Book Review: Ken Bruen’s Blitz

Posted January 20, 2012 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 Blitz



Ken Bruen

crime mystery, suspense in a paperback edition that was published by St. Martin's Press on September 5, 2000 and has 268 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
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Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Devil, A White Arrest, Taming the Alien, Headstone, The McDead, Vixen, Calibre, Ammunition, Purgatory, The Ghosts of Galway

Fourth in the Inspector Brant crime-suspense series set in London and revolving around Sergeant Tom Brant, a corrupt, brutal cop with a heart.

My Take

Oh, I was so hoping the opening scene with the shrink would be Brant! It’s one of the things I like about Brant — he has no compunctions about destroying self-righteous know-it-alls like Dr. Hazel. Then there’s Falls’ treatment of a group therapy leader…oh yeah…

It’s an interesting mix of cops helping each other, and metaphorically, beating on each other. Bruen writes such a realistic “day in the life” for cops that you can’t help but feel the brutality, the frustration, and the negativity even as Bruen slides in bits of hope.

We get a peek into Falls’ friendship with a skinhead even as she sinks into alcohol and drugs in an attempt to ward off the depression of her recent past. It’s her friendship with Metal that saves her life…again and again. Metal has confessed to beating a sand nigger, and Falls reaches out to the assigned detective — with an ultimatum for Metal. A detective whom Falls was not expecting to be such a hunk, at least from Roberts’ description. Good thing for Falls that Nelson is attracted…it’s all that’ll save her ass, even if she is angry at him over nothing.

Very unexpectedly Brant and Nash seem to be developing a friendship??! As a result of their tenuous friendship, Nash asks Brant to come to his dad’s wedding — hoo boy! It’s pretty obvious that Brant considers Nash a friend when you read his putdown of Nash, Senior. Nelson’s concern for Falls also seems to be hopeful, eventually.

It’s fascinating how beautifully Bruen writes a scene, a story with so few words and yet totally conveys the atmosphere, the slogging frustrations, the despairing hopes. The truths.

The Story

Brant puts the department shrink in his place, even as Falls asks Nash for backup the night she fails her sergeant’s exam. The same night the Blitz strikes for the first time. WPC Sandra Miller is the first victim. Roberts is on leave with his wife’s death, and Porter Nash is put in charge, bypassing Brant — the powers-that-be are hoping he’ll screw up, and they can get rid of Nash. Hey, maybe hit the Trifecta and get rid of Brant as well.

Meantime, pensioners are getting mugged the day they pick up their checks at the post office and Roberts, as part of his increased energy, points McDonald in the right direction. Too bad, McDonald just can’t seem to engage his brain on the work side; his emotions end in disaster.

The reality of police work intrudes with arresting Barry and having to let him go in the morning, in spite of McDonald’s pathetic attempts at empathy, but it all comes “right” in the end.

The Characters

Sergeant Brant rips off shopkeepers and criminals and has the back of his fellow cops. Chief Inspector Roberts is another corrupt cop with fewer redeeming values than Brant, but his wife’s death seems to spur him on. Says something when his own daughter rags on him to sell the house because she wants her share of the money! WPC Falls has had a slew of ups and downs: her best friend on the force’s suicide, a beating that results in a miscarriage, and more. Now she’s trying to re-connect with her black side. Sergeant Porter Nash is openly gay and works at being supportive with his fellow cops. PC McDonald is the unit suck-up. He prefers to get ahead by ratting out his fellow cops as opposed to actually doing the work of detecting. Superintendent Brown has ties with crime through his Masonic connections, has all the sensitivity of a dead toad, and hates Brant and Roberts.

Detective Inspector Bob Nelson is the lead on the beating of a young Arab.

John “Metal” Wales is a young skinhead Falls befriends; she figures if you can “turn him, you could turn anything, anyone”. Barry Weiss is a “misunderstood lad” in his eyes. He plans to make a name for himself killing coppers. Radnor Bowen is a lower-class snitch who dresses up to play a better confidence game. Too bad he isn’t more careful.

Dr. Hazel is the department psychiatrist. A petty bully who “had the backup of “Brutish orderlies, restraints, straitjackets…[and] Thorazine” until he met Sergeant Brant. Harold Dunphy is the news reporter Weiss latches onto to provide the scoop that will set him up.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a bit peekaboo with its white top border and black bottom; the middle strip is tired eyes looking through with a bright red title and deep yellow author’s name.

The title is the police work and the name of the serial killer, a Blitz of crime and activity.


4 responses to “Book Review: Ken Bruen’s Blitz

    • I can’t believe I missed this coming out as a movie!?? I so love your books; I’ll be curious to see how Jason Statham holds up to my image of Brant. Is it strictly Blitz or does it combine from others in the series like Master and Commander did with O’Brien’s??

  1. KD
    Blitz is based on just that one book.We’re negotiating the rest in the series.
    I played a priest in the movie!
    Bizarre in the extreme but it was wild being on set for a week
    have a great Sunday

    • I’ll be keeping an eye out for stray priests! What was it like to play a part in your own story?

      I’m pleased to hear that it’s only about the one story. I hate it when directors smush several together! Besides, it means more money for you and, more importantly, more exposure for your books. Anything to encourage you to continue writing!?! LOL