cover image London Boulevard

London Boulevard

Ken Bruen, . . Minotaur, $24.99 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-312-56168-0

First published in the U.K. in 2001 and presently being adapted for the movies, Bruen's gritty reimagining of Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard transplants the action from glitzy Hollywood to the rough and tumble London streets. Fresh out of prison after serving three years for an assault he can't remember, Mitchell tries unsuccessfully to steer clear of his old life, even as friends pressure him to get back in the crime game. Looking for an honest job, Mitchell finds work as a handyman for a wealthy and reclusive former stage beauty, Lillian Palmer, who lives in a sprawling estate with her taciturn butler, Jordan. Soon, Mitchell's increasingly complicated relationship with Palmer becomes inextricably intertwined with his violent past. While Mitchell and Palmer obviously evoke Sunset 's Joe Gillis and Norma Desmond, Bruen (Once Were Cops ) adds his own cast of supporting characters, notably Mitchell's eccentric sister, Briony. Noir fans will enjoy this rapid-fire thrill ride. (Dec.)