Once Were Cops (Hardcover)

By Ken Bruen

Minotaur Books, 9780312384401, 304pp.

Publication Date: October 28, 2008

List Price: 22.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

November 2008 Indie Next List

“If you haven't read any Bruen yet, this gritty noir tale of a wild Irish cop on the loose in the NYPD is a great introduction. There are twists and turns aplenty is this riveting read.”
— Rich Chasse, The Kennebunk Book Port, Kennebunkport, ME
View the List


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.

About 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.

Praise For Once Were Cops

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