The Cut
George Pelecanos
A Spero Lucas mystery
Reagan Arthur Books 2011
304 pages Hardcover

Set in Washington DC, The Cut is George Pelecanos’ first in a new mystery series.  Composed of corruption, steely criminals, killers, cold-hearted violence, and vigilante justice, it is a man’s book. The Kindle version includes a short titled Chosen about Spero Lucas’s early life and family.

Spero Lucas is a well-connected private investigator, a tough unfeeling ex-Marine whose only real personal connections are to his close Greek family.  He has been hired to play under the radar and recover a stash of drugs stolen from a local distributor.  His cut is 40 %.  Sometimes cuts can get you killed.  It places Lucas and those connected to him in serious danger, where he is fearless in doing what needs to be done.

The Cut is average-paced, sometimes raw and unpredictable. It sports a certain seamless quality.  Pelecanos is an excellent observational writer, vividly detailing each and every scene.  We are witness to characters’ personal styles, and are privy to the intimacy of what’s happening in their heads, their bodies, and with frequent descriptions of dining experiences, their bellies.  Well developed, we know their histories, and the movement of their day to day lives, which adds interest and depth to each individual.  Sometimes though the plot is a bit overshadowed by casual detail.

One word to describe The Cut by George Pelecanos, is cold.  Killing is cold.  The characters, with few exceptions are cold, but living in that world, they have to be.  Not that we were looking for a glass of warm milk before bedtime, but except for a brief blast of excitement, the plot and the ending, leave you wanting intensity and passion.

Containing not enough genuine humanity for this reader to care, yet receiving amazing accolades from the likes of Dennis Lehane, Stephen King, and Lee Child, in this reader’s opinion, The Cut simply did not live up to the hype.

Also by George Pelecanos and reviewed here:   Drama City      The Night Gardener     A Firing Offense