Thursday 8 April 2021




Bruno Johnson, shaken to his core, is still a formidable force - he has an unrelenting focus on doing the right thing - and is unwilling to let anyone or anything stand in his way.

Pushed to his emotional limit, Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy Bruno Johnson struggles to hold his family together while immersed in his unrelenting career. His daughter, Olivia, is a teen mom to twin toddlers; her common-law husband, Derek Sams, is a thug; and one of their little boys has disappeared under his care.

The overwhelming intensity demanded of Bruno on this personal level is compounded by the brutal shotgun murder of a superior court judge and his wife, both friends of his. Bruno cannot ignore these violent crimes even though he's supposedly off the law enforcement grid - undercover - working an illegal gun sting.

Tragedy strikes Bruno's life on all fronts: family, friends, and professional - however, none of these colossal forces can match the unthinkable catastrophe that will forever dominate Bruno's life.

Perfect for fans of Robert Crais and Michael Connelly.

I do like a catch up with an old friend, particularly if he is a cop who doesn't mind too much pushing the boundaries in pursuit of justice - in whatever form it might take. Bruno Johnson is great company. He possesses - street smarts, loyalty, bravery, hard-headedness, stupidity, intelligence, a nose for bullshit, a nose that is equally attuned to finding trouble and he has some pretty decent investigative skills.  

Author Dave Putnam must really hate him. Here he has a heavy load to deal with..... family issues - bereavement, loss; friendship issues - bereavement, loss; career issues - stagnant and after this one - heading south. 

Fast-paced, and exciting. Putnam serves up a busy book. Bruno is working as part of an undercover sting to snare criminals. In addition to trying to regain custody of his absent grandson, punish his dead daughter's boyfirend for his part in his other grandson's disappearance, and find out who killed his friends - a court judge and his wife. 

Lots of different strands and story elements. Lots of deception and lies as Bruno through necessity keeps secrets from his father and his partner Robby Wicks. Plenty of back story, as Bruno gets his father to open up about his mother, someone he has no real memories of.

Decent storyline, satifying resolution, enough action to keep me happy, but not mindless or over the top, all relevant and in the context of the story. Characters, I enjoy reading about. LA setting. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.

4.5 from 5 

The seven previous Bruno Johnson books have all been enjoyed. 

I'm looking forward to the ninth!

Read - March, 2021
Published - 2021
Page count - 340
Source - review copy from author
Format - trade paperback ARC


  1. He really does seem to have a heavy load to bear in this novel, Col. It's interesting you mention just how willing a cop is to bend the rules in the interests of justice (whatever that is). Sometimes I think that works very well (Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch does that sometimes). Sometimes I don't think it works well, because it's a bit unrealistic. I'm glad you thought it worked here.

    1. It is interesting and a difficult juggle for an author to manage. In real life, I think I'm less sympathetic to cops who break rules. Kind of the give them an inch principle, where will we end up....

  2. This sounds great. Still need to catch up with Putnam’s work.