Book Review: Ken Bruen’s A White Arrest

Posted November 15, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Ken Bruen’s A White Arrest

A White Arrest


Ken Bruen

crime mystery, suspense in a paperback edition that was published by Dufour Editions on August 1, 1999 and has 164 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
(This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.)

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Devil, Taming the Alien, Headstone, The McDead, Blitz, Vixen, Calibre, Ammunition, Purgatory, The Ghosts of Galway

First in the Inspector Brant crime series set in some part of a contemporary London.

My Take

Since the series is named for him, I’d say it’s safe to say Brant survives the knife in his back at the end.

Brant is a corrupt asshole who ends up showing us a softer sider. But it is a difficult-to-comprehend story due to the language Bruen uses and its syntax. It amazes me that Bruen managed to pull me into the story in spite of the language or the brutality of their speech and their actions towards others.

It’s interesting that the Inspector Brant series overflows with book and music references as does Bruen’s Jack Taylor series, and both are settled in the dregs of humanity except that Jack is a decent man despite his addictions while Brant is a right git.

Mostly we are introduced to the characters and their interrelationships via a couple of serial killer cases and Brant’s oh-so-charming personality that kicks out amongst criminals, fellow officers, and civilians.

The Story

There’s the equal opportunity “E” crowd inspired by mercenary magazines and movies — including the Umpire’s favorite, The Dogs of War — doing anyone they believe are criminals so that society may be preserved — while the Umpire has his way of offing cricketeers, each time with a different weapon while Inspector Brant is out and about spreading his particular brand of xenophobic cheer, extorting cigarettes from the corner shop, putting his delivered pizzas on the slate, and blackmailing criminals and victims.

Until Brant reveals himself at dinner with one of his victims. When the Umpire torches the dog he rescued.

Even so, a number of Brant’s victims start to fight back. Via complaints to Scotland Yard. Seems that the beggars are fighting back as well.

The Characters

Inspector Brant partners up, so to speak with CI Roberts. Brant is a corrupt, perverted asshole who has no consideration for anyone at all. He believes that Ed McBain novels are the ultimate in police procedurals. Except. Brant does exhibit some slight hints of tenderness.

Chief Inspector Roberts is even more of an asshole who treasures his daughter, Sarah, a typical teenager, and despises his wife, Fiona. A Fiona who opens herself up to all sorts of trouble when she splurges along with her friend Penelope on a boytoy. Chief Superintendent Brown is not particularly impressed with Roberts either.

WPC Falls who learns a terrible secret about her new love, Eddie Dillon. PC Tone was brilliant with his O- and A-levels and an utter idiot in his admiration of Brant with a total lack of streetsmarts. Rosie is a fellow WPC with whom Falls can joke and survive the “wit” of her fellows. CID Durham has been sent to their station to assess them; we can only pray he never achieves a higher position. Admittedly, the station does need work. Their public image sucks and CI Roberts keeps thinking without his brain.

Cora, a.k.a., Maggie Johnson, is the madame for the CA Club, a male brothel catering to the ladies.

Kevin leads the other three of the “E” team: his brother Albert, Doug, and Fenton in bashing anyone they decide are criminals. Although blacks are their primary target, they’re not averse to taking out the occasional white man. The Umpire is a psychopath denied his fame as a cricketeer and determined to take his frustrations out on those who are in the game.

The Title

The title refers to the ultimate arrest. The kind that can win you promotion. Wipe out your black marks. A White Arrest.