Book Review: Ken Bruen’s Taming the Alien

Posted November 21, 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 Taming the Alien

Taming the Alien


Ken Bruen

crime mystery, suspense in a paperback edition that was published by The Do-Not Press on March 18, 2000 and has 158 pages.

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Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Devil, A White Arrest, Headstone, The McDead, Blitz, Vixen, Calibre, Ammunition, Purgatory, The Ghosts of Galway

Second in the Inspector Brant crime series based somewhere in a contemporary London and revolving around the police.

My Take

Lord, Bruen is such a depressive writer! And, I swear their cop shop is in need of help and a sense of focus. Roberts keeps making the wrong decisions; the desk sergeant doesn’t have his head on right; and, Falls is so not paying attention. Although I did like their reaction when the duty sergeant informed the squad room that a would-be rapist had been shot, and the room erupted in cheers!

I do like his chapter headings — Bruen uses quotes from different books/authors.

This story was easier to follow. Not quite so much chopped up and interrupted conversations but more of a peek inside everyone’s heads. I do have to wonder how Bill has stayed on top for so long, for as many people as he has been betraying and turning on. A nice switch from the first book too in that everything ends well. Well, for the good guys anyway. Pretty amazing considering.

The Story

WPC Falls is hell on wheels. At least where men are concerned. Revenge. Oh hell. It’s not so sweet after all. About the same time, Roy Fenton — his cousin was one of the E Gang — is considering a poetry contest as he considers the woman who aborted his baby and the poetry of tracking her down. Brant is feeling the guilt over PC Tone’s murder. CI Roberts is drinking his own particular miserable news away, only to get hit with more and more bad news as the week wears on. A tiny, very tiny, part of me feels bad for him.

Bill’s gettin’ busy in this tale: tells Fenton where to find his woman in return for the Alien havin’ a chat with Brant, which Brant returns in spades. For which payback, Bill really screws himself over while saving the taxpayers a load of cash. God knows what Bill has set up with Roberts, and he’s droppin’ hints about Brant and Fiona.

Meanwhile, as Brant is recovering from his going over, he decides to head over to America. Have a look around for the Band-Aiders — he’s positive they murdered Tone ,and he’s determined to bring them to book. The good news is that the Band-Aiders met their match, and the government will pay his way over to the States.

The Characters

Inspector Brant is a corrupt cop with a side of asshole. As part of his crusade to avenge PC Tone, he’s on his way to America via Dublin where he meets his cousin Padraig de Brun who teaches him a new approach. Chief Inspector Roberts is about to reap his own reward right along the lines of the film noir he loves. I’m a bit confused about his daughter or is it daughters?? In A White Arrest, the daughter was named Sarah. Now Fiona Roberts is talking to their daughter Sharon. And I’m not getting the impression they have more than the one daughter…

WPC Falls is down and up and down in this one. That married bastard. The bit of delightful news. Then the attack after which she feels the love. Rosie is back from an aborted trip to India with her boyfriend, most of which they spent in hospital.

Bill seems to be the head crook in this part of London with a daughter he sees as blessed with Down’s Syndrome. He adores her but his sentiments stop and end with her.

Roy Fenton has a bad rep throughout southeast London, a.k.a., the Alien. No one wants to piss him off, and Roy is submitting his poetry to contests. Stella Davis, Roy’s ex, and her new husband, Jack, are about to end their day. Permanently. His trip to Mexico to celebrate gets cut a bit short.

The Cover and Title

The partial full face on the cover has got to be Fenton. There’s that manic look in his eye and, when combined with the grin, eek!

The title is apt although the timing is off but we do get to see Taming the Alien.