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He Kills Coppers (The Long Firm Trilogy #2)

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  529 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
August 1966--the long hot summer of World Cup victory euphoria is abruptly shattered when three policemen are gunned down in a West London street. The bewilderingly senseless crime shocks a nation seemingly at ease with itself, and brings an end to the celebrations. It also marks a beginning for three men who have never met--and yet their fates are bound up with the event ...more
Paperback, 327 pages
Published November 11th 2002 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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Matt Brady
Not so much a sequel to The Long Firm as much as it is a companion piece, returning to the grimy streets of London's west end in the 60's and 70's for a story about crooked cops, small time gangsters and the gutter press. He Kills Coppers is something of a blend of James Ellroy and Guy Ritchie, but the formula that worked so well in The Long Firm fails here. Part of the reason is that the characters aren't quite as interesting in He Kills Coppers. There's no Harry Starks or Jack the Hat. There’s ...more
Mar 29, 2016 S'hi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a diamond-cut novel. It’s sharp perspectives are kept edgy by the constant first-person narrative through a succession of characters, yet it defies the formulaic version of this adopted by other writers. The personal experience of the author probably explains his ability to do this so effectively. Having travelled through many anonymous jobs he can shape-shift more readily then those who have only used vicarious imagination to do so. The references to known criminals and events reflects ...more
I loved both The House of Rumour and The Long Firm so had high hopes for He Kills Coppers. Unfortunately I was disappointed. The novel has a similar London underworld setting to The Long Firm and a few characters make cameo appearances, otherwise it could have been written by a completely different author. Two main characters, a journalist and a policeman, take turns speaking through first-person viewpoints but their voices are so similarly portrayed that I frequently had trouble trying to disti ...more
The middle book in a gritty British gangster noir trilogy, He Kills Coppers has the clipped, incisive rhythm of a Raymond Chandler thriller. Three interlinking stories expose the seedy underbelly of 1960s London--a compromised policeman, a journalist with secrets, and petty thief turned cop killer. The story rips right along with gangsters and dames each playing out their archetypal roles. Near the end of the book, though, the story suddenly jumps to the 1980s for a pointless, and frankly baffli ...more
Lance Greenfield
Aug 29, 2010 Lance Greenfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True crime

The book is based on a true story, which begins after a considerable prologue, on the day of the 1966 World Cup Final with the brutal killings of three London policemen. Incidentally, for those who don't know, England beat Germany by four goals to two after extra time in that final.

The prologue to the horrific incident is entirely necessary and relevant, as it explains how the three main characters arrived where they were on that fateful day.

There is the policeman, who was the closest
Oct 31, 2008 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book when it was first released in paperback, started it, and then for some reason put it down and didn't pick it up again.

Recently I saw the first 2 parts of the BBC serialisation of Arnott's earlier novel The Long Firm, and that inspired me to find He Kills Coppers on my shelves and read it.

My first impression is that Arnott writes very well. His prose is descriptive yet succinct, and he does a very good job of painting not just a backdrop for his story, but a whole environment a
Aug 26, 2008 Tony rated it liked it
Arnott, Jake. HE KILLS COPPERS. (2001). ****. Billed as the British equivalent of James Ellroy’s ‘L.A. Confidential,’ it’s not quite that. This second novel from Arnott (His first, ‘The Long Firm,’ was optioned by the BBC to be made into a five-part program.) follows the stories of three men. One of the men is on the police force, and feels he is responsible for his partner’s death after he had him transferred to a different division. The second man is the killer of the cop. He manages to elude ...more
This is the first book of Arnott’s I have read. He Kills Coppers is part of a trilogy of inter-linked stories set during the 1960’s and onwards. They are not directly linked so I do not believe you have to read them in order. This one is in fact the second one. I read this one first because I happen to have the DVD of the TV series ITV made a few years ago and I wanted to read the book first.

The other books are ‘The Long Firm’ and ‘Truecrime’.

He Kills Coppers is loosely inspired by the real Shep
Apr 02, 2012 Wwmrsweasleydo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arnott isn't very good at endings. Also, the 'twist' in this tale was blatantly obvious for a long time before it happened. Those are my only criticisms, though. I loved everything else about this book.

This is the story of three men who don't meet until the end of the book, but whose lives are all impacted by one incident: the killing of coppers of the title. It takes place in the same universe as The Long Firm and a few of the characters from that book are mentioned. Only Teddy Thursby and Geo
Oct 01, 2012 Richard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime

This could have been good, and at times was good, but overall it fell short looking back. The author has a fluid style but seems to struggle to keep the story going and after about half way through it began to drag (which is saying something for a book only 300+ pages).

Based on true events that happened in the 60’s (and eerily echoed recently in Manchester with the killing of two female officers) the story revolves around 3 different characters; 1 is a cop, 1 is a newspaper reporter, and the
Apr 04, 2013 Libertad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Empecé con ganas la trilogía de Jake Arnott, Delitos a largo plazo (The long firm) y el primer volumen me dejó un poco fría. Tanto que ni siquera consideré escribir una reseña. En cambio, su segundo volumen, titulado aquí Canciones de sangre me atrapó desde el principio. Basado en un hecho real acaecido a mediados de los años sesenta, en el libro se suceden tres narradores: un delincuente de poca monta que acaba convirtiéndose en el fugitivo más perseguido por la justicia, el policía que lleva e ...more
Apr 01, 2013 Margaret rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had a slightly love-hate relationship with this novel. More hate really. I had read The Long Firm (the two books form part of a trilogy) with some - um - not enjoyment; it's far too grungy for that, and expected to react similarly to this one. He Kills Coppers spans three decades from the 1960s to the 1980s. There are stories of corruption, in the Police service principally, but also in the world of journalism: it reminds us, in the section recording developments in the ‘80’s, of the sheer nas ...more
Oct 13, 2011 Joshua rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Books [and movies] have sort of taken the back seat for the past 2/3 weeks. Moving across country can do that to your attention span [too anxious to read for any great length of time] or energy [too worn out at night to read for any great length of time]. So, my 2011 total has kind of taken a dive the past month. HE KILLS COPPERS by Jake Arnott is a British crime novel set mostly in the 1960s/1970s [with a dash of 1985 at the end] and tells the stories of three individuals--a cop killing crimina ...more
Jan 12, 2010 Jak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again a very good book from Arnott for the second in his ‘True Crime’ trilogy. The story follows three different characters who are I some way linked by the same event, namely the killing of three police men in Sheppard’s Bush in ’66. The characters are a mildly bent copper who was friends with one of the murdered police men, the murder himself and a journalist assigned by a tabloid to cover the shootings.

As the story does not conclude until 1985 it follows the characters beyond the initia
Jayne Charles
Feb 11, 2012 Jayne Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great follow-up to 'The Long Firm', with many overlapping themes and some characters in common. This one has a different structure, though, following three people (a policeman, a journalist and a criminal) through the late 1960s and beyond. They are all connected by the crime at the centre of the novel, and though their paths cross relatively little during the course of the story, there is the sense that they will converge at the end. If anything surprised me, it was that the conclusion was ra ...more
Jan 22, 2015 Martinxo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2015
Another good read to see me through my illness, though not quite as engaging as The Long Firm.
Brian Richards
Dec 18, 2015 Brian Richards rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A reread on the plane today... gritty crime drama ... highly recommended..
Nov 10, 2015 Tash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read the trilogy around the time I met Hannah, may have been her suggestion
Dec 22, 2012 Iain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Similar in some ways to The Long Firm, but more complex, focusing on a single character and his flight from a messy police killing. Billy Porter is a more sympathetic version of murderer Harry Roberts (the real-life Roberts is somewhat unrepentant with a history of violent crime), driven by demons from military service during the Malaya insurgency and an adolescence of petty crime. Porter finds sanctuary, companionship and rehabilitation in various places after sleeping rough(unlike Robert) but ...more
Sep 23, 2010 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Right wing polemic about sixties and seventies society. A group of bungling war veterans murder a few cops during a tax disc inspection as they go out on a job.

It also follows the story of a policeman in the CID following up various permissive society intrigues, and, quite pointlessly, a gay newspaper journalist who naturally kills people (a continual theme in the 1960s, so "dead in period", but still silly), although this plotline goes nowhere.
Oct 21, 2009 H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are three narrators, and they lived different lives in London during 60s-80s. Two of them (the bent cop and the serial killing journalist,) tell their stories in first person perspective, while the 'outsider' (Colin Wilson's term) PTSD veteran's perspective is told in the third person. While this is already out of the ordinary, Arnott uses these perceptions to achieve an unexpected twist toward the end of the story.
Jan 03, 2016 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jake Arnott writes compelling, unremittingly nasty characters like nobody else. And his ability to recreate the Sixties, 1966, the year I married (and wondered why there was so much football on the telly) is astonishing considering he was born in 1961. He brings to bear, for the most part, his research astonishingly well, and lightly, and at least I have learnt not to Google the events he so vividly describes.
Roger Cottrell
Along with David Peace, Jake Arnott is the greatest of our retrospective crime writers(in the UK) and He Kills Coppers is his best book. The ITV series with Timothy Spall's sprog was terrific but I've just read the book and it adds a whole new dimension to the story. Sensational
Aug 10, 2011 Carakins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It started off slow - I didn't think it was a patch on *The Long Firm*, but by the end I was powering through, really captivated by the story line. It was particulary apt given the events of this week.

Arnott is an intriguing writer.
Kay Wells
Aug 18, 2012 Kay Wells rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Read about 3 characters with different lives and careers. The social changes of 3 decades from the 1960's through to the 1980's. It brings in morality and corruption on both sides of the law and the effect it had on England.
"Coppers" starts out like a British Elmore Leonard with good dialogue and better characterization but the rushed ending left me feeling disappointed. Arnott has done better fiction.
Leonard Pierce
Dec 16, 2007 Leonard Pierce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A fast-moving, character-driven neo-noir over thirty years in London. Has a few glaring flaws; longer review here.
Derek Baldwin
Overlaps with The Long Firm, and packs a similar kind of punch. Not quite as good simply because the main character in The Long Firm is such a memorable figure.
Apr 18, 2008 Tosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charles Dickens meets hard boiled crime narrative. Sort of the social history of London via the eyes of the cops and crooks. Remarkable book.
Aug 18, 2013 Shonette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strong follow up to 'The Long Firm' with some dark new characters. The pace never slows and you'll get through the book in no time.
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Jake Arnott is a British novelist, author of The Long Firm and four other novels. In 2005 Arnott was ranked one of Britain's 100 most influential gay and lesbian people; but since 2005 he has been in a relationship with the formerly lesbian writer and novelist, Stephanie Theobald. In May 2001 he was included in a list of the fifty most influential gay men in Britain, it was declared that he is wid ...more
More about Jake Arnott...

Other Books in the Series

The Long Firm Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Long Firm
  • truecrime

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