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Galway PI Jack Taylor is back on another dark, uncompromising road-trip through the underworld of Irish crime.
Ken Bruen was born in Galway, Ireland. After turning down a place at RADA, and completing a doctorate in Metaphysics, he spent 25 years as an English teacher in Africa, Japan, South East Asia and South America. An unscheduled stint in a Brazilian prison where he suffered physical and mental abuse spurred him to write, and after a brief spell teaching in London, he returned to Galway, where he now lives with his daughter. Sanctuary is the seventh novel in the award-winning Jack Taylor series.
At the start of Edgar-finalist Bruen's lean seventh Jack Taylor novel, the aging, alcoholic Irish ex-cop, who moved to the U.S. in 2008's The Cross, knows he really ought to be in America, but he's staying in Galway because his old police partner, Ridge, has developed breast cancer. Meanwhile, he's received a "shopping list" of intended victims-two guards, one nun, one judge and one child-from the mysterious "Benedictus." One is already dead, killed in an "unfortunate hit and run," according to Superintendent Clancy, Taylor's best friend from years earlier on the force, who dismisses Taylor's fear that a serial killer is on the loose. Bruen's trademark terse style is more perfunctory than not, and parts of the narrative read like an outline, as shown by previous cases synopsized in quick asides. Taylor confronts the unlikely killer in what is a less than convincing showdown. Still, series fans should follow Taylor's current fall off the wagon, suffused by the mellow glow of Xanax, with the usual passionate interest. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"Tightly structured and compelling ... You don't want to meet Jack Taylor in person, but if you're a crime fan, you do want to read every book he features in." * Irish Times for PRIEST * "Ken Bruen is finally getting his due. Priest is grimy, brooding, pawkily funny and wholly original. Great." * Observer for PRIEST * "A gripping story of guilt and redemption." * Independent on Sunday for CROSS * "A compelling portrait of a haunted man." * Guardian for CROSS * "Sanctuary...packs a powerful punch. Taylor's alcoholic self-disgust is utterly convincing, and the supporting low life characters in the story are deftly and vibrantly drawn through pared-to-the-bone prose. Unforgettable." * Irish Independent *
Bruen's seventh Jack Taylor mystery (after Cross) is another tightly plotted tale featuring an often unlikable, hard-living antihero. When Jack receives a death list that he believes should be taken seriously, the police, including former friend and current nemesis Clancy, are dismissive. Only when the killings begin does Clancy come around, and even then not until the case becomes personal. It's up to Jack to stick his unwanted nose into the investigation, an effort not surprisingly complicated by his constant stumbles off the wagon of sobriety. There are two mysteries involved-the murderer's identity and the reason why Taylor has been personally drawn in-both of which Taylor manages to solve neatly. If there's a complaint to be made, it's that the novel feels extremely brief at only 200 well-spaced pages. Given the number of bloated efforts out there, however, perhaps it's best not to complain too loudly. Bruen's deft effort is recommended for all mystery collections [Library marketing; see Prepub Mystery, LJ 1/09.]-Craig Shufelt, Fort McMurray P.L., Alta Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.