Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A woman walks into a pub wanting an ex Garda to investigate the apparent suicide of her daughter. Jack Taylor is the ex Garda in question. He is an alcoholic and a private detective. Though he won't admit to the latter saying that to the Irish it sounds too much like the dreaded informer.

First published in 2001 Brandon books have reissued "The Guards" the first in the series of the detective novels featuring Jack Taylor. Set in Galway City the novels are as much about Taylor coming to terms with his inner demons as well as him solving the crime.

The Guards begins with Jack Taylor providing us with information as to the circumstances of his leaving the Gardai, the Irish police force. He is sought out by clients in a traditional pub down a back street in Galway city center.

Throughout Taylor is a fascinating and contradictory character, a hard man with a sentimental heart, a former garda with an intense dislike of the police force, a philistine with a tremendous love of literature.

Indeed literature features throughout with Taylor saying that his life no matter what books have been part of his life. Poets and novelists are liberally quoted and Taylor is shown to be much more than the average down at heel private investigator.

Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor novels can be said to be a paean to old Galway city. A Galway city prior to the arrival of mass tourism and the building boom. Throughout Taylor laments the passing of the old city and the genuine Galwegian. Ken Bruen knows his city, knows it's history and people only too well. Fast paced and dialogue driven "The Guards" will keep the reader riveted till the last page.

Winner in the Best Novel category of the 2004 Shamus Awards, The Guards has recently been adapted for film. It stars Iain Glen as Jack Taylor with Tara Breathnach and Nora-Jane Noone also starring.


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