Saturday, February 26, 2011

London Boulevard by Ken Bruen

I finished London Boulevard several days ago, and, as I'm writing this, I'm still not sure what to say. I enjoyed the book for the most part, and did find Mr. Bruen humorous. I really do like that dark Irish humor. The main thing I noticed however was how succinct he was. For instance, the description of a funeral:
The graveyard is at the back of the bus station. Across the road is the bingo hall. I thought Joe would be pleased to hear the call of


The undertaker was waiting. The grave ready, two men standing beside it. No vicar. A man arrived a few minutes later.

"Dr. Patel," I said, "good of you to come, " and introduced him to Bri. She held his hand longer than expedient. The undertaker asked,

Any last words?"

I shook my head. he signaled to the men, and they lowered the coffin.

No excess words, or elucidation. Just straight forward laconic prose. It was refreshing in a way after recently finishing an antithetical story, however, at the same time, I missed a "certain something" that comes from at least some description. Regardless, I suppose what it truly comes down to is will I read another one of the author's books. I think I most likely will, simply because the lack of complex details in the middle of complex life is refreshing.

As for what the story is about:

When Mitchell is released from prision, life quickly gets complicated. His friends want him in their crew for "jobs" his parole officer wouldn't approve of, his sister's emotional problems begin getting the better of her, a mob boss is out for him and wants to hurt everyone he loves and, a coincidental meet with a woman has him as close to happy as he's ever been. To make things worse, his boss, a washed out female actress is obsessed with him. When the people in Mitchell's life start turning up dead, weather he wants them to or not, he has to figure out who is behind it, and why.

And I suppose, that's about as succinct as I'm capable of.


seana said...

I do like descriptive fiction, but I also like this pared down style.

I've been meaning to read Ken Bruen for a long time, though apart from his story in Requiems for the Departed, I haven't gotten there yet. I have a couple of recent reasons to bump him to the top and this is another. Thanks.

Glenna said...

I'd forgotten about his story in Requiems. I've also listened to Calibre on audio and like it. He is very different.

janebbooks said...

Glenna, the film of LONDON BOULEVARD starring Colin Ferrell and Keira Knightly is a parody of Billy Wilder's 1950 film "Sunset Boulevard"

I opened in London this summer and
just recently in NYC. I loved the book...although it had a typically Bruen noir shoot-em-up ending. Bruen did not write the screenplay..he must have gotten loads of $$$ for the rights.