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London Boulevard

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,084 ratings  ·  132 reviews
When Mitchell is released from prison after serving three years for a vicious attack he doesn't even remember, Billy Norton is there to pick him up. But Norton works for Tommy Logan, a ruthless loan shark lowlife with plans Mitchell wants nothing to do with.

Attempting to stay out of Logan's way, he finds work at the Holland Park mansion of faded movie actress, Lillian Pal
Paperback, 237 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Do-Not Press (first published March 1st 2002)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,084 ratings  ·  132 reviews

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Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
"Oh God, Mitch, you crazy bastard. You're out...what? Ten minutes...and you're at it already. You can't be losing it."

"I didn't lose it, Billy."

"What, you smash the guy's arm, that's not losing it?"

"If I'd lost it, I'd have broken his neck."

You can probably guess...Mitch is NOT on his way to pick up a Humanitarian of the Year award.

Mitch has been warned that after three years in prison, he might find adapting to life on the outside a bit difficult, but he's been out only 24 hours, and already h
Ed [Redacted]
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
London Boulevard purports to be an updating of the Sunset Blvd story moved to London in the present (at the time of the writing). The similarities to Sunset Blvd are really surface at best. There is an aging actress and the protagonist is financially supported by said actress however the Sunset Blvd similarities appear to be pasted onto the framework of a very good noir crime novel. The protagonist, Mitchell, is recently released from prison for a crime he was too drunk to remember. His friend, ...more
Aug 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
Bruen writes real page turning stuff here, it's not an incredible piece of noir by any stretch of the imagination but what he has done is written a really very good piece of MODERN crime fiction. It's not like that's particularly difficult with the amount of garbage that gets published in the genre these days. It's fast paced, it's LOADED with pop culture references, and it's incredibly knowing from start to finish. Wait, does that make it post-modern?

Colin Farrell gets out of prison, somehow ge
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, crime, 2018
My first encounter with this writer which I can honestly say is quite brilliant. This story about the misadventures of a released convict has him assaulting a window washer within an hour of release. That said I had no sympathy at all for the victim. Anytime a human thinks that lama behaviour is acceptable he/she should not be surprised if they'd receive a decent kicking.

Anyhow while the main character Mitchell does plan to stay out of jail after stint of 3 year due to a case of GBH which he can
Manuel Antão
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013


I don't know what makes Ken Bruen's books so appealing to me, but they certainly do.

With this book he uses Sunset Boulevard by Billy Wilder, one of my favourite movies of all-time, as the perfect canvas for a wonderful book. Everything is almost right.

After meeting the infamous Lilly Palmer in the book, we understand that she's quite different from Nora Desmond, the Diva in Wilder's movie. After a few more pages, the book and the movie diverge almost completely. I'd say the movie serves as an i
Sam Reaves
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ken Bruen has the gift of making it sound easy: all you do is sit down and channel these South London criminal types, breezing through a few days of their chaotic lives and recording the wreckage, and Bob's your uncle. The fluency and the concision are, of course, carefully crafted, and Bruen's poetic vocation shows. This is an inspired twist on Sunset Boulevard, with a just-released ex-con hired as handyman by a faded actress in a cavernous Holland Park mansion complete with shady butler. Nothi ...more
Jevron McCrory
I bought this book on the strength of the movie and it's movie cover. I liked the film (mostly for the acting), but I thought the ending sucked beyond belief. I was curious about the novel.

Let's clear this up straight away.

The movie with Colin Farrell and Kiera Knightley has almost NOTHING to do with this book.

Aside from a few elements and some choice dialogue, they are two TOTALLY different animals. If I was Ken Bruen, I'd be seriously offended someone bought the rights to my book and then CHA
Jan 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Mr. Bruen obviously knows his tradition. At one point in his reworking of Sunset Boulevard (hence the title, saucy!) James Ellroy makes an appearence, yeh, Ellroy himself appears just off stage. References are made in almost every chapter to some noir classic. Such a homage creates its own set of problems, namely that the narrative is crowded out by the hall of fame tour. Whie I was frustrated as hell during the first half of the novel detailing the protagonist's release from prison and his effo ...more
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Lots of alcohol and brutality. I reached for this book because it has been on my shelf for a long time. I bought it at a book sale. Now I understand why it went on it in first place.

The book is about everyday's life of the main character, Mitchell. The first 190 pages could be easily shortened to 15-20, without any damage to the plot. The simplicity of the message contained in this book is staggering. I wondered if the author's writing style was a bit different, a little more colorful, would I l
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thank my lucky stars for Ken Bruen. I was looking at a horrendous reading slump and had already trashed two books without finishing them when I picked up Bruen's London Boulevard. This book is essentially Sunset Boulevard, through a glass darkly. I really enjoyed Mitchell the literate thug's many bookish references to favorite authors past, such as Charles Willeford-essentially a tip of the hat from one crime writer to other crime writers. This book was dark high octane noir and a great read. ...more
Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"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
Apr 29, 2015 added it
If you've been thinking about trying out Ken Bruen, LONDON BOULEVARD is not a bad entry point. You're not committing to the Jack Taylor or Brant/Roberts series, and you'll be avoiding the broad parody of his "Max" collaborations with Jason Starr (that's the absolute WRONG place to start with either writer). LONDON BOULEVARD is a sort-of adaptation of SUNSET BOULEVARD displaced to (guess) London, and it's a well-written, fast-moving, and stylish neo-noir. I guess the only strike against it as a s ...more
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-english, fiction
Reread it in November 2019, to find the pleasure of reading again... and it effing worked!
I don’t know why I’m so affected by this book. It’s the kind of page-turner I don’t experience too often. Yes, yess and yesss!

Review from April 2011
Holy sh*t. (I just finished reading it, so excuse me....)

I loved it.
The language is not sophisticated, I love the writing style.
I was really in need of a book where the main character is tough, no kidding around.
The whole book is manly and rough and the endin
Reem Al Kaabi
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
London Boulevard by Ken Bruen

It's a novel which talk about a man who released from prison, his name Harry Mitchell. He met his friend and they live together. After that they did a welcome party for Mitchell. In there way to party Mitchell met a women here name is Penny. She told him to help her friend Charlotte. In this point when Mitchell met Charlotte the problems are started. Many crimes happen and Mitchell's friend was killed. It was awesome book and I enjoy read it.

This book was amazing a
Apr 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Really interesting and tough main character which is the only reason to read this. This book seems to be a gritty British version of Sunset Boulevard right down to the retired 50ish actress to her butler who'll do anything for her. The characters here really well thought out which makes the mystery kind of a drag. It seems like you can get away with whatever style plotting in a book that would never ever fly in a movie or TV episode. Still, very interesting main character and worth a look on tha ...more
Dark, violent, and funny with the author's trademark style and tons of crime fiction/authors references. ...more
Shannon Sullivan
Aug 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
A poodle tap dancing on a keyboard could write a better and more detailed book.
Frank Kralovec
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 31, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really fast to read story. A lot of dialogue so perhaps there wasn't so many words in the novel as one could presume based on the amount of pages :-) But this was fluent, and catching too, I admit that. All and all easy reading.

This reminded me of Mickey Spillane and his hero Mike Hammer. A guy who is so tough that most rocks would be envious. And morally at least a dubious character.

Tough and violent would be the words to describe the whole story. There are clear and obvious references
Katie Brock
Going to watch the film and then compare the two!

This was a good book, short, but with lots going on so I was able to follow without it getting bored. It's very gory though, and probably not for the faint hearted reader due to the language and the violence but it's a very quick read!

I'll be writing a full review on my blog which I shall link below when it's up and posted.
Chris Rhatigan
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'd only previously read Bruen's series with Jason Starr for Hard Case Crime. This is a solid noir with a complex plot, a manic central character, and clever dialog. Bruen's quite the stylist as well. Though I didn't care for this thing with a single word on a line
Still, a fun read with a surprising ending.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wrote "what a fucking weird book" about halfway through reading this and my thoughts are no different upon finishing. What a fucking weird book. ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Manages to develop his characters and tell a good story imbued with atmosphere with a minimum of words. Would read this author again.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bruen never disappoints. Witty, topical, name dropping and brutal fill his crime stories. Really like this guy
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Near perfect London noir.
Charles P
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nik W
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great read. Gritty, just how I like it.
Feb 01, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fully-finished
It didn't worth the money.
The twist in it is actually good but feels out of the sudden. What was the motivation?
Mar 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
good stand alone
Daniel Vlasaty
Apr 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Why haven’t I read more Ken Bruen???
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Ken Bruen, born in Galway in 1951, is the author of The Guards (2001), the highly acclaimed first Jack Taylor novel. He spent twenty-five years as an English teacher in Africa, Japan, S.E. Asia and South America. His novel Her Last Call to Louis Mac Niece (1997) is in production for Pilgrim Pictures, his "White Trilogy" has been bought by Channel 4, and The Guards is to be filmed in Ireland by De ...more

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