That Iago in bespoke tailoring, Detective Sergeant Tom Brant of the SE London Met, returns to chase a serial killer straight out of Emily Post.
His colleagues universally agree that “Brant was a pig,” a man absolutely incapable of behavior not directly beneficial to DS Tom Brant. Typically, now, he sidles into the splashy case of London’s lethal monitor of manners, convinced it will prove an easy, self-aggrandizing bust. Letters have begun arriving at police headquarters announcing an anonymous citizen’s crusade against incivility. If the “manners killer” observes a mother unduly chastising her child, or a shopkeeper treating his customers boorishly, deadly mishaps loom: a stumble from a train platform, a tumble from the window of a high-rise apartment building. Aided by a big-time lead from his personal snitch, Brant happily plots to corner his prey. Meanwhile, his less accomplished Met sidekicks pursue other miscreants and their own elusive demons. In the process, Chief Inspector Roberts gets beaten up, WPC Falls falls for still another in a dismal list of nightmare mates, while PC MacDonald, once a Met golden boy, turns an appalling shade of yellow. Only Brant, cruel as Caligula, amoral as a wharf rat and totally undeserving, emerges unscathed to collect the glittering prizes.
Sadly, this time Bruen (The Dramatist, Mar. 2006, etc.) crosses the thin line between noir and sour.