Mysterious Press, $25.00, 330 pages, ISBN 978-0-8021-2733-4
We’re winding up the year here at the Mysterious Book Report with one of our favorite Irish authors. His name is Ken Bruen; a writer who’s witty, campy and filled to the brim with what can only be called Irish Noir. It’s a mixture of delicacy, violence, grief and guilt as depicted by his iconic, unforgettable and utterly devastated character named Jack Taylor.
In his newest adventure, The Ghosts of Galway, Jack is recovering from a failed suicide attempt. He’s broke, alcoholic, friendless, and desperate. An ex-cop, he takes a job as a security guard . . . rock-bottom of the barrel in career choices as far as Taylor’s concerned. But when his Ukrainian boss learns about his newest employee’s resume, he enlists Jack in a scheme to steal a notorious book of heresy. It’s called The Red Book, and it’s rumored to be in Galway, in the possession of a rogue priest . . . who stole it from the Vatican archives. Although it goes against his grain, Jack is so down and out, he agrees to steal it in return for an envelope stuffed with cash. It’s at this juncture that Em, the madwoman who’s been a focal point in Jack’s life over the past two years, reappears with an agenda of her own . . . one that includes an interest in The Red Book. Soon after, Jack is ensnared in ever-escalating violence, as a series of attempts are made on his life. At the same time, ghosts out of his past return to haunt him . . . all the way to the point of madness . . . as he is consumed with personal guilt. Jack Taylor is one of the most unforgettable, unique and cherished characters in contemporary crime fiction.