Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “He Kills Coppers” as Want to Read:
He Kills Coppers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

He Kills Coppers (The Long Firm Trilogy #2)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  630 Ratings  ·  45 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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
Lance Greenfield
Jul 08, 2010 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 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have the books as a trilogy and read the first one (the long firm) 5 years ago. Due to my lack of enjoyment of that book it took me that long to start this one. I agree the writer is very talented and his prose are excellent but for me the stories are lacking. He is compared to Hemingway and I would agree, I haven’t read one of his with a decent story yet either. I felt the book was 300 pages of character building, waiting for the big finish but it never came. It was better than the first one ...more
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
It's been a long time since I read The Long Firm so thought I'd pick up some more Jake Arnott. I enjoy his prose and his story telling. Interesting structure with each chapter broken into three segments, two in the first person (different characters) and one in the third person from another character. A good read about a period of modern history which I enjoy (1960s and 70s mainly but touches on 80s too). Jake Arnott is on the list for good LGBT writers, so the expected gay themes figure too as ...more
Variaciones Enrojo
Reseña de Micaela Desprès para Ivreality:

¡Ganó Argentina!, pero no vine a hablar de eso. Sólo esperé a que terminara para tener alguna posibilidad de que alguien le diera una mirada a este post. :P Y para compensar el espíritu patriota que se agolpa en las calles, decidí hacer un repaso de una trilogía que, particularmente, encuentro adictiva. Su autor es el inglés Jake Arnott, con una historia de vida de lo más interesante, que antes de hacerse escritor
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
Mar 29, 2016 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
Mar 26, 2012 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
Aug 21, 2012 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
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
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
Aug 21, 2008 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
Mar 17, 2013 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
Oct 13, 2011 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
Oct 20, 2008 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
Apr 01, 2013 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
Jan 28, 2009 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 05, 2012 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
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
Dec 22, 2012 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
May 21, 2009 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.
Apr 08, 2013 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.
Sep 23, 2010 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.
Kay Wells
Aug 18, 2012 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.
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 06, 2011 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.
Jan 04, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
just a story
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read the trilogy around the time I met Hannah, may have been her suggestion
Aug 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Have heard many positive reviews of this but I was extremely disappointed with it.
Leonard Pierce
Dec 15, 2007 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.
Mike Ward
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blogged
a bit dull - full review here
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Please add page numbers 2 14 Feb 28, 2013 10:02AM  
  • The Take (DI Joe Faraday, #2)
  • Bitter Water (Douglas Brodie, #2)
  • Good Morning, Midnight (Dalziel & Pascoe, #21)
  • It's a Battlefield
  • Blitz (Inspector Brant, #4)
  • GB84
  • I Was Dora Suarez
  • The Bullet Trick
  • Friendly Fire
  • The Escape Artist
  • Joy
  • The Dark Frontier
  • Prime Cut
  • Hell to Pay
  • Kalteis
  • Weeping Women Hotel
  • The Old School
  • Lying Dead (DI Marjory Fleming #3)
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. When he was included in a list of the fifty most influential gay men in Britain in 2001, it was declared that he was widely regarded as one of Britain's most promising novelists.
More about Jake Arnott

Other books in the series

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

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Take Me with You
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Her Sister's Shoes (Sweeney Sisters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Rock Harbor Collection: Without a Trace, Beyond a Doubt, Into the Deep, Cry in the Night, and Silent Night (Rock Harbor #1-5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Thousand Tomorrows (Cody Gunner, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Shoeless Joe
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Death in Venice
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Blonde
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ever After (Lost Love, #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Rescue
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Lords of Discipline
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Sheltering Sky
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Gena/Finn
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Charles Martin Collection: When Crickets Cry, Chasing Fireflies, and Wrapped in Rain
    $14.99 $3.99
  • Remember Tuesday Morning (9/11, #3)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Scavenger's Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Under the Udala Trees
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Streets Have No King
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Passion
    $11.00 $1.99
  • The Language of Hoofbeats
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Not Perfect: A Novel
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Seekers (Kent Family Chronicles, #3)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Don Quixote
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Essex Serpent
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Storycatcher
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Domestic Violets
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Devil Wears Prada
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Half a Heart
    $4.99 $2.49
  • The Keeper of Secrets: A Novel
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Golden Notebook
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Life of Christ
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Good Mother
    $5.74 $1.99
  • The Palest Ink (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Prequel)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Go: A Coming of Age Novel
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Child in Time
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Lowcountry Stranger (Sweeney Sisters Series Book 2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Man in 3B
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Save Me
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Time Bomb
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Heat and Light: A Novel
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Reunion
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Stay Up With Me
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
    $9.99 $3.99
  • You Know Me Well
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Skeletons at the Feast
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Even Now (Lost Love, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Sackett's Land: The Sacketts (Sacketts, #1)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • This Bright Beauty
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Intervention (An Intervention Novel)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Star Sand
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Secrets of Nanreath Hall
    $11.74 $1.99
  • The Sugar Queen
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Birth House
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Open City
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Out of Sorts
    $5.99 $0.99
  • The Hearts of Men: A Novel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Revolutionary Road
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Blessings
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Bachelor Girl
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Wednesday Sisters
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Allie and Bea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • After the War Is Over: A Novel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • What Belongs to You
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The History of Bees: A Novel
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Love Goddess' Cooking School
    $10.99 $2.99
  • All the Summer Girls
    $8.74 $1.99
  • The Girl From the Train
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bitter Winds (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Grass Is Singing
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Misremembered Man (Tailorstown #1)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Odyssey
    $9.99 $1.99
  • And After the Fire
    $11.49 $1.99
  • The House of Impossible Beauties
    $12.99 $2.99
  • Varina
    $14.99 $3.99
  • The Living Reed: A Novel of Korea
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Flood Tide
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
    $10.24 $2.99
  • Unsaid
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Wake Up
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Post Office
    $11.24 $1.99
  • For Every Season: Book Three in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series
    $11.99 $2.99
  • One Night in Winter: A Novel (P.S.)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Those Who Save Us
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Tangled Vines (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Book 2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lake House
    $11.99 $2.99
  • No One Can Pronounce My Name
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Hate List
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Husbands and Other Sharp Objects
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Hidden
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Mystery Walk
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Galway Bay
    $11.99 $3.99
  • What Remains True
    $4.99 $1.99
  • I Funny: A Middle School Story
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Tin Horse
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The King Must Die: A Novel
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Red Skies (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Book 4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Ultimate Betrayal (A Reverend Curtis Black Novel Book 12)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Distant Echoes, Black Sands, Dangerous Depths, Midnight Sea, and Holy Night (Aloha Reef #1-4)
    $7.99 $3.99
  • Between Sundays
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Worthy
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Queen of This Realm (Queens of England, #2)
    $11.99 $11.99