Usual Suspect Pelecanos A Media Darling

In our New Title Radar for this week, we called George Pelecanos a “Usual Suspect,” since the release of a new title by him is a regular event, but we could have also characterized him as a “Media Darling.”

Reviews for his new book, The Cut, (Reagan Arthur/ Little, Brown; Audio, Hachette Audio and AudioGo) releasing today, appeared in a remarkable number of major newspapers in the last few days. All but one are enthusiastic about the beginning of this new series, featuring 29-year-old ex-Marine, Spero Lucas:

New York Times, by Janet Maslin (August 29, 2011); The Cut, “does a fine job of establishing Spero as a durable and highly appealing hero. And it sets up a back story and modus operandi that will work well for him in the future.”

Los Angeles Times, by Carolyn Kellogg (August 28, 2011); “For all the winningness of Spero Lucas — his modesty, postwar impatience, love for his family, devoted reading, easy banter, good taste in restaurants, gestures of kindness — it’s [the book’s] forward drive that makes him interesting, that makes him an excellent candidate for a mystery series.”

Washington Post, by Jonathan Yardley (August 28, 2011); “A book that entertains can also enrich, instruct and even enlighten. George Pelecanos’s books do all of that, which is plenty good enough for me.”

Portland Oregonian, by Steve Duin (August 27, 2011); the one reviewer who says Pelecanos is not at the top of his game with this one, still admits, “The Cut is not a total loss. Even when Pelecanos is misfiring, his writing has a fine rhythm, particularly when the novelist is taking readers on guided tours inside the Beltway.”

Financial Times, by Christopher Fowler (August 26); “This is gold-standard character-driven crime writing that few will ever match.”

Philadelphia Inquirer, by Dan DeLuca, 8/28; “George Pelecanos is rejuvenated in The Cut, the literary crime writer’s 17th novel and the first to feature Spero Lucas.”

USA Today, Interview by Carol Memmot, 8/28 (Pelecanos was also interviewed at the beginning of the month on NPR’s Morning Edition).

Pelecanos is a media darling in another context; he is a writer on two acclaimed HBO series, The Wire and Treme.

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