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London Boulevard

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  896 Ratings  ·  115 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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Apr 27, 2013 Melki 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
Aug 04, 2013 Tfitoby 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
Ed [Redacted]
Nov 20, 2011 Ed [Redacted] 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
Ken Bruen mixt Elemente aus dem Hollywood-Schwarzweiß-Klassiker »Sunset Boulevard« mit dem Londoner »East-End-Boys-und-West-End-Girls«-Motiv und kreiert damit einen modernen, konsequenten Kriminalroman der harten Schule, der gerade zum Ende hin komplett überzeugen kann.
Manuel Antão
Aug 10, 2013 Manuel Antão 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 in
Sam Reaves
Apr 17, 2013 Sam Reaves 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 Jonfaith 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
Aug 25, 2008 Gary 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 h
Nov 28, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bruen, Ken. LONDON BOULEVARD. (2009). ****. Mr. Bruen once again has worked his magic and produced another stand-alone icon of noir. This one is set in London and tells the story of Mitchell, a stand-up guy who has just gotten out of prison. He has just served three years for a vicious attack on a fellow drinker in a bar that he can’t even remember doing. He is met by his friend Billy Norton, who takes him to an apartment that is up-scale to any that Mitchell has ever had. Norton tells him that ...more
Apr 29, 2015 Mark 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
Reem Al Kaabi
Apr 02, 2014 Reem Al Kaabi 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 an
Apr 01, 2011 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-english, fiction
Holy sh*t. (I just finished reading it, so excuse me....)

I loved it.
The language is not sophisticated, I think this is what you call a "short" 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 ending surprised me very much. I thought I had it figured out but on the last couple of pages everything turned around. (I can still remember the moments I've finished this book, I remember where I was and how it mad
Apr 28, 2009 Ed 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.
Chris Rhatigan
Jul 23, 2017 Chris Rhatigan 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.
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.
Marie Grassick
Mar 03, 2017 Marie Grassick rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
London Boulevard, ça se passe à... Londres.
Mitch sort de prison. 3 années passées derrière les barreaux. Enfermé pour une bagarre dont il n'a aucun souvenir, il compte bien revenir à Londres avec un avenir un peu plus "stable devant lui".
On ne sait pas trop ce qu'il faisait avant, mis à part qu'il trempait dans des affaires plutôt louches... sex, drugs & rock'n roll... ce qui l'a conduit tout droit en tôle.
Son vieil "ami" vient le chercher à sa sortie. Il lui loue gracieusement un logement -
Dec 02, 2016 Leftbanker rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
(I read this in Spanish. I plan to only read in Spanish and French for a few months. These crime novels are easy to read but I pick up a lot of cool, colloquial vocabulary.)

I have to admit that I saw the film first before reading the book in translation. Both are flawed and I think that the film improved considerably on the novel. It’s a story we’ve seen before in which a young upstart gangster is courted by the older, more powerful boss. Very similar to J. J. Connolly’s Layer Cake. And we get i
Jan 01, 2012 I_love_books rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
London Boulevard ist keine "Weichei-Gangsterstory", sondern es geht gleich von Anfang an hart zur Sache. Mitchell war wegen Körperverletzung sage und schreibe drei Jahre im Knast und kaum hat er die Luft der Freiheit geschnuppert, bricht er einem Punk den Arm. Das geht ja gut los, dachte ich mir und tatsächlich geht es im Grunde genommen wie in einer Abwärtsspirale weiter nach unten - Mitchell strudelt von einer Straftat zur nächsten. Klar braucht man einen Job, wenn man aus dem Knast kommt und ...more
Mar 18, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, ireland, ebook
To be honest, I'd read Ken Bruen's to do list, shopping list, just about anything he writes. (I live with this odd fantasy that his to do list would be terse, pointed, poignant, unapologetic, tense and yet hilarious... but I don't get out much and my mind tends to wander into odd places).

As is also normal with any Ken Bruen book LONDON BOULEVARD is not for the squeamish. Unapologetic, brutal, violent and very in your face, it is as always, equally touching and somehow hamfistedly gentle. Mitch,
Ian Mapp
Dec 17, 2012 Ian Mapp rated it really liked it
A relief, after the last beast. The chance to knock off an excellent book in two days, which has introduced me to a new author who I want to read more of and was thrilling and entertaining all the way through.

this is written in short, sharp prose that is emminently readable and the classic loner, criminal up against the world. Lets give an example of this sort of text.

"I could feel the whiskey kicking in. It does all sort of weird shit to me but mainly it makes me unpredictable. Even I can't for
Mar 06, 2013 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I watched the film version of London Boulevard the other week and had a few unanswered questions. Often the original book fills in these gaps. In the case of The Road, I read the book first, and layers of its meaning were revealed to me by the film version - which was a very close rendition.
The book London Boulevard is significantly different to the screen version. Same characters, same set piece scenes, but different motivations and emphasis.
I enjoyed the story greatly nevertheless, and it cert
Paul Pessolano
Feb 08, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it liked it
I came across Ken Brujen last year when I read his "Once Were Cops" and found not only a new author but a very unusual author who writes in a very unusual way and his mysteries are unique in their content.

"London Boulevard" starts with Mitchell being released from prison after three years for aggravated assault. He is vfery fortunate that a friend of his informs him of a good job. The job is taking care of a once famous actress. Mitchell's job is to take care of the properties, as well as the ag
Feb 15, 2012 Tanja rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012, review
>>Diese Rezension und viele mehr findet ihr auch hier:

Er ist kaum einmal zehn Minuten auf freiem Fuß und schon bricht Mitchell einem Wildfremden den Arm. Nach drei Jahren im Knast, die er wegen schwerer Körperverletzung absitzen musste, hat ihn nun sein Leben wieder. Und ehe er sich versieht, hat er sogar einen neuen Job: Mädchen für alles in den Diensten einer alternden Theaterschauspielerin, die nach mehr als dreißig Jahren noch immer an ein Comeback glaub
Feb 05, 2010 Lizzy added it
Friends of the Duke University Libraries book review written by Mark Kearney posted by Lizzy Mottern.

Ken Bruen is a Trinity College Dublin lad with a PhD in metaphysics. Should it surprise one that his protagonists walk the balance beam of Cosmic Justice bordered on one side by the Slough of Sin and on the other by the Pit of Madness, maintaining equilibrium with alcohol and wearing their hearts of darkness on their sleeve? Yet the prose is lyrical and touching, with characters and settings as v
Jan 02, 2013 Richard rated it really liked it
In a word? Awesome.

I really enjoyed the first-person account the book was written in. This story of redemption, betrayal and love is a very easy read and thoroughly enjoyable. The dark underbelly of London is brought to life in such vivid detail by Ken Bruen. The main character, Mitchell, is not by any means a "good guy". A career criminal recently released after serving three years in prison finds himself unwitting thrust back into the lifestyle that got him arrested in the first place. Through
Dec 08, 2009 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mitchell has just spent three years in the slammer for a crime he claims he was not guilty for. Now that Mitchell has been released for good behavior, he plans to make the most of his second chance by turning his life around. Unfortunately, trying to better yourself is hard to do when your only ride are people from your past. Good buddy, Billy Norton is happy to see Mitchell. There is one problem...Billy works for a notorious loan shark by the name of Tommy Logan. Tommy wants Mitchell to work fo ...more
Dec 13, 2010 Liz rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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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