Once Were Cops

( 9 )

Overview

Michael O'Shea is a member of Ireland's police force, known as The Guards. He's also a sociopath who walks a knife edge between sanity and all-out mayhem. When an exchange program is initiated and twenty Guards come to America and twenty cops from the States go to Ireland, Shay, as he's known, has his lifelong dream come true--he becomes a member of the NYPD. But Shay's dream is about to become New York's nightmare.

Paired with an unstable cop nicknamed Kebar for his liberal use...

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Once Were Cops: A Novel

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Overview

Michael O'Shea is a member of Ireland's police force, known as The Guards. He's also a sociopath who walks a knife edge between sanity and all-out mayhem. When an exchange program is initiated and twenty Guards come to America and twenty cops from the States go to Ireland, Shay, as he's known, has his lifelong dream come true--he becomes a member of the NYPD. But Shay's dream is about to become New York's nightmare.

Paired with an unstable cop nicknamed Kebar for his liberal use of a short, lethal metal stick called a K-bar, the two unlikely partners become a devastatingly effective force in the war against crime.

But Kebar harbors a dangerous secret: he's sold out to the mob to help his sister. Her rape and beating leaves her in a coma and pushes an already unstable Kebar over the edge just as Shea’s dark secrets threaten boil over and into the streets of New York.

Once Were Cops melds the street poetry of Brooklyn and Dublin into a fast-paced, incomparable hard-boiled novel. This is Ken Bruen at his best.

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Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
The prolific Irish novelist Ken Bruen's books are violent, vulgar, over the top, booze-soaked, dungeon-dark and—if you're not put off by all that—often hilarious. The first of his novels I read, The Guards, featured a Galway private detective who did far more drinking than detecting. The next, Calibre, starred a serial killer who targeted obnoxious people and soon had us cheering him on. Bruen's new Once Were Cops is his most outrageous yet…It has the feel of having been dashed off in a few weeks, but it possesses a blood-on-the-tracks fascination. You can accuse Bruen of various sins, but he has a distinct voice, and he's never less than readable.
—The Washington Post
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.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

He's so tough and cold you'd expect to see him on a platter at a greasy spoon. He prays he won't meet up with any beautiful women with swanlike necks because he's sure to strangle them with his green rosary. He's an Irish cop no less, on temporary assignment in New York. He's Matthew Patrick O'Shea, and in a typically Irish variation on the good cop-bad cop routine, he and his partner play bad cop-worse cop in the desperate city. When O'Shea meets his partner's beautiful but profoundly retarded sister, it's easy to guess the outcome, although, when it comes, it's even darker than you imagined. Even if it were offered, O'Shea would reject coaching in victim selection from Dexter Morgan (of Jeff Lindsay's Dexter series), since he's all about in-your-face provocation. So is Bruen in this stand-alone thriller. The fare on offer at Chez Bruen features shards of spare sentences served up on lots of white space and presented with tons of attitude. Those who agree it's all in the presentation will be pleased, but those seeking meat and potatoes might be left wanting more. Suggested for public libraries as an example of first-rate nouvelle cuisine à la noir. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ7/08.]
—Bob Lunn

Kirkus Reviews
While Jack Taylor sits out a round, two homicidal NYPD cops stand in to sustain the Bruen mood. Jack Taylor, Bruen's series antihero who's losing his bitter battle with the bottle, has a walk-on here. But never mind about Taylor. His replacement, Matthew Patrick O'Shea, is engaged in his own losing battle-with goodness, as he indicates at the outset. Guard O'Shea, of the Irish national police, is certifiably psychotic and needs to be where the action is. New York's stratospheric level of bloodletting, in his view, lifts it above Dublin as a prospective base of operations. As part of an exchange program, the clever sicko manages to wangle a transfer from the Guards to the NYPD. There he meets and partners with Kurt Browski, a misogynistic thug in blue for whom police brutality amounts to a vocation. Like calls out to like, and for a while the two get along. Amazingly enough, there's a soft spot in Browski's iron soul-a beautiful, handicapped sister who's bound to become a target for O'Shea's atrocities. Will he pay for his vicious crimes? Bruen, poster boy for noir (Ammunition, 2007, etc.), keeps you guessing until the denouement. An unlovely tale impossible to put down. Readers asked at year's end to list the nastiest, most violent cop novels of 2008 will certainly remember this one.
From the Publisher

Advance Praise for ONCE WERE COPS:

"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 cliches to quickly reach deeper and more dangerous depths. No one is safe as this shocker spins wildly toward a violent finish." --Publishers Weekly

"Bruen, poster boy for noir, keeps you guessing until the denouement...An unlovely tale impossible to put down. Readers asked at year's end to list the nastiest, most violent cop novels of 2008 will certainly remember this one." --Kirkus Reviews

"Shea is an otherworldly malevolence who makes ONCE WERE COPS a chilling and deeply creepy read. That Bruen renders such a remarkable character in what be called clipped free verse is further proof of his writing talent." --Booklist

"[Shea] is all about in-your-face provocation. So is Bruen in this stand-alone thriller. Suggested for public libraries as an example of first-rate nouvelle cuisine a la noir." --Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312540173
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/10/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 877,666
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

KEN BRUEN 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 has been an English teacher in Africa, Japan, Southeast Asia, and South America. He lives in Galway, Ireland.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    QUICK READING

    The writer has a very unique writing style. It is writtten in short paragraphs. Each paragraph is to the point. Very quick reading; it can be read in one long day or in a couple of days. Interesting story, well written. Not a great book, but enjoyable none the less.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2008

    Fans of Mr. Bruen will appreciate his New York Noir style Irish stew.

    Clever sociopathic Galway, Ireland cop Matthew Patrick ¿Shea¿ O'Shea arranges through extortion and blakcmail for a one-year assignment with NYPD as part of a police exchange program. The Irish cop is teamed with abusive New York cop Kurt ¿Kebar¿ Browski.------------------ Matthew knows he must hide his vice as his host city will not tolerate him choking to death beautiful women with lovely long swan necks. Shea realizes quickly his partner is as crazy as he is perhaps even sicker as Matthew gains more pleasure than he does with roughing up someone. The two nasty police officers seem to work well together as poster-boys of police brutality until Kebar introduces Shea to his retarded sister, who has a beautiful long swan neck.--------------------- These two brutal cops who believe in taking no prisoners star in Ken Bruen¿s deep character study of two sadistic police officers abusing their authorities not so much to catch felons even but more for personal pleasure of sorts. The plot is somewhat limited though readers anticipate a violent showdown between the lead police officers once the long swan neck sibling is involved. Fans of Mr. Bruen will appreciate his New York Noir style Irish stew.------------ Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Ken Bruen does it again

    Once again K.B. has written a page burning novel (or epic poem) about the very darkest side of our souls. Started this one and didn't put it down until the final period.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Quick Read!

    This book was such a quick read that I read it in a few hours. I couldn't put it down which is a true testament to Ken Bruen. Great read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted February 20, 2010

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    Posted September 5, 2010

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    Posted November 23, 2008

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    Posted October 28, 2008

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