The Cut by George Pelecanos

The Cut by George Pelecanos
Publisher: Orion
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Crime fiction writer George Pelecanos introduces Spero Lucas, an anti-hero making his place in the world one battle at a time. Includes a bonus work of short fiction focusing on Spero’s early life.

Spero Lucas has a new line of work. Since he returned home to Washington, D.C. 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 forty 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 Spero 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 has served his country and after returning home discovered he wasn’t suited to more steady or a regular job. Instead he does small investigations and – his specialty – retrieving lost or stolen items. The deal though is he always takes a cut – usually forty percent of the value of the item he recovers. It’s been working just fine for him until what should have been another simple retrieval turns out to be a lot more complicated than Spero estimated.

I really enjoyed this gritty and gripping mystery story. This is the first book I’ve read by George Pelecanos and by about half way through I had ordered both the sequel to this book and two other books that begin different series of his. I loved the writing style – brief and gritty, almost a noir or hard-boiled sort of style. This won’t be to everyone’s tastes as there are some things Pelecanos will dwell and on and describe quite well – like clothing, music or books – but other more regular things (for example like landscapes or decorations, items readers often use to paint their own mental picture of what’s occurring) that aren’t as fully fleshed out. This didn’t bother me as much as I thought it might as the pace is kept moving at quite a decent clip and I was rushing along beside Spero trying to work out what was happening.

Readers who like a decent pace, plenty of action and a number of really strong secondary characters along with a good, solid plot should find this book really fits with what they’re wanting. I really enjoyed it – finding the plot tightly woven, the characters vivid and interesting enough to keep my attention and Spero an interesting and layered character. I was also pleased he wasn’t the classical loner style of gritty noir detective – he had a decent sized family and was particularly close with his brother. Spero also enjoyed and appreciated the ladies he came into contact with and he had an interesting enough personality that he could spend time with pretty much anyone. I really enjoyed this and found it added appreciably to the story.

With a lovely twisty plot (but nothing unrealistic or too outrageous), good characters and plenty of supporting people plus a lovely noir/gritty tone of voice this was a great book and one I know I will enjoy reading again in the future. Recommended.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.