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Brass in Pocket

(Inspector Drake #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,375 ratings  ·  199 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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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  1,375 ratings  ·  199 reviews

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Linda Strong
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017

Two traffic cops are brutally murdered with a crossbow while on duty. There are messages left by the killer .. the number 4 spelled out in traffic cones.,, lyrics from famous rock songs.

Days later a politician is stabbed to death. Once again, numbers are left as clues and different song lyrics.

Drake and his team have no clues, no motive. They suspect more murders in the near future.

It turns real personal for Drake when his parents are threatened.. and then his wife and children.

The story premise
Dec 27, 2013 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 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
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This is book 1 in the Inspector Drake series although there is a prequel novella, The Devil's Kitchen that is available free on Amazon.

The story begins with the murder of 2 traffic policemen. Inspector Ian Drake is called to the scene and so begins a race to unravel the cryptic clues before more people die.

As the book progresses we learn a lot about Ian and his struggle with OCD. It brings a human perspective to the book as his issues with cleanliness cause him problems with other members of his
Nov 22, 2014 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 c ...more
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
Jan 26, 2015 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
Charles  van Buren
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Police procedural and mystery

By Charles van Buren on April 23, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition

Mostly well written police procedural and mystery. I am a retired intelligence analyst and investigator. I worked for both good and bad people but fortunately for no one quite as neurotic as Inspector Drake. That would have been almost impossible to survive - politics, crooks, incompetence and OCD would have driven many of the better people away. I will try a second book but if Drake continues to be so neuro
Elaine Tomasso
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book by mistake but decided to keep it and I'm glad I did. The story starts with the murder of 2 policeman on a remote mountain pass in North Wales and doesn't let up. Mr Puleston does a tremendous job of conveying the urgency the police feel trying to capture the killer. Couple that urgency with DI Drake's OCD and you get a very tense police procedural. The characterisation is good as well as you get to know the main characters at home as well as at work. I recommend this book as ...more
Jun 10, 2014 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. ...more
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Every so often I come across a series of books, where I read one and think ‘how the heck have I not read this series before?’ Well the Inspector Drake series is one such series. To my eternal shame, I had never read anything by Stephen Puleston before. I mean, I have got several of his books on my mahoosive ‘to be read’ mountain but I just don’t seem to have got around to reading them before. Mahoosive mistake. Needless to say reading the rest of the series has got to be one of my main prioritie ...more
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of murder-mysteries and psychological thrillers
Brass In Pocket - a review by Rosemary Kenny

Stephen Puleston's genius for Welsh-based Inspector Drake investigation stories knows no bounds!

DI Ian Drake is an OCD sufferer which often hampers his daily life, his job and more importantly still, his marriage. Along with resenting the greater amount of time her husband's partner, (the attractive Detective Sergeant Ceren), gets to spend with Drake than she does, his long hours and lack of communication about his work, or anything not related to it a
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books, 2019
It's rare for me to start a series at book one. These days I seem to accidentally find myself starting at book four or five and then have to go back and find out how the characters got to the point where I discovered them. This time I'm starting at the beginning and thrilled to know there are many more in the Ian Drake series for me to enjoy.

A police procedural is one of my favourite types of story. And when it is done well it is an unputdownable format. There are lots of clues in this story tha
Melissa Ann
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Have you ever been reading a book and found that the character you are learning about reminds you strikingly of someone in your own life? When I first started listening to Inspector Drake this was exactly how I felt. All those little idiosyncrasies that he has brought a strong reminder of my own other half.
I greatly enjoyed the mystery of this book and I did not see the answer coming, which is always good.
Elfyn has a great voice and I found his narration to be quite soothing and easy to listen
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
this book was okay. The murder of two police officers in Wales starts a chain of events - more murders that seem unconnected.
Inspector Drake has a hard time solving the murders. He is a different kind of guy, with some quirks that get old hearing about.
I listened to it wanting to know what happened and who the killer was. I did not really enjoy the main characters. I would have liked to have a few more of the detectives fleshed out in the story. was it worth a credit, I guess?
Roland Clarke
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A longer review follows. For now, I enjoyed this police procedural and had a challenge discovering the killer ahead of the police team. Inspector Drake has some habits that can grate, like having to constantly straighten his office and more. But he rings true having had an OCD neighbour once.

The setting of North Wales feels real, having lived there for a few years. I was interested in the ways that the police operated, knowing that the author was a retired lawyer so had to know his facts. I rea
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting storyline that keeps you gripped to the pages. Interesting characters too. You are constantly left thinking what the motive is and you are kept in suspense till the end. Great read
David Highton
Jun 02, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty good police procedural set in North Wales, with two policemen murdered in their patrol car in a remote mountainous area. The abrasive Inspector Drake has OCD, which I began to find irritating, but not enough to relegate this from 4 stars
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, audible, tbc
Numbers and song titles...
Having enjoyed Stephen Puleston's prequel, The Devil's Kitchen, I was looking forward to following Inspector Drake and his assistant, Ceren Waits, as they embark on a full length investigation. I was not disappointed at all, and Richard Elfyn again added a dimension, with the narration and his lovable Welsh accent. Some of these place names would have been massacred in my head, had I tried to read them.

The book starts with us in the murderer's shoes, as he stalks two po
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 cor
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
Chi Dubinski
Feb 18, 2015 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 po ...more
Oct 19, 2017 added it
I am proud of my library card collection and rarely purchase books any more. But I heard about this. Now I don't remember where but I finally ordered it because none of my libraries carry it. And loved it. The detective is a quirky troubled guy (most of them are, aren't they?). He is dealing with a clever evil serial killer who taunts him with lyrics from popular songs.

It's puzzling and entertaining. You should order one of his books too. Or get your library to carry it.

Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I definitely enjoyed this mystery. I figured out who the bad guy was before the end but not by much. It was still a good and suspenseful read. I did get tired of Inspector Drake's OCD, thought it took up too much of the story but then again that's the way OCD is. I'll probably read another in the series. ...more
I was impressed with the short prequel, Devil’s Kitchen, but this book takes the series to the next step. It’s very well written in plot, character development, and setting. I think I’m in love with this series. There’s a richness to it that made it hard to put this book down.

Inspector Ian Drake is a dedicated man. He loves his work and doesn’t mind putting in the long, hard hours when he’s on the hunt for a killer. In this case, someone has just murdered two traffic police officers. This has ev
LJ (On The Shelf Reviews)
The book opens with the death of two dodgy policemen on an isolated road. The killer leaves a number four at the crime scene then sends a message to the baffled police in the form of song lyrics. A second murder occurs with the same M.O. and it’s up to Inspector Drake and his team to stop the killer before they strike again.

This is book is set in the picturesque setting of north Wales like Devil’s Kitchen. Inspector Drake is a man on the edge. He’s ambitious and he’s been given one of the bigges
Lauren Jones
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finding clues to a mystery is always fun, except when it comes to murder, right?! It starts to get creepier as you get closer to the killer and trying to figure our how they think. The bodies are piling up and the killer begins to make mistakes. But, what is more important is if they know that you are onto them, they become more unpredictable which is dangerous. For Puleston’s first installment, Brass in Pocket, readers will find themselves plunged into a crime mystery that has some very peculia ...more
Tony Parsons
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
6/1, Area Control Room. DI Ian Drake (Wales PD) got an emergency call.
Crimea Pass. Superintendent Wyndham Price & Mike Foulds (crime scene mgr.), greeted DS Caren Waits & DI Drake at the crime scene.
2 Wales PD traffic officers: DC Paul Mathews & DC Danny Farrell had been gunned down.
Lee Kings (pathologist) had arrived.
DC David Howick (2, CID) & DC Gareth Winder (CID) were going to help with the murder case also.
DI Drake & DS Waits went to interview Matt Tudor (North Wales Archery Association
One thing I dislike about crime drama - written, or on TV, is how long it sometimes takes for the detectives to catch on to some aspect of the case that will help them solve the crime. Now, I know that sometimes clues are obvious, and motive is certainly not obvious, but there are times when the audience gets the criminal's mind faster than others. It only took two incidences for me to understand what the killer was trying to do... what one of the clues meant. Now, regardless of whether or not m ...more
Sheila Howes
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
*Thanks to Jill Burkinshaw for the free copy in exchange for an honest review*

The book opens with 2 traffic officers on patrol followed by a mysterious person. They receive a call to go to the Crimea mountain pass, where the killer strikes using crossbows. The only clue he leaves is setting traffic cones out in the number 4.

When he returns to base, Inspector Drake and his team receive some song lyrics from "Brass in Pocket". Then there's another murder, this time of a politician, with the number
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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

Other books in the series

Inspector Drake (8 books)
  • Worse than Dead (Inspector Drake #2)
  • Against The Tide (Inspector Drake #3)
  • A Time to Kill (Inspector Drake #5)
  • Dead on Your Feet (Inspector Drake #4)
  • Written In Blood (Inspector Drake #6)
  • Nowhere To Hide (Inspector Drake #7)
  • A Cold Dark Heart (Inspector Drake Book 8)

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