Review by K. Robert Einarson

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 lowlife with plans Mitchell wants nothing to do with. Attempting to stay out of Logan's way, Mitchell finds work at the Holland Park mansion of faded movie actress, Lillian Palmer. But it isn't long before Mitchell's violent past catches up with him. When innocent people start getting killed and his eccentric sister's life is put in danger, Mitchell is forced to act.

London Boulevard pays homage to "Sunset Boulevard", the highly regarded 1950 film and shares some plot angles with the film, but takes the story in the dark underbelly of London.

Bruen has crafted a tale with some of his trademark nasty characters for whom casual violence is a nature part of their world. His main character is both very human and sympathetic yet very cold and calculating. Each character has a distinct personalities that help set the story develop naturally. I especially enjoyed the faded movie star who is both a pitiful and contemptible at the same time.

Bruen's telegraphic writing style moves the story quickly and the dense atmosphere of cigarettes, alcohol and seedy characters make the story an outstanding and entertaining read.

The final scene in the book was the perfect end to the book. Both violent and humorous at the same time, a style Bruen can craft expertly and make it seem effortless. This is an enjoyable standalone that any hardboiled reader will enjoy.


Kevin Einarson is the publisher of Spinetingler Magazine. His short fiction has appeared in Mouth Full of Bullets, Flashing in the Gutters and Spinetingler.

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