RARA-AVIS: Ken Bruen

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 04 Sep 2001

I was interested in Mark Sullivan's high praise for Ken Bruen because my opinion falls on the other side of the scale. I've only read A WHITE ARREST but it was the most disappointing novel I read last year. I managed to finish it but just barely. It was all so very self-aware as if Bruen were an academic (or slumming "legitimate" author) who analyzed the elements of a HB novel and then remixed with each element pushed over the top. Nasty POV characters are in? Then mine will be the nastiest yet. That's okay as long as the characters are believable and that doesn't happen here. The author is winking throughout, including quotes from noir fiction and film as chapter headings, and having one of his characters read Ed McBain. Wink, wink. It was painting by the numbers without a trace of the belief and soul of a Pelecanos novel.

Richard Moore

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