The first of Bruen's Jack Taylor mysteries. Jack is a hopeless drunk, a former policeman (guard) who was fired for drunkenness. But the book is written poetically and with a certain dignity--Jack Taylor does not want your pity, he just tells it like it is while he deals with his personal demons alone. Interesting, unique writing style and nearly impossible to put down.
I just finished reading Ken Bruen's The Guards and all I can say is
WOW! One of the fastest reads I've had in a long time and yet it
packed quite a punch!
A great book, as one reviewer said, a combination of Leonard Elmore and James Joyce.
This one is like a throw back to the hard-case noir novels of the 40s and 50s but set in Galway, Ireland. The writing is very sparse consisting mostly of dialog making it a very fast read. It was a very dark novel about an ex-Irish Guardsman (policeman) who sort of works as a private investigator. Throughout the book he is fighting alcoholism and his past. He agrees to take the case of a mother who doesn't believe her daughter committed suicide; and along the way, alienates his client and jeopardizes the life of his best friend. The ending was also quite unexpected. I would recommend this one!
Very dark and very readable, i loved it
gritty, hard boiled, good
Jack Taylor has issues: he's lost his job as a cop, has a major drinking problem, and is broke. He attempts to pay his rent by working as a P.I., though he is such a mess that it is difficult to find anyone willing to hire him. Fortunately, a client who is almost as hopeless as he is manages to find him - a grieving single mother whose daughter apparently died of suicide, at least according to the cops. The mother however refusaes to believe that her only child would willingly abandon her, so she hires Jack to find out the truth.
Jack uncovers the dark truth, but along the way he gets beat up, meets some truly twisted people, beats some other people up, and struggles with his own personal demons.
The Guards is a quick read, as Bruen's prose is spare. With very few words he manages to tell an action-packed story, full of distinctive characters. I initially picked up this book because Ken Bruen is frequently raved about at the local mystery book club that I am a member of, and I can see why - his writing is simultaneously suspenseful, humorous, and touching.
Since I usually read golden age mysteries, this was a bit different for me; but it was still an interesting read, although less a straight narrative than a peek into the psyche of a damaged drunk as he goes about trying to prove a young girl's drowning wasn't a suicide.
I've been reading this series out of order based on availability. First in the Jack Taylor series, this was a terrific start to the series. Bruen's writing is spare, the story always races along and he always makes me laugh. Very highly recommend.
I read many words of praise for Ken Bruen so decided I must read him. Especially when a review said"If you like Ian Rankin....you'll like Bruen".
Well, I didn't.
I haven't been so enthralled by a mystery in a very long time. This book is very "literary" and very Irish. The language is spare, poetic, and beautiful even if the subject matter is not. I am actually regretting posting my copy and might buy a new copy "for keeps". I cannot recommend this one highly enough, especially if you are a lover of language. Gorgeous.