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Brass in Pocket (Inspector Drake #1)
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Brass in Pocket (Inspector Drake #1)

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  556 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
Two traffic officers are killed on an isolated mountain pass in North Wales. Inspector Drake is called to the scene and quickly discovers a message left by the killer - traffic cones in the shape of a No 4.

The killer starts sending the Wales Police Service lyrics from famous rock songs. Are they messages or is there some hidden meaning in them?

Does it all mean more killing
Published (first published September 16th 2013)
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Nov 26, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taking place in north Wales, "Brass In Pocket", has a very interesting Rock-N-Roll flavor to it. Protagonist DI Ian Drake is called out to a double homicide where both victims sadly are police officers. Along with his partner DS Caren Waits they must head out to the Crimea-Pass. This s one of the nastier sections of north Wales. Murdered officers Paul Matthews, and Danny Farrell work out of the traffic division. Neither was a very good police officer to be sure. Oddly enough the set up traffic ...more
Roger Neilson
Dec 27, 2013 Roger Neilson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
I don't give up too easily, but by 33% in I had had enough.

1. I was tired of the endless descriptions of tidying his desk and reshuffling post it notes
2. The idea that characterisation of anyone who appears in the book had to have maybe one or two comments about what they are wearing and nothing else.....
3. I am not greatly interested in Sudoku as a means of establishing a detective's unique character....

Puzzled by why this gets rave reviews.
Pete Trewin
Feb 12, 2015 Pete Trewin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know if Private Eye still do Pedants’ Corner. It was a meeting place for professional nitpickers to compare notes – they even had a debate as to where the apostrophe should go in the title - and some of them have moved on to reviewing books on Amazon. The slightest spelling or grammatical mistake or inconsistency in the plot or settings and out comes the one star review. It was somewhat in this spirit that I approached ‘Brass in Pocket’. North Wales setting? I live there, pal, so it had ...more
Mar 04, 2015 Richard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When an author spends multiple paragraphs explain how various police officers underline the reports they are reading, you know a novel has serious problems. Other Puleston problems include constantly referring to Drake's car as the 'Alpha' -- yes, he drives an Alpha Romeo, however it does nothing to advance the plot to mention this every time he drives somewhere. Or that he uses a 'biro' to write with. So what?

The murderer leaves song references as clues, however, Puleston NEVER adds the lyrics
Brian Stoddart
This is a really good idea. A DI in the Wales police suffers from a compulsive behaviour disorder and is trying to deal with it while handling a complex serial murder case. The condition is having an impact on his family, too, at a time when his father has been diagnosed with cancer. The interplay of all these elements sets things up nicely.

Somehow, it does not quite work, though. There is some repetitive writing: there are just so many times a car can be "fired up", for example. And the conditi
Jun 13, 2014 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book in potential had a lot going for it: good plot, a great location and a detective with OCD. It was, however, let down by poor characterisation. Drake's OCD was manifested in tidying his desk and doing Sudoku, we're were never given a glimpse into what it might mean to have OCD; the characters seem to spend more time driving from place to place and not fully question the interviewees - many times obvious lines of questionings we're ignored. Ultimately, disappointing.
Brass in Pocket was the monthly read over at the English Kindle Mystery Club on Goodreads. I nominated it because the title and the concept, references to late 70’s music interested me, having lived through them. The protagonist, Inspector Drake, is an intriguing character with some time of OCD condition. His partner just seems to muddle along ignoring it for the most part. The book starts off with a bang, and a double homicide of two police officers on a lonely Welsh road. The pace rushes along ...more
Two cops are dead in North Wales. A cryptic message from the killer is left for Detective Inspector Ian Drake. Only one thing is clear. More people are going to die…

I had mixed feelings about this book. I loved the final revelations at the end. The mystery came to a satisfying and surprising conclusion. The police investigation felt natural and realistic for the evidence as it was presented.

Unfortunately, I struggled to like the characters. The hero, Ian Drake is obsessive compulsive to the core
Chi Dubinski
Feb 20, 2015 Chi Dubinski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When two police officers are killed in their car on a deserted road, the entire Wales Police force is stunned. How could this happen? When Inspector Ian Drake and Detective Sergeant Caren Waits start their investigation, they discover that the two dead cops weren’t exactly models of virtue. There are two clues—the number four outlined in orange traffic cones and the lyrics to the Pretneders’ song “Brass in Pocket.” Were one or both of the cops the killer’s target, or was it a random murder of ...more
Good twists, but a bit hard to get into

The premise of the book was great - a detective struggling with OCD who is trying to track down a serial killer that leaves confusing clues with numbers and song lyrics. It works out to be a good mystery, and I really liked the two main characters, but it was a bit slow to get into. The setting in Wales was a draw for me as I've not previously read any books set in Wales. It did interest me enough for me to Google more information (and pictures - gorgeous!)
Nov 04, 2016 Catherine rated it really liked it
I was unsure of this book at first. I wasn't particularly drawn to any of the characters. However I continued reading and I'm glad I did. I got to know more about the characters and understand them better. The investigating police had their faults which made them seem more true to life. I guessed who they were looking for quite late in the book and this was because of a phrase the author used. I thought, "Aha!" I will read the next book in the series.
Andrew Kirkhouse
Nov 06, 2016 Andrew Kirkhouse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good start

A good start to a series, interesting all the way through. I will definitely be looking to read more of this author
Jackie Mcwilliams
Oct 08, 2016 Jackie Mcwilliams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book and knowing the area fairly well I could picture where a lot of the action was taking place. The character of Inspector Drake was well put together and I came to understand the need for his daily sudoku and his tidy desk. The plot was fast paced and the twists and turns kept me hooked. I will definitely be reading the next one to see what the future holds for Drake and his family.
Alan Marston
Sep 25, 2016 Alan Marston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is the first book in the Detective Inspector Ian Drake series, set in North Wales. Drake is somewhat OCD with a penchant for sudoku, a pastime which seems to calm him and help him to reorganise his thoughts. He has a very useful assistant in Sián Waits, married to an alpaca farmer.
We observe the deaths of two police patrolmen through the eyes of their killer, although we have no idea who he is. Neither do the North Wales Police, and Drake and Waits have a real problem with a killer who has
Oct 04, 2016 Mo added it
Jun 22, 2015 Ralph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I tend to read police procedurals these days more often than my favorite fare, mysteries (almost nobody writes good mysteries anymore), but most of them have American settings—familiarity really does breed contempt, I guess, or maybe not many of them are as well written as they should be. I sometimes take a chance when an author offers me a police procedural with a foreign setting, but the Anglophile in me always goes for a novel set in Great Britain. These, however, tend to cluster around ...more
Tracey S Choat
Interesting 3 1\2 stars

First novel I've read by this author. It is a well written police procedural based in Wales. It took patience to read it word for word. I found myself skipping ahead to the next chapter too many times. Not much action or thrills, just police plodding along to find the killer. (Probably true police investigation!) Maybe a bit too wordy for me. The plot itself was good, the killer a surprise to me! I do plan to read the next in this series.
Sep 15, 2016 Becky rated it it was ok
Detective Ian Drake is most unusual, operating daily as a crime solver extraordinaire, despite almost crippling OCD. Story setting is Wales -- lots of driving from place to place. Get out your google maps and locate Det Drake and his unkempt partner Caren (whose condition of dress and personal toilette drive Drake bonkers.)

Drake is only soothed by again and again ordering and re-ordering the post-it notes on his desk. His family like is deteriorating but his Alfa Romeo is spotless and his expens
Feb 26, 2014 Ionia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Brass in Pocket" is the first book in a new crime/mystery series by author Stephen Puleston.

In the beginning I was a little concerned about whether this would be a book I could get into. The writing seemed very formal and procedural and I was thinking someone may have seen one too many "cop programmes" before deciding to write a novel. Soon after he proved me wrong. As the pages went on, the story began to feel comfortable and you could see the author hit a stride with his pace, plot and chara
Jan 09, 2014 J.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Two traffic officers called to a remote location in northern Wales on what they assume to be a routine matter are brutally murdered. The killer leaves investigators two puzzling messages—lyrics to a song and the numeral four.

Detective Inspector Ian Drake, the lead investigator, recognizes the lyrics as from the Pretenders song “Brass in Pocket” but is initially as confused by the messages as are his associates.

Before they’ve begun to deal with this case, a politician is murdered on the summit of
Sep 26, 2016 ☺Trish rated it really liked it
Excellent police procedural/murder mystery set in Wales (unique & interesting location) with an added twist: D. I. Ian Drake suffers from O. C. D. and his compulsions and rituals are negatively impacting both his professional and personal lives. Would enjoy more in-depth involvement with D. S. Caren Waits, her husband Alun, and their relationship. Looking forward to reading the next Inspector Drake installment, Worse Than Dead.
Jeff Soyer
Dec 22, 2013 Jeff Soyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t given 5-stars to any book in several months. That’s about to change. The first of the Inspector Ian Drake series, Brass in Pocket, by Stephen Puleston is superb. If you like your police procedurals to also feature high-tension, urgency, and action, this is the best 99-cent gift you can give to yourself (or others) this holiday season.

While (unfortunately) the killing of police officers is common in the United States, it isn’t, in Wales. When two of them are brutally murdered on a remot
Pretty good, but predictable.
Patricia Ann
Dec 06, 2014 Patricia Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favourite genre is the MYSTERY! I have to forgive myself for reading all evening until I couldn't read anymore, then this morning picking it up and continuing until I had read the ending. Also, had to forgive myself for continuing to read the first three chapters of "WORSE THAN DEAD" that are included in BRASS IN POCKET. This book is the style I like best: There are clues along the way that lead to suspicsions, clues that have me thinking , processing further information , conjecture, and ...more
Oct 20, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
D I Drake is called out o the murder of two traffic officers in the middle of the night. It is a seemingly bizarre double murder; how were he two officers over powered and how did the murderer know where they would be? When the bodies are moved Drake and his team find the number 4 and the lyrics of a song an must work out what the significance of these is. It isn't long before another murder, accompanied by more lyrics and soon it becomes clear that there is a serial killer on the loose.

DI Drake
Feb 09, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the book. Inspector Ian Drake is a complex man with lots of personal issues. One of his biggest personal issues is his OCD and how he is constantly struggling to keep it under wraps. Everyone is aware of it but he is able to work around it. The story opens when two traffic officers are shot after being lured to a specific location along a remote road in Wales. The story continues with several other murders which appear to have no common theme but Drake knows there is a connection. He and ...more
Mandy Blake
Feb 01, 2016 Mandy Blake rated it it was ok
This book was difficult to follow and had unnecessary plot lines. The only good parts were when the detectives were actually trying to solve the case, as well as the chapters from the killer's perspective.

I thought there were too many random characters who didn't lend anything to the plot. I also didn't like the side story about Drake's relationship with his parents/sister. It was another plot line that added absolutely nothing. Drake's obsession with sudoku was also random and weird. I didn't
The Crime Scene Scene
Brass In Pocket is the first novel in the Inspector Drake series by author Stephen Puleston. Two police officers are found brutally murdered on the Crimea Pass in Wales. It looks like it might be a revenge attack by a recently paroled criminal but more bodies start turning up and the case becomes personal for Inspector Drake when his family start receiving messages from the killer in the shape of song lyrics that all seem to date from 1979.

If Scotland has tartan noir then Stephen Puleston must f
Debbie Richardson
May 23, 2016 Debbie Richardson rated it really liked it
I really wanted to give this a 3.5 but decided 4 was more appropriate than 3.
I enjoyed the plot. It's nice to see a crime novel set in Wales and the author created a chilling atmosphere of menace in the opening scenes of the book. However Inspector Drake annoyed me to death. Yes, we get it, he's obsessive and he likes Sudoku. It doesn't need mentioning every five minutes. I think more time could have been spent developing other sides of his character. Hopefully this will happen in future books.
Feb 14, 2015 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspector Drake is tapped to head an investigation into the murders of two patrol officers in their car on a remote mountain pass in North Wales. There is no apparent reason for the killings but a note with the number 4 is fund with the bodies. Later the police get a notes with song lyrics and the number 1979 but no idea what they may mean. Drake is a bit OCD and addicted to Sudoku puzzles that he uses to clear his thinking. Before they can get a handle on the killer more deaths happen and Drake ...more
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I write mysteries and thrillers.

I have published the first novel in a series featuring Inspector Drake based in North Wales and also the first in a series with Inspector John Marco based in Cardiff. The first Drake mystery is called BRASS IN POCKET and the second WORSE THAN DEAD. The third, AGAINST THE TIDE.

My second detective is Inspector Marco who comes from an Italian/Welsh background and he li
More about Stephen Puleston...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Drake (3 books)
  • Worse than Dead (Inspector Drake #2)
  • Against The Tide (Inspector Drake #3)

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“him. He listened to the first officer radioing confirmation of their location and as the light in the cabin dimmed, Drake saw the flickering” 0 likes
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