Review by Sandra Ruttan


The opening line of THE HACKMAN BLUES is an exceptional summary for the whole book. When Brady is asked to help a man find his missing daughter it sets him on a twisted path. The man is connected, a criminal, and the reader begins to suspect his interest in his little girl isn’t healthy.

Brady has connections of his own, a business partner he knows from when they served time together. As the story unfolds they find the girl, but come up with a scheme to make a lot of money in the process. Saying more would be unfair: You’ll have to read it to find out what happens.

This was an amazing read. Forget the plotline of the story: Brady is a bipolar gay ex-con. This is the real story. With Brady we climb to the heights when things are good and we spiral to the lows when he’s off his meds. Bruen paints a horrifically real portrait of a person who is, in many respects, their own worst enemy.

This was a book that was extremely controversial when it was written. Published in 1997, even some authors called for this book to be banned. Of course, that made it that much more enticing, and it’s a worthy read, a milestone in our history in a way. Fans of Bruen and fans of hardboiled noir fiction will not want to miss this book. It keeps you turning the pages breathlessly to the end.


Sandra Ruttan's debut novel, Suspicious Circumstances, was released in January 2007. Her short fiction has appeared in Out of the Gutter, Demolition, Mouth Full of Bullets, Crimespree Magazine, The Cynic and Spinetingler. For more information visit her website.

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