“He had a cop’s knowledge of DC because he was out in it, street level, most of his working hours,” writes George Pelecanos of his new protagonist, Spero Lucas, in his 17th novel. The description could also apply to Pelecanos, whose encyclopedic knowledge of DC’s constabulary, criminals, and alleyways in which they clash, coupled with a Richard Price–like ear for authentic townie dialogue, has made him a local treasure, the lone Washington writer whose storytelling chops the airport-novel set and the literary crowd can agree on.
In The Cut, Pelecanos follows Lucas—an ex-Marine who earns a living recovering jacked valuables for clients—into the city’s underbelly to recoup stolen drug money for a jailed crime boss. Tires squeal. Bones crack. Guns blast. Blood spills. But what gives The Cut staying power is Lucas. He’s complex—a pious son, trained killer, arch lover, tortured vet. For that reason, the most satisfying thing about The Cut might be what it portends: a new series of novels with Lucas at the fore.
This article appears in the October 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.
Reagan Arthur Books