“Hip, violent and funny vignettes of the mean streets of southeast London tie together this rowdy set of short novels” from the Irish crime writer (Publishers Weekly).
At sixty-two, Chief Inspector Roberts is nearly too old to be a cop, but he makes up for his age with a ferocity that the younger detectives cannot match. After four decades on the force, he has a daughter who hates him, a wife who cheats, and a bank account that grows emptier every year. But on London’s darker streets, Roberts is a force to be reckoned with. With his partner, the gleefully brutal Detective Sergeant Brant, Roberts looks for every policeman’s dream: the White Arrest, a high-profile success that makes up for all their past failures. In A White Arrest, their target is a bat-wielding lunatic who knocks off drug dealers. In Taming the Alien, they hunt a mysterious hit man who earned his nickname by carrying out a hit while watching Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic. And in The McDead, Roberts and Brant set their sights on a cunning kingpin ruling London’s southeast side. Gripping and gritty, Ken Bruen’s White Trilogy is an unforgettable noir portrait of London’s seedy underworld.
Hip, violent and funny vignettes of the mean streets of southeast London tie together this rowdy set of short novels by Bruen (The Guards), a modern Irish master of the hard-boiled. Collecting A White Arrest (1998), Taming the Alien (1999) and The McDead (2000) for first U.S. publication, this omnibus showcases the investigations of the aging Chief Inspector Roberts and the brutish Detective Sergeant Brant, with the assistance of the unlucky-in-love Woman Police Constable Falls. They don't always solve their assigned crimes, but know perfectly well if they can nail the occasional major criminal "the white arrest" they'll be able to keep their jobs. Among numerous subplots, they pursue a serial killer stalking England's winning soccer team, a vigilante gang hanging drug dealers and a hit man known as "The Alien" because he whacked a victim engrossed in the video of that movie with a baseball bat just as the monster pops out of John Hurt's chest. But quieter moments, such as Brant's visit to his home county in Ireland, are just as interesting. Bruen's relentless media references (to pop songs, noir movies, other crime novels, even H.P. Lovecraft and Jack Kerouac) may drive some readers to distraction, and his loose, ironic endings no doubt are too postmodern for traditional tastes. This is fun reading, though, for readers seeking something fresh.