Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Cut by George Pelecanos

Home-town hero George Pelecanos adds another impeccable crime novel to his collection. More DC than just about anybody, Pelecanos writes about DC neighborhodd with granular, unmistakable precision, particularly N.E. and the Petworth/Georgia Avenue corridor. By rendering such a relatively limited scope to his novel's setting, he works a handful of well-drawn characters deeply into the landscape: they have always been there, and they always will remain, they were almost all born there, and die there (we see more than a couple do so in front of our eyes).

His hero, Lucas Spero, the adopted son of a Greek-American couple, has returned from active duty in Iraq and now works as a "finder" for a local attorney: he finds people, he finds money, he finds stuff. He also finds "the right way": guided by his beloved, deceased father's ghost, Spero struggles to keep promises, punish bad guys, and assist the less fortunate. Pelecanos' sense of moral ourage is a wonder to examine.

Maybe Speros goes down a little too easy with the ladies, maybe the lady characters exist to be attracted to him and flirt with him. But that's a small bother.

(His musical references are also stellar: Drive By Truckers, Black Uhuru, The Hold Steady, just to name a few.)

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