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The Cut (Spero Lucas 1) Hardcover – 25 Aug 2011

3.6 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (25 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409114562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409114567
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 549,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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)

Book Description

The first in a stunning action-packed series from the writer of THE WIRE.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read a couple of luke-warm reviews of this book below and was prepared for disappointment after years of enjoying George's books.

I have no idea which book those folks had been reading - or what they had been expecting - but it wasn't The Cut.

This is a great tale and up to George's high standards. Someone mentioned that there is a lot of dialogue and that is true, but then that applies to all of GP's books. It isn't 'action on every page' but you can feel the tension rising as the tale builds and moves along and you just know that something grisly is coming (and it does!).

The descriptions of seedy back-street Washington DC are as fine as ever and (to this white middle-class Englishman's eyes) rather 'exotic'. Simple descriptions of food and drink are enough to transport you to a place you've never been nor are probably ever likely to go. The music references too are (as ever) spot on. Just hearing references to Augustus Pablo, Fred Wesley and Black Uhuru is enough to make need to play them as you read.

I really like Spero (our new hero), he is young enough to make the action scenes feel real and has a depth of character that makes his actions (the sort that a normal person would not ever consider) feel 'right'. He is quite the 'ladies man' too!

Can't wait to read more tales of Spero - it was a brave step for GP to bring in a new hero (but then he has done so a couple of times in the past) and it has really paid off.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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). Pelecanos remains my favourite author of the moment. I am always suckered by his sense of place, detailed characterisation and the tight inevitability of his plotting. This book remains strong on all three of those fronts. I have to say that I enjoyed it a little more on re-reading. In part because I found it easier to get inside the mind of Spero Lucas the second time around. Spero is the protagonist of this one, and is set to be a recurring lead character in the vein of past Pelecanos leads Nick Stefanos, Karras and Clay and Strange and Quinn. I'm excited to see Pelecanos returning to serialised work after a run of excellent one off novels.

Spero is another slightly different take on the investigator. His day job is working for defence attorneys and his sideline is in recovering stolen goods for a 40% cut. He is a young army veteran still enamoured with the adrenaline rush of violent action. His career and his thrill seeking puts him in morally ambiguous territory that lends the book a modern noir edge. In this one Spero takes a side job recovering stolen marijuana shipments for an imprisoned dealer and finds himself going head to head with a group of gun runners who are moving in on the business.

Scattered amongst this investigative arc are Spero's relationships with his fellow veterans and his adoptive family. His grief at having lost his adoptive father and his close relationship with his brother are both affecting and well drawn. Pelecanos is the patriarch of an adoptive family himself and his insight translates well into his characterisation here.
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