Pelecanos books, great characters & storyline, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more, highly recommended
Published 1 month ago by Steven RP White
2.0 out of 5 stars Over rated thriller
I have read various Pelcanos books over the years and they have varied in quality. I decided to read this one because of the great reviews it received. Read more
Published 3 months ago by U. Thakkar
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I've been reading Pelecanos for the last decade and this is probably the first clunker he's released. Read more
Published 3 months ago by ThirstyDog
1.0 out of 5 stars rubbish
The first and last book by this author I have tried to read,if I wanted to get round Washington I'll buy an A to Z. Read more
Published 3 months ago by declan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Fast paced, complex characters, good dialogue, nice insights into Greek cooking, Iraq vets recovering, believable relationships, oh! Read more
Published 5 months ago by London Rat
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine work by George Pelecanos
A little slow a little late with this review but I've just re-read The Cut in anticipation of the soon to be released follow-up (due out 7 November 2013 here in the UK). Read more
Published 5 months ago by O. Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars Pelecanos is cool
I have red all GP's books and have loved them all I particularly like his earlier stuff but everythiing he does from this to his TV work is brilliant. Thank you George.
Published 16 months ago by Paul Richards
4.0 out of 5 stars My first experience
A good read good pace and interesting characters. Nice twists and turns in the plot, first book I have tried by this author but will definitely try another one.
Published 16 months ago by Peter FRANKLIN
3.0 out of 5 stars Holding back?
A talented, intelligent writer and mostly this is realistic. Quite like the Wire.
I just feel he didnt take off the shackles. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Straw Hat
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