I first met Ken Bruen
at the Chicago Bouchercon where I was introduced by Jon Jordan
(thank you Jon!). It was a quick introduction and the bar was quite loud. I'm no afficionado of bars so I left soon after. Then I enjoyed "The Guards" and I happened to be reading it while writing my own novel (then called A Bronx Jam, but now called The Concrete Maze). Reading the novel was quite an experience (enjoyable) and when I was done with my own novel and had sold it which took almost literally no time at all, I figured I'd ask Mr. Bruen for a blurb. It couldn't hurt to ask because the absolute worst that could happen would be he'd say no and change his email address. He said yes. I sent him the book with the understanding that he'd be going on a tour of continental Europe so he might not get around to blurbing it for a while. Fine by me. This, however, is what he sent me a few weeks ago and before he'd actually started the trip:
I HAD PLANNED ON STEVE TORRES, THE CONCRETE MAZE, BRINGING ME THROUGH THE FIRST LEG OF MY EUROPEAN TOUR, AND CERTAINLY THE FRENCH LEG OF THE TRIP - I HAD IT FINSIHED BEFORE I BOARDED MY FIRST FLIGHT
IT IS THAT READABLE AND COMPELLING.
THIS IS HILL ST BLUES ON CRACK
THE WIRE ON HYPER DRIVE
THE SHIELD BLASING OUT OF LEFT FIELD.
BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN, A TRUE ELEGY OF NOIR DESPAIR AND WITH PASSAGES OF SUCH TREMONDOUS POETIC POWER, YOU HAVE TO READ THEM ALOUD TO SAVOUR THE FULL INTENSITY. THERE IS A STRAND OF AGONISING COMPASSION ALL THROUGHOUT THIS ELEGANT SPARSE NOVEL.
THE CHARACTER OF JASMINE AROUSED SUCH FEELINGS OF
HEART WRENCHING PAIN THAT IF I WASN'T SO HARBOILED, I'D HAVE DAMN NEAR WEPT
AND FOR A NOVEL OF NOIR, IT HAS THAT RARE AND RARER
QUALITY, TRUE NOBILITY AND IT IS THE PROOF THAT JUSTICE MAY INDEED BE SERVED BEST IN THE ALLEYWAY THAN THE COURTROOM.
THE NARRATOR IS INDEED A GOOD MAN LIVING IN VERY BAD TIMES AND HIS ACTIONS, LEGALLY WAY OFF THE RADAR, CERTAINLY ARE THE VERY STUFF OF MORALITY.
THIS A DARK WONDROUS JEWEL OF A BOOK.
Ken Bruen, Shamus award winning author of
The Guards and American Skin
Sounds good to me.