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Blitz [Paperback]

Ken Bruen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 2004 Inspector Brant Series (Book 4)
The South East London police squad are down and out: Detective Sergeant Brant is in hot water for assaulting a police shrink, Chief Inspector Roberts' wife has died in a horrific car accident, and WPC Falls is still figuring out how to navigate her job as a black female investigator in the notorious unit. When a serial killer takes his show on the road, things get worse for all three. Nicknamed "The Blitz" by the rabid London media, the killer is aiming for tabloid immortality by killing cops in different beats around the city.

Blitz represents Ken Bruen at his edgy, lethal, and sharp-tongued best, and will reward fans of his Jack Taylor novels with another astonishing, smart, and brutal vision from a writer rapidly becoming one of the best of his generation.

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From Booklist

Most of the hard-charging cops from The White Trilogy [BKL F 1 03] are back--Sergeant Brant, Chief Inspector Roberts, Police Constable Falls--along with a couple of late arrivals, Sergeant Porter Nash and PC McDonald. Slogging their way through a London unrecognizable from postcards, it's a wonder any of them have survived both criminal mayhem and their own self-destructive impulses. A cop killer dubbed "The Blitz" is wreaking havoc with a hammer, and as the tale rockets forward, the characters find themselves engaged in unlikely alliances: homophobe Brant with openly gay Nash; suddenly supercompetent Roberts with screw-up McDonald; and the black Falls with "Metal," a racist skinhead. While Blitz still suffers from Bruen's tendency to create two-dimensional villains and to skim the surface of emotional depths he ought to plumb, there are hints that he's softening a bit, realizing that characters with regrets are more interesting than those too emotionally dead to care. Also, this one is more satisfyingly plotted than its predecessors, ending with a bang instead of just skidding to a stop. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Intelligent, uncompromising hard-boiled crime."
--Publishers Weekly
 
"Bruen’s staccato style ... is all his own."
--Kirkus Reviews
 
"Satisfyingly plotted."
--Booklist

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars one sitting trip to London�s wild side June 30 2004
By Harriet Klausner TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The police psychiatrist asks South East Detective Sergeant Brant to talk about his tendency towards violence when the patient lights up a cigarette in the non-smoking office and head butts the shrink. As the Super lectures Chief Inspector Roberts over his failure to reign in Brant's abusiveness, the latter learns his wife died in a car accident. Super has his favorite poster boy handsome PC McDonald take home the distraught Roberts. Officer WPC "Black is Beautiful" Falls fails a key exam while goof McDonald, who almost cost her life, remains the Super's pet. Still the fair haired McDonald runs into trouble; Brant sets him up to look like a stooge and he had an accident in which he killed a bloke
While Roberts replaces his wife with alcohol as his companion, Falls turns to drugs and a skinhead for solace, and Brant is on the brink of suspension, The BLITZ murders police officer Sandra Miller. Other cops are killed and soon the South East London Police Squad knows they must stop a vicious serial killer. However, with Roberts deep into mourning and Brant in deep trouble, Porter Nash leads the investigative task force which only angers his superiors, Roberts and Brant.
Living up to its title, BLITZ, fans will feel just that way with this one sitting trip on London's wild side. Readers get a close up look at several cops struggling with personal problems when the serial killer, seeking publicity, begins a reign of terror that grips London and the audience. The ending is a delightful twist that will leave police procedural lovers seeking more urban noirs from Ken Bruen (see THE GUARDS and KILLING OF THE TINKERS).
Harriet Klausner
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bkitz . . . krieg June 20 2004
Format:Paperback
If you haven't read Ken Bruen you're in for a treat. His "White Trilogy" is extraordinary. If you want a character that will plumb the depths of your soul, read about Jack Taylor in "The Guards."
Here, in "Blitz," a series of interconnected killings target police officers. Inspector Roberts is on compassionate leave, his wife having been killed in a traffic accident. Police Officer Falls, a Black woman police officer, befriends and is befriended by a young Aryan racist named 'Metal' with unpredictable consequences. And Sergeant Brandt finds himself teamed up with the openly gay Inspector (acting) Sergeant Porter Nash.
With an opportunity to make it into a West End comedy, Bruen modulates the heat so that a few guffaws are followed by a considerable chill as something disturbing is about to occur, followed by more witty dialogue.
You have to get used to his short staccato paragraphs and chapters. The dialogue is what gets you . . . abrubt statements followed by a Murphy's-law series of events.
If there is a criticism it is that in the Roberts-Brandt novels, there is not enough about Roberts or Brandt. Yet as I mentioned above, the story of Jack Taylor as told in "The Guards" shows great depth of character so if there is superficiality in Roberts-Brandt and they seem short of substance, it is by Ken Bruen's choice.
One of the best writers around. Certainly well worth the effort. 5+ stars. Larry Scantlebury
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-Rate Irish Noir Dec 31 2004
By James Clar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Call it "Irish Noir," "Post-Modern Noir, " or whatever other adjective or descriptive phrase you can come up with; it matters not one bit. There's noir ... and then there's Ken Bruen. Blitz is the sequel to Bruen's The White Trilogy, a series of novels that introduced us to the cops in the South East London squad. A more dysfunctional collection of police officers would be hard to imagine. This time around, their loyalties, their training and what's left of their fragile sanity will be put to the test as they attempt to collar a sociopath who is out there killing cops with a hammer. (Leading Bruen, of course, to insert an irreverent reference or two to the Beatles' immortal "Maxwell's Silver Hammer." Would you expect any less?). The killer, nicknamed "the Blitz" by London's rabid tabloid press, is a total `nutter. As the novel progresses, the reader is left with the sneaking suspicion that this whack-job is probably going to get away with his crimes and maybe even make a few pounds selling his story to the highest bidder. The fact that you are tempted in that direction, however, is dead giveaway that the author has something else entirely up his sleeve.

What Blitz lacks - relatively speaking, that is, compared to some of Bruen's other novels - in terms of sheer primal energy and visceral impact, it more than makes up for by means of a subtle and not-so-subtle sense of humor that is as grim and as dark as it gets. It's not that Bruen has become domesticated. It's just that his technique has become more sophisticated over time. Indeed, the author's implicit indictment of society is all the more searing because it is couched largely in such outlandishly humorous terms in this novel. You'll laugh your arse off in places while reading this book. Five minutes later you'll realize that what tickled your fancy was definitely no laughing matter a' tall. And five will getcha ten that's what the author bloody well intended in the first place! So strap yourself in and grab a motion-sickness bag. You're in for a wild ride through the sights and sounds of a London that will never, ever make the pages of any guidebook.

Read the entire text of this review in MYSTERY NEWS (October/November 2004)
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIKEABLE BOOZING BOBBIES Feb. 7 2005
By Michael W. Kennedy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Blitz is the name of a sadistic killer who begins bumping off London bobbies. Tell the truth, I loved BLITZ. I loved the main cop characters, Detective Sergeant Brant and Chief Inspector Roberts, and hope they show up in another book. This is an alcohol-saturated book: it seems all the characters are up till 3 am boozing and look like hell the next day at work. What fun! Wouldn't we all like to be like that, throwing our health to the wind, devil-may-care like. No, probably not. But it is somehow liberating to live vicariously through such tough, hard-as-nails characters. In our overly PC age, when smoking a cigarette is a fineable offense in many places, it does the soul good to see people being free to make mistakes even if only between the covers of a novel. Living badly should be a choice, not a crime, in a free society. Brant and Roberts live badly and are tough, funny and likeable. Ken Bruen has written a series of novels with Jack Taylor as the protagonist which I haven't yet read but have received good reviews. BLITZ is my first Ken Bruen book. Tell you what, mate, it won't be my last.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you read this at Oval, Watch your back April 6 2007
By Robert B. Richey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Once again I am drawn into the gritty world of the London crime scene. In Ken Bruen's books, I am never sure who is more vicious and criminal, the serial killers or the police who are searching them out.

This book has our serial killer going after the police starting off with a traffic warden and aiming toward the protaganist himself, Ken Brant. We have all of the usual police who we got to know in previous books including Brant (of course), Falls, Roberts, the incompetent Super with his "golden boy - snitch" McDonald. Alas, we no longer have my favorite, Lisa since she killed herself in McDead.

This book may be a little rough for many readers and it might be hard to follow by people who have never been exposed to the peculiar language that is spoken in South London (some say that it is English, but I would not swear to that).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bkitz . . . krieg June 20 2004
By Larry Scantlebury - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you haven't read Ken Bruen you're in for a treat. His "White Trilogy" is extraordinary. If you want a character that will plumb the depths of your soul, read about Jack Taylor in "The Guards."
Here, in "Blitz," a series of interconnected killings target police officers. Inspector Roberts is on compassionate leave, his wife having been killed in a traffic accident. Police Officer Falls, a Black woman police officer, befriends and is befriended by a young Aryan racist named 'Metal' with unpredictable consequences. And Sergeant Brandt finds himself teamed up with the openly gay Inspector (acting) Sergeant Porter Nash.
With an opportunity to make it into a West End comedy, Bruen modulates the heat so that a few guffaws are followed by a considerable chill as something disturbing is about to occur, followed by more witty dialogue.
You have to get used to his short staccato paragraphs and chapters. The dialogue is what gets you . . . abrubt statements followed by a Murphy's-law series of events.
If there is a criticism it is that in the Roberts-Brandt novels, there is not enough about Roberts or Brandt. Yet as I mentioned above, the story of Jack Taylor as told in "The Guards" shows great depth of character so if there is superficiality in Roberts-Brandt and they seem short of substance, it is by Ken Bruen's choice.
One of the best writers around. Certainly well worth the effort. 5+ stars. Larry Scantlebury
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brant and the cop killer June 16 2010
By Frank J. Konopka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ken Bruen is simply a fantastic writer! I can't think of any other thriller author who can do so much with spare prose and a tremendous amount of dialogue. It seems as if he's lived some of the life about which he writes.

In this excellent book, Sgt. Brant (not yet an Inspector) and his cohorts are on the trail of a maniac who hates cops and has decided to kill a number of them, first with a gun and then with a hammer. The reader knows from the beginning who the killer is, but its the investigation that keeps interst going.

Additionally, we get glimpses of the "off the job" lives of Brant and some of his colleagues, and we can get a feel for the stress and strain of being a policeperson. Meanwhile, the investigation goes on and there is an arrest, but that is not the end of the story.

The true end, when it comes, is somewhat of a shocker, but if the reader has been paying close attention to the story, perhaps it isn't. I know that I would rather read Ken Bruen's books to the exclusion of almost any other thriller writer, and that's taking in a lot of territory.
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