Saturday, February 6, 2010

#5: London Boulevard by Ken Bruen

Low-level thug fresh from jail lands a handyman job (of sorts) with a fading stage actress and her mysterious butler in Ken Bruen's London Boulevard.

Ken Bruen is a hard-boiled Irish crime writer whose novels about quasi-detective Jack Taylor I have enjoyed for a while; but they are so relentlessly cold-blooded I usually like to leave a little space between reading them.

In perhaps Bruen's only nod to whimsy (that I'm aware of), this stand-alone novel is based on one of my favorite films, Sunset Boulevard, recast for the hard-bitten underworld.

Strange as it sounds, it works, and allows Bruen to riff on other pop culture references from books, movies, and music, giving this noir a looser feel.

A good entry point to Ken Bruen and an enjoyable read overall. Recommended.

I checked this out from the Morrison-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana and read most of it in a single snowbound day.

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