Book Review: Ken Bruen’s Calibre

Posted June 1, 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 Calibre



Ken Bruen

crime mystery, suspense in a paperback edition that was published by Minotaur Books on July 25, 2006 and has 192 pages.

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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, Blitz, Vixen, Ammunition, Purgatory, The Ghosts of Galway

Sixth in the Inspector Brant crime-suspense series based in a London police precinct and revolving around its policemen and women, Inspector Brant in particular.

My Take

I gotta confess, I am beginning to wonder about Falls…I’ve been crossing my fingers for her from the start, but in this story… I’m glad she’s not falling back on the booze or the coke, but to actually consider going out for a beer with McDonald??? Has she no standards? Then she turns around and redeems it with that knuckleduster…oh, yeah!

I can’t figure out why Brant tricks Porter into checking on Trevor unless he was actually looking out for Porter? Or did he just want in on this gig?

Bruen really does give it to us real. His characters do tend to veer more to the excess, but that does make the action more exacting. They’re real people with realistic issues reacting to extremes.

Ya just know that Brant is gonna get away with this new writing gig. He bashes and fucks his way through everything else…how could he possibly lose on this one.

The Story

Brant is back from a stint in Australia, and he’s more of a jerk than ever. After some missteps in Vixen, Falls and McDonald are one step from being kicked off the force — there’s even a lottery going as to who cracks first.

It’s McDonald who gets the two of them off the school shift.

Porter gets assigned the serial case for this installment: Mr. Manners is hoping that offing the rudesbys will tidy things up a bit. Brant soon gets in on it, and he recruits Falls to be bait. To be as rude as possible and entice him to attack. Then Falls gets paired up with Lane. Well, at least she isn’t on her way out.

It’s Brant’s threats, though, that push things over the edge, and at least England won’t have to suffer Mr. Manners anymore.

The Characters

Sergeant Tom Brant rips off shopkeepers and criminals and everyone around him knows to be leery of him. Recently back from a two-week exchange in Australia, he’s all-things Oz and bugging his fellow cops. He’s looking to be the next McBain. Chief Inspector Roberts is about the closest cop Brant has to a friend. He’s currently solving cases right and left…and getting a mite too cocky. WPC Elizabeth Falls is one step away from being thrown off the force. She’s managing to stay off the sauce and the coke and working hard to claw her way back on to a more active beat. Sergeant Porter Nash is back at work — a stage 1 diabetic. And feeling his solitary state.

PC Alistair McDonald is on the bottom as well, and it just gets worse when he runs out on a fellow cop. Figuring he’s got nothin’ to lose, he starts pulling Brants. Superintendent Brown is a majorly bigoted jerk, and it’s more of a joke than a serious concern when he’s “caught” passing funny money.

WPC Andrews is doing quite well, even if she does have to run the usual gauntlet for new women cops.

Alcazar “Caz” is Brant’s latest snitch. Trevor Blake is a bartender interested in a longterm relationship with Porter. PC Lane is mostly sidelined at the precinct due to an unfortunate photograph. Linda Gillingham-Bowl is the book agent interested in Nash/Brant’s synopsis. Don Keaton is a stockbroker who rearends Falls and, man, does he fall.

Thomas Crew, a.k.a., “Ford”, is living out his favorite crime authors and having a ball. Mandy is his hooker girlfriend. Jamil is a drug dealer caught in a domestic. Fitz is a BIG crook passing funny money. Never ignore advice about approaching this guy. Graham Picking is a pedophile about to meet his Maker.

The Cover and Title

The cover is divided into three rows: the top is a very blurry black-green-and-white of two men in a hallway, the narrow middle has a gray ground with the author’s name and the award noted in black, and the bottom is a black background with a colonial blue title.

The title refers to the book that Brant is “getting” Nash to write for him, Calibre. It’s about the only contribution Brant has made to it so far.