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MYSTERY/Bruen, Ken
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Subjects
Published
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur 2005.
Edition
1st U.S. ed
Language
English
Item Description
Originally published: London : Do-Not Press, 2003.
Physical Description
201 p. ; 21 cm
ISBN
0312327307
9780312327309
Main Author
Ken Bruen (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Continuing that vicious, black-sheep cousin of McBain's 87th precinct series, Bruen's latest love letter to lowlife London (following The White Trilogy and Blitz) pits his bent coppers against an uneasy menage of opportunists who stumble on some dynamite and extort the police with random bombings. The trio's lowest common denominatrix, a deadly doll named Angie, gets more than chummy with policewoman Elizabeth Falls, whose swift descent past her debauched colleagues in succumbing to the ravages of bad living--no mean feat--provides a brilliantly bad example to her young trainee. The magnificent Sergeant Brant swaggers and sneers at the top of the food chain, trading favors with whores and generally enforcing the law of the jungle. As a bystander observes, "God help us all if they're the good guys." Bruen's lean, mean prose spins out a tale both tight and slight, but his unmistakable affection for irreverent scoundrels on both sides of the law gives this series a brutal,Clockwork Orange ebullience that is certain to please fans of such noir bards as Elmore Leonard, Jim Nisbet, and Scott Phillips. ((Reviewed August 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

This new installment in Shamus-winner Bruen's Southeast London police squad thriller series—the little brother to the author's Jack Taylor mysteries—reunites the reader with the incorrigible Inspector Brant, Sergeant Doyle, Police Constable Falls and other old friends. This time Brant and cohorts must investigate a series of deadly extortion bombings masterminded by Angie James, aka "the Vixen." A female psychopath, James coldly manipulates men and women like human pawns to make her plan succeed. Bruen provides the usual grace notes, including quotes from other mystery novels, pithy dialogue and hyper-real violence. James as a malevolent force of nature adds needed energy to the narrative, while new characters like Falls's partner, Patricia Andrews, supply a few fresh faces on the police side. Brant's now trademark nefarious activities make for wickedly funny reading. The best scene in the novel might be when Brant leads Chief Inspector Roberts to a prostitutes' party and gets him drunk. However, overall, the novel seems curiously muted in effect compared to past efforts (Blitz, etc.). Bruen uncharacteristically slows his scenes with explanations, while the central mystery surrounding the Vixen is pedestrian. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Inspector Brant must draw on all of his ruthlessness, street smarts, and skills as an investigator as he and his team with the Southeast London police squad pursue The Vixen, a sensuous, psychopathic, female serial killer who has been setting off a series of lethal explosions across the city of London. Original. 20,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

For the Southeast London police squad, it's rough, tough, dirty business as usual. The Vixen, the most sensuous, crazed female serial killer ever, is masterminding a series of lethal explosions. She is unpredictable, wild, angry--and the cops don't even know she exists.Meanwhile, Inspector Roberts is helpless to stop the explosions and his subordinates aren't doing much better. Brant is consumed with an even-bigger-than-usual mean streak, and fast-rising Porter Nash finds himself facing serious health problems--everything to do with needles. PC MacDonald is determined to soldier on, whatever the cost, and the career of a new addition to the squad, WPC Andrews, starts spectacularly but with Falls as her mentor she's not expected to last long. At the top, Superintendent Brown is close to a coronary, and arresting the wrong man in a blaze of publicity is only the beginning of his problems.If the squad survives this incendiary installment in Ken Bruen's blazingly intense series, they'll do so with barely a cop left standing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

For the Southeast London police squad, it's rough, tough, dirty business as usual. The Vixen, the most sensuous, crazed female serial killer ever, is masterminding a series of lethal explosions. She is unpredictable, wild, angry--and the cops don't even know she exists.Meanwhile, Inspector Roberts is helpless to stop the explosions and his subordinates aren't doing much better. Brant is consumed with an even-bigger-than-usual mean streak, and fast-rising Porter Nash finds himself facing serious health problems--everything to do with needles. PC MacDonald is determined to soldier on, whatever the cost, and the career of a new addition to the squad, WPC Andrews, starts spectacularly but with Falls as her mentor she's not expected to last long. At the top, Superintendent Brown is close to a coronary, and arresting the wrong man in a blaze of publicity is only the beginning of his problems.If the squad survives this incendiary installment in Ken Bruen's blazingly intense series, they'll do so with barely a cop left standing.