• The Cut

  • Spero Lucas, Book 1
  • By: George Pelecanos
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 30-08-11
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 3.9 (11 ratings)


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
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By O. Parker on 27-12-13

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.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By wordparty on 31-05-15

Tough guy stuff. Excellently read.

Having enjoyed the Pelecanos books I read some years ago, I looked forward to this new audiobook, but was disappointed. Although the book is beautifully narrated and flows well, I found the "hero", Spiro Lucas, to be an unappealing figure as, towards the end, the book descends into a lot of brutal violence.
As always Pelecanos is very good on hip street talk and references, but I did find the constant obsession on brands, labels on clothes, street names, and the frequent descriptions of physique and food, rather tedious and a little fetishistic.
Lucas is an ex-Marine, Iraq veteran, now unofficial and quite inept (his vet. buddies doing most of the investigative work) private investigator. This tough guy seems to have few qualms about having killed some civilians in his earlier life. Collateral damage. And this heartlessness spills over into "The Cut" and is curiously mixed with some sentimentality about "family" etc. It is also a little cliched that any attractive woman is so drawn to our macho hero that she is unable to resist sliding into bed with him. Maybe I misremembered G.P.'s earlier books, but I had thought them subtler than this one.
In The Cut's favour is the terrific narration by Dion Graham which effortlessly distinguishes between characters with a range of accents. The book is also smoothly written, as you would expect from George Pelecanos, but I found the story and main characters to be lacking in depth and any genuine warmth. Pity.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Corruns on 31-10-11

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!!!

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By bionichands on 02-05-12

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.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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