Monday, August 21, 2006

Just Finished: "Calibre" by Ken Bruen

Just Finished: Calibre by Ken Bruen, 2006, 031234144x.

Pretty good. I read Vixen a while ago and liked it quite a bit; this novel is a continuation of the series. The main character of Calibre, sort of, is Inspector Brant of the London Metropolitan Police. Brant is an amoral goon who likely will never be caught as a bad cop. Brant is too carefull, too successful and has too many other cops in his debt to take a fall.

Calibre is not a mystery novel and not much of a police procedural. The novel is more about several of the cops at Brant's Southeast London station with a serial killer thrown in the mix. Descriptions and dialogue are brief. Stories about the personal lives of the characters intersect. Events that other authors might build up and dwell on - an officer cracking another cop with brass knuckles, a cop blitzing on cocaine and hatching an obscure plan to salvage his reputation and career, a killer's diary about his killings and motivations - are moved along by Bruen. Bruen keeps the story flowing moving.

Bruen presents a part of London that you don't want to visit, and you certainly cannot count on the cops for help. Supervisors are concerned about themselves and press coverage, cops are boozers and/or dopers, criminals will joyfully kill the cops, informants are screwed, and everyone defers to "that animal Brant".

The character of the killer is a crime novel aficionado and there are quotes between each chapter. Bruen is on par with any of the authors (Robert Parker, Jim Thompson, Ed McBain, etc.) he quotes.

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