Best-selling author of the Bruno Johnson Crime Series
Booklist sums up Putnam's Bruno Johnson series: "Bruno Johnson believes so passionately in justice that he'll lie, cheat, and steal to achieve it—and he'll pulverize anybody who gets in his way."
The Early Years: Book One
Bruno Johnson, a newly minted L.A. County Sheriff Violent Crimes detective, gets the worst assignment possible—infiltrate a sheriff's narcotics team that may be involved in murder for hire. Gain their trust and be brought into the scheme. If he succeeds, he will have to arrest and testify against his fellow deputies—if he lives that long.
To make matters worse, before Bruno leaves home on the first day of this assignment, he answers the door to find an ex-girlfriend. Without explanation, she hands him a baby girl only weeks old. The child is his. Stunned and terrified, he now faces immediate fatherhood as well as the traitor-like charge to take down his colleagues.
Juggling his complex home life, Bruno tackles his assignment to discover that no one is who they seem to be and that his boss, Lieutenant Wicks, might be involved. His mission is further complicated when an attractive female deputy, recently transferred from Public Affairs, is also put on the case. She has no street experience, and Bruno carries the extra burden of watching her back—a tough assignment made tougher by personal attraction.
As Bruno gets deeper and deeper into the corruption, he doesn't know whom to trust, and in the end, confides in the wrong person.
Michael Connelly says Putnam's crime fiction is: ". . . a gritty street poem recited by a voice unalterably committed to redemption and doing the right thing in a wrong world."
While all of the novels in the Bruno Johnson Crime Series stand on their own and can be read in any order, the publication sequence is:
The Ruthless (coming February 2021)
The Sinister (coming February 2022)
Set in Los Angeles in 1988, Putnam's uneven fifth Bruno Johnson novel (after 2017's The Vanquished) opens dramatically. Deputy Bruno's morning tryst with the captain's secretary at his East Compton apartment is interrupted by a visit from his former lover, Sonja Kowalski. Sonja thrusts an infant into Bruno's arms, saying the baby is his and she can't take care of their daughter. It's an inauspicious way to start his first day as the least experienced member of the new four-person L.A. County Sheriff Violent Crimes unit. After dropping off the baby with his understanding father, Bruno joins his team and its leader, Lt. Robby Wicks, whom he's not sure he can trust. Bruno is soon given an undercover assignment to infiltrate a sheriff's narcotics unit that may be operating a murder-for-hire scheme. Putnam, a law enforcement veteran, realistically explores a corrupt police unit, but too much violence and clich d dialogue overwhelm the story. Bruno comes across as too na ve to be a cop, even a new one, and the other characters are merely caricatures.