Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Review of "The Cut" [58]

The Cut By George Pelecanos
Arthur Regan Books, ISBN 978-0316078429
August 29, 2011, 304 pages

Spero Lucas, Pelecanos' newly introduced hero in The Cut, is not a troubled, aging detective as is so common in so many detective series. No, he is a bit different. He is just 29 years old, a newly returned Iraq war vet, fit and handsome and dare we say, sexy. Ok, he is a bit troubled, a bit at loose ends returning to a world that does not really understand what he has seen and done in close hand to hand combat. Like many of his returning friends, he is a bit adrift, “no duties, no mission, no cause.” Ans he also can't get over his need for a good dose of adrenaline from time to time.

He finds a job working as an investigator for a defense lawyer, which, since he seems to know all the ins and outs of Washington D.C, spending hours biking and walking every street and alley, seems a good fit. He is head smart and street smart and certainly able to handle himself in any sort of confrontation. But he also has a side business, finding 'lost' things for clients, taking 40% of the value as his payment. Which is how he comes to be doing business with the incarcerated drug king pin Anwan Hawkins.

It seems that Mr. Hawkins has been using FedX for the delivery of his packages of marijuana, having them delivered to houses that he know will be empty during the day, using computers to track the delivery and then taking them off the porches minutes after they are delivered. But someone is beating his men to the houses and stealing the packages, costing him $130,000 and looking like a great payday for Lucas if he can retrieve them. Yes, the marijuana is illegal, but since Lucas himself is not beyond lighting up, he does not have a real moral issue with it. But when Tavon and Edwin, Hawkins' two men who are helping Lucas figure out what is going on, end up shot to death, things start to turn violent. Lucas is not a violent man but he certainly has no problem doing what he has to defend himself and to earn his pay. BUt when big money is involved, things can get very nasty.

The plot of The Cut is very good, very fast moving with some great twists and turns.
And the setting in Washington D.C is perfect. Without a doubt, Pelecanos know the city and not just the part we tourists will likely see. He was a writer on The Wire, and if you have seen that series, you know that he knows how to do gritty. He know D.C. and the huge variety of people who live there, and he also has a real fondness for it and those people that comes across on every page. It is far from perfect, and so are many of the people in this book, but it is always interesting. One thing that makes it very real is that Lucas love food and he loves music, "reggae, ska, dub, and guitar-based rock and bar bands", (none of which I had ever heard of) and his tour of a number of restaurants and clubs is great fun.

But without question, the heart of this book is our hero, a character that I hope we will be seeing more of in the future. Lucas is a good man, but not without some moral ambiguity. He takes flowers to his father's grave and visits his mother several times a week, has a great relationship with his one brother and yet is saddened about the lost relationship with his two other siblings. He loves woman and they love him, and yet, as one of them says, he still has some things to learn about how to treat a woman the right way. He is not ready to settle down, yet he would love to be the sort of father figure for some needy young man like his dad was for him.
But also, there is no man your might rather have on your side going into a very dangerous situation.
What do they say? Women will want to be with him and men will want to be him. And he is so good to his mom!
I think I may be in love...lol

A good story, a great hero...hopefully the start of a great new series.


  1. My husband loved this book but I didn't get it read before my netgalley expired. :( It sounds like I need to buy a copy of the book.

  2. I'm so excited to read this book! What kills me though is that his books in hardback almost always get remaindered for a very low price, but by the time they do, I have already been unable to resist buying them! Ack! Must be strong!

  3. i must admit that I was weak. I read a review on the NY Times and bought it for full price for my Nook. Full price!

  4. I am thrilled that you enjoyed this book! I liked Pelecanos' other books that I've read and hoped this one would be a good one too. Yay! It's great that he's got a new, young investigator and Lucas isn't squeaky clean either!

    Great review and I'm now looking forward to reading this book now!

  5. You do sound a bit gushy! And now I know how to handle my drug deliveries if I ever take it up!

  6. I absolutely loved The Night Gardener, but I didn't follow through on anything else. Bad Sandy.

  7. The Night Gardener was my only experience with Pelecanos too and I did enjoy it immenseley. I put Pelecanos on the must read list but somehow he fell through the cracks. Gotta rectify that. Thanks for such an enticing review.


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!