Book Review: Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker (Bruno Chief of Police, 1)

Bruno, Chief of Police is the first novel in the Bruno, Chief of Police series by Martin Walker. Set in the small French village of St. Denis, the book follows the investigation of a murder that uncovers corruption and xenophobia within the community.

The story opens with the discovery of the body of a young Algerian man who had been working on a local farm. Bruno Courreges, the village’s chief of police, is tasked with investigating the murder. As he delves deeper into the case, he uncovers a web of secrets and lies that threaten to tear the village apart.

One of the book’s strengths is its sense of place. Martin Walker does an excellent job of creating a vivid picture of St. Denis, with its rolling hills, quaint cafes, and local markets. The reader is immediately transported to this idyllic setting, and it becomes a character in its own right.

Another strength of the book is its characters. Bruno is a likable and relatable protagonist. He is not a superhuman detective, but rather a flawed and compassionate human being who is doing his best to do the right thing in a complex and challenging situation. He has a strong connection to the community he serves, and his loyalty and dedication are evident throughout the book.

The other characters in the book are also well-developed. Each has their own distinct personality and history, and they all feel like real people rather than just fictional characters. The book explores the relationships between these characters, which adds depth and complexity to the story.

The investigation itself is well-plotted and keeps the reader guessing until the very end. As Bruno uncovers more and more about the murder, he realizes that it is much more complex than he initially thought. He is faced with obstacles at every turn, from uncooperative witnesses to corrupt officials. However, he remains determined to solve the case and bring the killer to justice.

Throughout the book, Walker also touches on issues such as immigration and xenophobia. The murder victim was an Algerian immigrant, and his death highlights the prejudices and fears that exist within the community. Bruno is forced to confront these issues head-on, and his compassion and understanding make him a valuable voice of reason in a world that can be cruel and unjust.

One of the book’s few weaknesses is its pacing. At times, the story can feel slow, especially during some of the longer descriptions of the village and its inhabitants. However, this is a minor flaw, and the book’s other strengths more than make up for it.

Bruno, Chief of Police is a well-written and engaging crime novel that will appeal to fans of the genre. It is a great introduction to the character of Bruno and the world of St. Denis, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read. You can get a copy from Amazon here.


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