Iraq veteran Spero Lucas is now a private investigator in his home town of Washington, D.C., specialising in reclaiming stolen property, and when a crime boss hires Spero's services for a large sum of money, Spero is soon dragged back into the kind of bloody violence which he thought he left behind him. After serving his country in Iraq, Spero Lucas has put his military past behind him and returned to his home town of Washington, D.C., where he now works as a private investigator. Spero's speciality is reclaiming stolen property, which he usually does for clients of a particular defence attorney.
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Spero is approached by a different potential employer, an imprisoned drug dealer named Anwan Hawkins, who wants to hire Spero's services to reclaim some stolen drugs which belonged to Anwan's organisation. Aware of the shady morality of the situation but too tempted by the large sum of money on offer, Spero accepts the job.
Spero begins his hunt for the missing drugs and it is one that leads to him investigating or becoming involved with a number of criminals, from otherwise unassuming young men who are only involved in the drug trade to make money, to cold-blooded killers who think nothing of murder. As his professional life leads down an increasingly dark and dangerous path, Spero tries to maintain and balance his personal ties, such as his relationship with his brother and mother.
Eventually, Spero learns the identities of the men behind the missing drugs, a group of dangerous criminals who learn of Spero in turn and who end up kidnapping an innocent teenage boy involved in Spero's investigation. Spero sets out to rescue the boy, relying on his military skills, and in the end the kidnappers die at Spero's hand and the boy is rescued.
In the end, Spero learns that his employer, Anwan Hawkins, has been hiding the truth from him, and was actually in business with the men who initially stole his drugs, but who became his partners soon afterwards. But by then it was too late for Anwan to call off Spero, and so the avalanche of violence began. Despite feeling angry over the bloody events which occurred, Spero soon returns to work.
Best part of story, including ending:
George Pelecanos is a masterful writer of crime fiction and with The Cut, one of his more recent novels, he has crafted another Washington, D.C.-set tale of violence, lies, criminals, drugs, loyalty, and family, starring another flawed young man trying to find his way.
Best scene in story:
Spero's relationship with his brother, Leo, is responsible for a number of scenes throughout the book, and this, along with a number of other details concerning Spero's family situation, help to break up the central plot and add depth to Spero's character.
Opinion about the main character:
Like a number of George Pelecanos' previous protagonists, Spero Lucas is a flawed but not amoral character, his multiple facets – both good and bad – and his military history (particularly how it comes into play in regards to the events of The Cut) making him an interesting character to read about.