Monday, December 15, 2008

Once were Cops -- Ken Bruen

Not so long ago, I made a few comments about the novels of Ross H. Spencer, who wrote his books using only one-sentence paragraphs for comic effect.

Ken Bruen writes in the same style in Once were Cops, but for a far different effect.

I'd say,

"Serious, dramatic, like that."

It works.

An Irish cop, Michael O'Shea, who likes to strangle women with green rosary beads comes to the U. S. to work with New York's finest.

His partner's on the take.

Also has a sister in a mental hospital.

Bad things happen.

People die.

O'Shea becomes a hero.

It doesn't last.

I said the book was done in one-sentence paragraphs, but that's not entirely true, some of them have more than one sentence, and a few that don't have several clauses strung together, it's the way Bruen does it in this one, you see.

It's bleak, dark, depressing, as if you were expecting big laughs from a Bruen novel, as I know you weren't.

I liked it.

It's 294 pages long.

You can read it in an hour.

Robert B. Parker is probably eating his heart out.

Check it out.


Scott Parker said...

I've read funny Bruen (Bust) and I've read dark Bruen (first three books of the Jack Taylor series). For my money, the darker Bruen writes, the better the book. And the emotional wallop at the end of Taylor Book #4 (The Dramatist) is still shocking to me...and I read the book years ago. It's that haunting. I'm going to have to find Once Were Cops.

Anonymous said...

As I got to tell Ken in Baltimore, I loved it. The Brant books are still my favorite for twisted humor but he's always worth reading.


Bob Randisi said...

Editors have recently been turning things down as "too depressing." Maybe they've never read Bruen. They should/.


Anonymous said...

I like Ken Bruen's writing very much, particularly the Brant books. What I don't like is spending in the neighborhood of $14 for something that -- when you get past the one-sentence chapters, the large fonts, the blank pages, etc. - is the length of a short story or a novella at best.

Scott Parker said...

As much as I like owning the books I read, there is a solution: library. I have Once Were Cops on hold for me right now and will pick it up today. It's like Christmas all through the year when you put a bunch of things on hold. I have yet to purchase any of the Foyle's War DVDs. Libraries are great.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

WIll this usher in a Chance Perdue revival?