Gary's Reviews > London Boulevard

London Boulevard by Ken Bruen
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M_50x66
's review
Aug 25, 08

Read in April, 2007

"It's About Absolute Devastation"

"Mitchell" is a hard guy. He is just out of prison after three years of payback for a brutal beating he doesn't remember. But best mate Billy Norton is waiting at the gate with a sweet setup for Mitch as the muscle for a loan shark. Though Mitchell's feeling are mixed. While the perqs that come with the leg breaking are good, he'd just as soon skip another stay at the gray bar hotel. When a job as a live-in handy man for aging actress Lillian Palmer falls into his lap, Mitchell takes a shot - if a somewhat tentative shot for the career criminal - at the straight and narrow.

From this backdrop, the prolific Ken Bruen literally rips out another savage crime novel with more grit than Jones Beach and Bruen's trademark black humor. Lillian Palmer, deliciously demented and coming complete with a sexual appetite that belies her years, provides a bizarre twist to what otherwise may have been a pedestrian and often-told story of betrayal and retribution. But the real brilliance in the author's twisted logic comes in the form of "Jordan", Palmer's mysterious butler who proves to be so much more. Bruen's staccato dialogue and disregard for small annoyances like punctuation or other literary convention add to the quirky appeal of Mitchell and the eclectic cast of thugs and wankers that follow him through the pages of this razor-edged page turner, which should keep you guessing right up to the bloody last sentence.

Adding to Mitch's (and Bruen's) sandpaper charm is an uncongruous and unabashed love of crime fiction and the authors that pen them, with references to Andrew Vachss, Dennis LeHane, and other masters of crime who are liberally quoted and add credibility and depth to an already addictive storyline.

If you haven't read Bruen yet - an unforgivable injustice that he remains relatively unknown, at least on this side of the Atlantic - then "London Boulevard" is a great place to start what you can expect to be a long, entertaining, and brutal acquaintance
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