Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, January 10, 2011


It's Jack Taylor versus the devil in Ken Bruen's latest book, the eighth in the Jack Taylor series.  Now, why would the devil go after Jack while he has such major league stuff like war, famine, disease, and just pure evil to keep him busy?  Well, this time, it's personal.  For the devil, as well as for Jack.

     Bruen's books about Jack Taylor have always been dark, bleaker than Willeford or Goodis.  Taylor's life is one of despair, and everything he touches eventually turns to shite.  But the ex-Garda is just too stubborn and self-destructive to give up.  Bruen's brings a terse, dark poetry to today's Ireland, but as long as Taylor carries on, we can feel a little hope. 

     Although Taylor has faced (and been affected by) pure evil in the past, this is the first time he has come up against a supernatural antagonist.  Has Taylor bitten off more than he can chew?  Or has the devil?  I won't go into the plot except to say that horrendous things happen to Taylor and to those around him, horrible crimes are commited, and terrible vengeance is enacted. 

     The supernatural aspect cannot be dismissed, but this is in no way a "dark fantasy":  it's pure noir through and through.  Ken Bruen is one of the best writers working today, and his Jack Taylor series is one of the best examples of noir out there.  I can't recommend this book highly enough.


  1. Sooner or later I'm going to have to try some Bruen. This one sounds interesting. However, obsessive as I am, I'll need to read the previous Taylo novels in order before I can try this one.

    Not sure I can squeeze that in.

    Ah well, I can't read everything. Unfortunately.

  2. The books are fast reads, Randy, a couple of hours each. Start with the first in the series, THE GUARDS, which many have called the finest Irish crime novel ever. I really think you need a new series to obsess over.