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The Cut: Spero Lucas, Book 1 | [George Pelecanos]

The Cut: Spero Lucas, Book 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 defense attorney. He's good at it, and he has carved out a niche: recovering stolen property, no questions asked. His cut is 40 percent. But is any cut worth your family, your lover, your life?
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Publisher's Summary

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 40 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 before he can close in on what's been taken, he tangles with a world of men whose amorality and violence leave him reeling. Is any cut worth your family, your lover, your life?

Spero Lucas is George Pelecanos's greatest creation, a young man making his place in the world one battle and one mission at a time. The first in a new series of thrillers featuring Spero Lucas, The Cut is the latest confirmation of why George Pelecanos is "perhaps America's greatest living crime writer" (Stephen King).

©2011 George Pelecanos (P)2011 Hachette

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (139 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Cori United States 10-31-11
    Cori United States 10-31-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    7
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    "So entertaining and surprising!"

    A good old popcorn kinda story but with a new age kinda sensibility. We have a complex and unusual lead character to follow here. And, with crime fiction, I think if you can say you were in suspense, but intrigued, and entertained all at once, the novel is a success. I can say that here. And it is.The narrator, is perfectly suited to the material. He takes us on this journey and subtly navigates along with us through the plot twists and turns. Really great work! Really enjoyable! Highly recommended!!!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 05-02-12
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 05-02-12 Member Since 2009

    procrastinator

    HELPFUL VOTES
    256
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    "Loved it"

    I happened to listen to this book after just failing to finish a disappointing audible download. This was just what I was looking for: quick, smart, and entertaining. I was into the story from the get go, and REALLY enjoyed it.

    I live in the DC area and loved the authentic, DC-centric setting. Pelecanos doesn't just name drop all of the local bars, streets, schools, etc; he actually gets them right. He even nails the changing atmosphere of the city today. The narrator is an excellent, giving easily recognizable and distinct voices to the characters.

    As to the story, the Spero Lucas character is a good one, as is his interesting family and background. I'll be looking forward to checking out the next book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Milo Morgans Point, TX, United States 01-16-12
    Milo Morgans Point, TX, United States 01-16-12 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Something different, something good"

    Pellecanos' entry into this growing genre - Iraq or Afghanistan vets returning to the US - is excellent. Don Winslow's "Savages" was another example of this type of novel.

    The moral relativism, the tension between the brothers and the unforeseen consequences of one bad decision are themes well explored.

    It is not Jack Reacher, although both protagonists were in the military. If anything it reminds me of the excellent movie "Four Brothers."

    I look forward to the next in this series.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy WESTON, MO, United States 12-11-12
    Nancy WESTON, MO, United States 12-11-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Strong, typical Pelecanos."
    What made the experience of listening to The Cut the most enjoyable?

    Pelecanos' characters are always good - believable, lively, unpredictable.


    What does Dion Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Good reading. Best readers are those who do such a good job you don't notive them, and Mr. Graham met that criterion.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kadgee 09-18-11
    Kadgee 09-18-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Washington, D.C. the city the mind set"

    George Pelecanos knows Washington, D.C. Great story - exciting - a lot of my friends feel he is brutal/ethnic/whatever just writes a good engaging story. The narrator Dion Graham makes one feel out of his mouth to ..ears.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ozgribbo Australia 05-26-14
    ozgribbo Australia 05-26-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slightly off beat crime"

    I really liked this - good blend between crime solving, earning a living and dealing with family problems. very believable characters and a good plot line.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A music lover 11-09-13

    in Alexandria

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding fiction and compelling characters"

    George Pelecanos is a terrific writer, and this novel is an outstanding example of his work. Readers like me who live in the D.C. area may have extra reasons to enjoy his fiction, because it offers an intensely personal peek into a variety of Washington-area locales. Only a few of these are likely to be well known, even to long-time residents. Heck, I also enjoy closely observed fiction about cities I know much less well, such as L.A. and New York. My suspicion is that readers who like close-up and realistic introductions to city jails, law offices, neighborhoods on the upswing, and obscure neighborhoods on the road to abandonment will be fascinated by Pelecanos's presentation of D.C.

    The story is an interesting one. Much of its interest flows out of the compelling and believable characters Pelecanos creates. Many of the characters occupy a grey area between lawlessness and loyalty to a kind of basically moral code. A principal character is drawn, through his lawful but somewhat shady profession, into D.C.'s drug trade. A fairly straightforward recovery job turns complicated when murder intrudes. If other readers are like me they will care about the sometimes unlikeable characters who get killed or threatened as a result of the main character's persistence.

    The narrator, Dion Graham, does a terrific job with the range of voices in Pelecanos's Washington. As is usual in Pelecanos stories, we meet all kinds of folks, both African-American and white, who will be recognizable to long-time D.C. residents. The narrator speaks easily and without condescension all of the voices in this wonderful novel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tama Raleigh, NC, United States 01-22-12
    Tama Raleigh, NC, United States 01-22-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Welcome Spero"
    If you could sum up The Cut in three words, what would they be?

    Complex young anti-hero exuding sex appeal unafraid to confront the baddest of bad


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Cut?

    Don't want to spoil it


    What about Dion Graham’s performance did you like?

    Abilty to pull off inner DC dialects; ability to personify Spero's coolness flawlessly


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but wouldn't let myself as it so infrequent you get a book you want to savor


    Any additional comments?

    What a refreshing change....more please

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Regina Seattle, WA, United States 98109 02-19-14
    Regina Seattle, WA, United States 98109 02-19-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard to finish"

    What a wonderful book. Great tone, characters, dialogue and I love the narrator. His silky slides into other voices are amazing. Each one is believable. My problem remains a big one, however. The architecture of the story is so predictable.

    Once the story starts to talk up a character, such as, a young man in high school full of promise, we know he's going down. Another one: the brave and optimistic Iraq war vet, hobbling along on a metal leg and bringing realistic light into bad situations. Boom for him. And the fight between brothers? Saw it coming chapters back. Saw the misunderstanding.

    Haven't finished and don't believe I will. For all the admirable qualities George Pelecanos possesses as a writer, there's something here I just don't buy. His vision of struggling urban life has a cartoon quality. He's bringing the comics to life and not quite able to shed the banality at the center of his enterprise. I don't believe him. He quotes Elmore Leonard, but he is far, far from Elmore Leonard.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gideon PRINCE ALBERT, South Africa 08-13-12
    Gideon PRINCE ALBERT, South Africa 08-13-12 Member Since 2009

    Will read just about anything. Favourites include Tom Robbins, Umberto Eco, Michael Connelly, Chris Brookmyre, Julian Barnes, James Joyce, Tim Butcher, Barbara Kingsolver, Ettienne van Heerden, Deon Meyer and ....

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What you see is what you get."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Clever thriller with a believable protagonist - he's Black, he's Greek, he's adopted, it works.

    Wouldn't change a thing.


    If you’ve listened to books by George Pelecanos before, how does this one compare?

    This is one of my favourite books by Pelecanos.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Difficult to say which scene was my favourite. Probably him and his mom or the final shoot-out.


    Do you think The Cut needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No doubt. Methinks there are plenty readers waiting for Spero Lucas to show up again.


    Any additional comments?

    Light, quick, plausible and well read.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 14 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • O. Parker
    Bristol, UK
    12/27/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great series character brought to life by Graham"
    If you could sum up The Cut in three words, what would they be?

    The Cut is atmospheric, compelling and effective.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Cut?

    The stomach sinking feeling generated when the antagonist plots his revenge stood out for me.


    Have you listened to any of Dion Graham’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Dion Graham is an excellent narrator and a strong performer. This is not his first work on a Pelecanos book and he maintains his consistently high standard here. I have also


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I found the characterisation of Spero Lucas very involving. I was moved by his struggle between seeking out an adrenaline thrill and doing the right thing.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    I thoroughly recommend this audio book version which is read by The Wire alumni Dion Graham (he played recurring character Rupert Bond on the show) who has done fine work on several previous Pelecanos audio books. If you've not read any Pelecanos before then this is a fine place to start although one of the completed series might be more satisfying to burn through. If you already know the author then this is another fine work that is well worth your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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