Blitz is a novel that grabs your attention from the outset and refuses to relinquish control until the final page. The seedy and violent world of South London that Brant calls home is brought to life in a frantic and unrelenting plot. Whether it can be classed as noir or not is immaterial. It is the quality of Bruen’s writing that sets him apart. It possesses a definite lyrical quality. Terse and sharp prose keeps the reader engrossed from the very first line and this momentum is maintained throughout. Blitz is written in a clipped style and the characters are immensely believable. An intelligent and vicious villain makes for a well above average game of cat and mouse between killer and cop. The bizarre nature of the relationship between a member of the British National Party and a black WPC adds an extra dimension to what is already a multi-layered text.
The continuation of The White Trilogy sees the police squad suffering from an almost collective burnout. Relationships are strained within the department and Brant has been sent to a psychiatrist due to his erratic and unconventional behaviour. When a sociopath targets police officers the pressure mounts even further. The killer is determined to slaughter as many officers as is possible and his contact with a tabloid journalist ensures that the media are swarming over what is fast becoming a notorious case.
Sexism, racism, and misogyny all feature heavily as individual prejudices come to the fore. There is no shirking from any controversial subject and much of the black humour is derived from this attitude. To those who feel rather precious about their politically correctness, this book may appear a tad controversial. But as usual, that is the safest road to missing the point entirely. The often vile statements that characters routinely produce merely reflect the opinion that a lot of people hold dear. Bruen is neither condoning nor promoting these rather unpleasant views, merely recording them, and the intensity of the experience is a further testimony to the Galway man’s outstanding talent.
Blitz is a novel you could happily devour in a lunch break. But be warned, you might not get anything else done that day.