BRASS IN POCKET by Stephen Puleston

brass-in-pocketA really fine police procedural, with a Monk-like Inspector Drake, trying to keep anxiety and chaos at bay, and a body count that steadily rises.

The first incident …. gee, incident sounds so casual for a middle of the night shooting of two traffic officers on a deserted road in the Welsh mountains….. was a middle of the night shooting of two traffic officers on a deser… oh, sorry.  already said that.  They were apparently shot with a thing from a crossbow.  One was also tased.

Inspector Drake noticed that the orange road cones that had been left at the scene by the perp were laid out in a numeral 4.   And the next day, he received  anonymously a polaroid of the murder scene, with a note on the back, the lyrics to the song Brass in Pocket, by the Pretenders.

A horrific scene, and one that caused Inspector Drake’s ocd to flair up, as he sorted his papers on his desk, made color-coded rows of his post it notes, dusted, cleaned, showered.

We get the perp’s perspective before the killing.  And again before the next killing, this time a politician taking a mountain hike with his wife and kids.  Under his body is another note, with the number 3 on it, and lyrics to another song, Silly Little Thing Called Love, by Queen.   Then, after the perp’s perspective again, there is the murder of Dr. West, a cancer specialist.  And song lyrics to Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall”.   And then a message is left in the Inspector’s house, from the band The Police, “Message In A Bottle”.

Drake’s ocd is causing his boss to constantly ask him if he is alright, and does he need a little time off, which of course Drake brushes off, because now it has become personal, and he is determined to find who is doing this.

Nice character development with his new partner, a young gal with sloppy habits that make him even crazier, who runs an alpaca farm with her husband, and Drake’s parents, and his surgeon wife.

Great mystery, and I especially liked it because I had the teeniest glimmer of who the killer might be, but didn’t trust my own instincts, so I am calling it a draw as to my solve rate, good writing, all in all, a very enjoyable read.



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