From Publishers Weekly
In this stripped-down dark thrill ride from Edgar-finalist Bruen (The Guards
), a psychotic Irish cop, Matthew Patrick O'Shea (everybody called me Shea), blackmails his way into a green card and a police exchange program that takes him from Galway to New York City for a one-year stint with the NYPD. Partnered with the brutal Kurt Kebar Browski (he looked like a pit bull in uniform), the clever sociopath, who has a hidden predilection for serial rape and strangulation, brazenly advances his ambitions despite intense attention from Internal Affairs and a mobster named Morronni. An acknowledged master of contemporary noir, Bruen touches all his usual themes in his trademark clipped postmodern style, a deft shorthand that enables him to romp at will through genre clichés to quickly reach deeper and more dangerous depths. No one is safe as this shocker spins wildly toward a violent finish. (Oct.)
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While the critics found this gritty noir tale compulsively readable, they didn't exactly know what to make of it. O'Shea is a charming narrator despite his split personality and inclination toward evil (his murder weapon: a green rosary), and reviewers found both O'Shea and his NYPD partner psychologically compelling. They also praised the short, choppy prose, which seemed appropriate to the story, and the dark, gruesome twists and turns. But the novel, devoid of pity or emotion and full of violence, may not please all readers. The reviewer from the Washington Post
sums it up: "Once Were Cops
is designed to appeal to readers with less refined sensibilities."
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