Blitz by Ken Bruen – review

blitz ken bruenI originally reviewed Blitz by Ken Bruen on December 20th 2006.

Unlike the Jack Taylor series which has to read in order, the Brant series, while having linear progression, is a little more episodic in nature. Episodes of pure unrelenting chaos to be sure but episodes none the less.

Whereas the The White Trilogy had the large cast of characters juggling multiple cases, Blitz focuses on one main case, or in Baltimore speak a “red ball” if you will.

A serial killer is on the loose in London. He has a grudge with the police and is systematically killing them. The Killer, named The Blitz, is going to kill seven cops saving DS Brant for last.

Continuing to be the polar opposite of the Jack Taylor series Blitz maintains multiple viewpoints of a tapestry of characters. We get to see how those in Brant’s squad continue to grow and develop and interact with each other. The interactions are complex as they show the multiplicity of everyday existence. How you interact with one person or set of people is completely different how you are around others. We get to see the political machinations by those in charge and how they continue to hinder the progress that the cops on the street should be making. What is perhaps most scary of all is that such hindrances actually do take place.

Even though the series is ostensibly about Brant, Falls, the black female cop, continues to be one of the more interesting of the characters in the squad. Her characters arc is fascinating. Moving past the myriad of problems that she faced in The White Trilogy one was hopeful that she would find a measure of respite. But this time out she has a new set problems to confront as well as echoes of old ones. Bruen’s stories are about real people in hard situations that make tough decisions for various reasons not about a crime being solved or even a high body count. There are no moral absolutes only varying shades of gray.

Not since Dennis Lehane have we seen a writer be as hard on his recurring characters as Bruen is on his. But the ever winding curves in the roads of these characters lives continue to make for challenging and exciting books.

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Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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