Friday, May 5

The Guards by Ken Bruen

Review by Andrea Maloney

Irishman Jack Taylor is a former member of Ireland's Garda Siochana, living in Galway,  who was relieved of duty because of his heavy drinking.  Now he is a finder of things (which in most cases would be a private eye but the Irish won't abide by private eyes) so he is just a finder of things.  One day the mother of a teenage suicide comes to him and asks him to find out the truth about her daughter who she believes didn't commit suicide. Jack who is drunk, as he usually is,  agrees to help her.  He sets out to try to find out the truth while also trying to drink himself into oblivion. The mystery practically solves itself while along the way we are treated to a brilliant look at a fascinating character.

If you are looking for a nice private eye novel with a deliciously intricate mystery this book isn't for you. Instead if you like a wonderful character driven noir type novel then run out an grab this book.  It's a fascinating in depth look into the tortured life of Jack Taylor with a post modern twist. It's at times funny and in the same breath fills you will despair. A lightening fast read with sparse prose that grabs you right from the beginning and holds you enthralled until the surprising end. The sparseness of the prose just adds to the impact of this book for each word written by Bruen is used with maximum effectiveness to capture the anguished world of Jack Taylor.

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