Book #72 was The Cut, the first book in the Spero Lucas series by George Pelecanos. The back of the book reads:
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 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 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)
I’ve been a fan of Pelecanos ever since I found out he was one of the creators of The Wire (I’m surely not the first person to tell you to watch that show), and I actually liked this book a little more than the last couple of his I’ve read. It’s still set in the Washington D.C. area, which he does such a great job bringing to life, but it’s not so focused on an "issue". I don’t mind a good issue-focused novel, but sometimes I just want a good crime story. Now don’t get me wrong; this crime story isn’t issue-free. Lucas is an Iraq veteran, and Pelecanos does have a lot to say about veterans and their post-war treatment. But at its heart, this is a story about drugs.
Lucas is a private investigator who specializes in finding things that are lost. He’s also not very particular about which side of the law he’s working on. When the client of a lawyer he normally works for needs some help recovering some "property", Lucas agrees to help. Soon he finds out that the story is much bigger than he could have imagined, and not only is he in danger, but people that have helped him are too.
I liked the character of Lucas. He’s an adopted kid in a mixed-race family, and I liked seeing those dynamics as much as I enjoyed seeing him in the weeds. It’s hard to dislike a man who loves his momma. There’s a strong theme of family relationships throughout the book, whether it’s Lucas and his family, the young man who helps him and his absentee mother, or the father & son crime duo.
I think one of Pelecanos’s strengths is his ability to create complex characters, and Spero Lucas is one I am anxious to read more about.
This book was a review copy.
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Page count: 304 (’11 total: 19,987) | Approximate word count: 91,200 (’11 total: 7,089,635)
2010: Tell Me Lies (Jennifer Crusie)
2009: Finger Lickin’ Fifteen (Janet Evanovich)
2008: The Finishing School (Michele Martinez)
2007: Lean Mean Thirteen (Janet Evanovich)
2006: The Sky is Falling (Sidney Sheldon)
2005: Jacob’s Ladder (Donald McCaig)