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The Cut (Spero Lucas) Hardcover – August 29, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
This book introduces a new protagonist, Spero Lucas, the adopted son of a Greek-American family who has returned to D.C. after years as a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pelecanos has touched upon the world of veterans in other books, but this is the first to feature one as the main character. Coincidentally, the last book I read before this was Night Dogs, a blistering police novel about a Vietnam veteran cop in mid-'70s Portland. Its portrait of the struggle of a Vietnam vet to adapt to life outside the war (based heavily on the author's own experiences as a cop) gives great insight into the ways going to war can change people forever, and not for the better.
Here, Pelecanos tackles the same dilemma facing many young people coming back home from America's warzones. Spero spent his youth to the military, and now he's in his late-20s, somewhat adrift in civilian society. He's smart, but has no interest in going to college, and spends his days, biking, kayaking, and working as an unlicensed investigator for a criminal defense attorney at the princely wage of $15/hour.Read more ›
The plot is predictable and much more superficial than Pelecanos' earlier work. The constant recitals of song titles, urban woes and restaurant specialties seem rote.
Apparently, there will be other Lucas books--I fear Pelecanos has been seduced by the riches showered on Lee Child.
What a shame.
Spero's assignment quickly goes to hell as people die unexpectedly. He finds himself up against some nasty freelancers with an insider at the police department and an array of heavy weaponry. Spero calls on some of his old Marine buddies for help but basically he's on his own--outnumbered and outgunned.
The writing is pure Pelecanos: lean, spare, stark, with a commanding sense of place and a vision of experience that reminds us of what realism is all about. Spero is an attractive character, capable of sustaining an extended series. Since he is an investigator and since he is in it for the long haul the atmospherics are more Chandlerian than Sophoclean and Washington is more of a series of echoes of cultural resonance than the waste land that Pelecanos often describes.
The plot moves right along and there is just enough sex, drugs, violence and bluesy rock to sustain interest without distracting us from the task at hand: getting Spero's cut.
This is a significant book. Don't miss it.
The Cut is no exception. Pelecanos understands the genre like Monet understood paint and landscape. He instinctively knows which clichés, which `norms' of the genre will work and which to avoid to maintain that literary height. First, the ones he uses and uses oh, so well; Spero Lucas is, like many protagonists of crime fiction, a war veteran. He served as a Marine in Iraq and was an obvious man of action choosing to be the first in the door at `clearing houses' in the streets of Fallujah. Secondly, like Sam Spade or Philip Marlow, Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder or Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, Spero is a loner.
He also maintains that ambiguous place between the cops and the criminals and has his own set of values based in common sense and not writ in stone laws. And probably most important, Pelecanos' subject matter is very socially aware and pertinent in making some social issues a part of the back story i.e. a feeling of detachment of returning vets, how disabled vets get lost in society, the complicated racial relations of our nations capital, which in and of itself is a microcosm of the nation as a whole. Even marijuana laws and the duplicity and corruption of law enforcement lends itself to make the story more than realistic.
After returning from Iraq, Spero wasn't drawn to college not being able to see himself wearing a suit and tie or bound to a desk and office. He drifted into investigative work employing a keen sense of observation that allowed him to survive the war. He writes and diagrams everything he sees in a moleskin note book or takes endless photos with his iPhone - the new gun for the 21st century detective.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lots of excitement, action from a Spero Lucas, a man on the high road. Really fun to read and rewarding.Published 1 month ago by John R. Shearer
Another great story by Pelecanos! It captures you at the beginning and takes you on great ride. I enjoyed getting to know both the good guys and bad guys, intimately.Published 1 month ago
I liked the story, but found it to be a little simplistic. For the most part, it's a straight forward story of a man completing a job he was hired to do. Read morePublished 1 month ago by BR from AR
Pelecanos writes really well, especially the dialogue. This is another really enjoyable book about the underside of DC. He creates memorable characters both good and bad. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Chris Mason
Knowing my fondness for detective noir, my older brother sent me a copy of _the Cut_. There was a lot that appealed to me: a former Marine-turned private-eye, hard-boiled... Read morePublished 10 months ago by doc peterson
I believe Pellacanos is the best crime writer writing today. The Cut has an imprisoned drug dealer contacting Spero, an investigator for a local attorney, to help him extricate his... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Thomas Grover