Item description for The White Trilogy by Ken Bruen...
In this book, a jagged, brilliant tour of London noir, Detective Chief Inspector Roberts and Detective Sergeant Brant are obverse sides of the same tarnished coin. They come up against some of the worst thugs, gangs, and lowlifes.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.1" Width: 5.5" Height: 1" Weight: 0.95 lbs.
Release Date Mar 25, 2003
Publisher Justin, Charles & Co.
ISBN 1932112022 ISBN13 9781932112023
Availability 0 units.
More About Ken Bruen
Ken Bruen has been an English teacher in Africa, Japan, Southeast Asia, and South America. He has been a finalist for the Edgar and Anthony Awards, and has won a Macavity Award, a Barry Award, and two Shamus Awards for the Jack Taylor series. He is also the author of the Inspector Brant series. Several of Bruen's novels have been adapted for the screen: The first six jack Taylor novels were adapted into a television series starring Iain Glen; Blitz was adapted into a movie starring Jason Statham; and London Boulevard was adapted into a film starring Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley. Bruen lives in Galway, Ireland.
This novel is billed as a trilogy, but it's really a three-part narrative. No matter. It's set in Southeast London where the mean streets are about as mean as they get. It's where everyone is at least a little bent and everything is suspicious, rife with double meanings. If you're looking for a little redemption or perhaps one character who is pure, this is not the crime novel for you.
Here the cops are bugging each other, ratting on each other, and taking bribes right and left, and not just cash or merchandise. Here's a neighborhood in which the worst low-life gang leader seriously entertains dreams of rising to the heights of the social ladder; here's a place in which the turbulence of routine daily life is so loud and riotous sleep is nearly impossible.
THE WHITE TRILOGY follows the antics and the actions of several police personnel through attempts to make major arrests of horrendous local criminals and gang leaders. There's even an abortive international chase. The title comes from police jargon in which the solution of a major crime is termed a white. It certainly doesn't refer to the process of detection. Or to any of the major characters if white is your color of goodness. These stories embrace a vast cast of characters, few of whom are principal but all of who make major contributions to the narrative and none of whom can be considered on the side of the angles. It's all a matter of degree.
Chief Inspector Roberts, nearing retirement, is hanging on to his administrative post by hook or, mostly, by crook. He is a venal, incompetent man who hates his cheating wife and would undoubtedly murder her if he could find the time to set it up. One of his major problems is Detective Sergeant Brant, an out and out Irish thug who forces bribes from every merchant he encounters. Brant appears to have a single saving grace. He has a complete collection of Ed McBain novels, a hero of his. And he does try to apprehend criminals who commit worse crimes than he perpetrates. The female constables, chief among them, Susie Falls and her chum Rosie, are no better in the constant struggle just to stay alive and avoid apprehension.
Bruen writes a fast, muscular book. You have to pay attention. Apart from the British argot and unfamiliar organizational structure, Bruen's style is not your typical American crime novel. But it's fun, in a nasty sort of way, enthralling, thought-provoking and surprising. All in all a cracking good novel.
What does the title mean? Oct 14, 2005
One wonders if characters really exist who show up in Bruen's world. If so, then perhaps we on this side of the pond should avoid both Ireland and London. That said, Bruen writes a steely, albeit highly brutal novel. This particular one is most enjoyable with all its gruesome and gory details from the underbelly of London. I shall continue reading this particular author, hoping for a growth in humanness that is sorely lacking presently.
High-caliber Noir with a Post-Modern Flair Jan 3, 2005
Irish author Ken Bruen is a leading practitioner of what has been called "postmodern noir." Three of his novels from the late 90's (A WHITE ARREST, TAMING THE ALIEN and THE McDEAD) have been collected in trade paperback format and entitled THE WHITE TRILOGY. Raw and violent, darkly humorous and, at times, poignant and moving, THE WHITE TRILOGY may be compared favorably to James Ellroy's "LA Quartet." While Bruen's books perhaps lack the scope of those latter novels, they more than match them in gut-wrenching intensity and inventiveness. To read this book is to tour a decadent and decaying London that tourists and visitors can only pray they never encounter.
The three novels that comprise THE WHITE TRILOGY trace the exploits of Detective Inspector Roberts and Detective Sergeant Brant as they track a gang of urban vigilantes who prey upon East End drug dealers. Simultaneously, they seek to identify the psycho who is murdering the members of the English National Cricket Squad and attempt to avenge the brutal murder of Robert's estranged brother at the hands of Irish gangster Tommy Logan. In the process the lines between right and wrong, good and bad, and between the coppers and the criminals gets more than a little blurred.
Roberts plays cool and calculating opposite the vicious and troglodyte Brant. Together the two represent a kind of twisted law enforcement yin and yang. But upholding law and order is less a priority for them than is maintaining an edge, getting ahead, punishing the "punters" and just plain surviving another day on the streets and at "the nick." Are these two buggers hardboiled? You'd need an ice pick to even put a dent in their collective persona. It's a good thing that Roberts and Brant are cops. If they weren't they'd make public enemy number one look like a bloody boy scout by comparison.
Bruen tells his story with clipped, staccato prose that jumps rapidly from scene to scene, often with only minimal transition. The net effect is a bit like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope with a broken lens. And this is a world in which loyalty has very little meaning, where retribution is the coin of the realm and where redemption - although theoretically still possible - is in very short supply.
THE WHITE TRILOGY can be read easily in one or two sittings. Indeed, it seems designed to be read in just that way - the literary equivalent, perhaps, of the proverbial weekend "bender." You won't have a hangover when you're finished but you will surely be gasping for air. Oh, you'll probably also be aching for a bit of the "hair of the dog" ... at least in the form of Bruen's next remarkable novel!
by far the best "noir" novels in a long time Mar 18, 2004
These 3 novellas are just classic. The pacing, writing style, and point of view are a wonder to behold. All Bruen's characters have strengths, warts, and vulnerabilities; we see the mix of good and bad as a continuum with varying shades of grey, not black and white(of course, there are "white" arrests, and a liberal dose of noir.)
The large menu of characters and the omniscient point of view prevents Bruen from developing the personality quirks as thoroughly as (say) an Ian Rankin, but this is not to say they are 2 dimensional. Strangely, even Bruen's characterizations of the foibles of the criminals, and how they got these foibles, makes for vaguely sympathetic reading. How do you draw the line between a criminal who cannot find the handle to overcome weaknesses of personality or DNA, and the coppoers who have many of the same flaws, but manage, by accident, to channel these weaknesses? not always clear. A great read. i truly regretted finishing it. If anything, I think this series is even stronger that the Guards.