Ken Bruen


"Taylor is a brilliantly conceived, flawed protagonist…"


Jack Taylor is going about his business, fighting against his arch enemy – drink. He is feeling low after what happened to his new-found partner/adopted son, Cody. Visiting the boy, who is now in a coma, is something that makes sure Taylor feels the pain in every way. It also ensures that his guilt stays alive. Then his other arch enemy, Malachy tells him about a young boy who was nailed to a cross in Galway. Jack has too much already on his plate to pursue this investigation. It isn't until soon after, when the sister is burned alive, that Jack starts to make himself involved.

Taylor learns that a secret from within the family has started off a series of events that cannot be laid to rest until full punishment has been meted out. And with people close to Jack being taken from him, he finds himself in the middle of a very personal war.

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It seems that at long last a strong publisher has decided to give this very dark writer a shot at the mainstream without Bruen having to compromise himself in any way. Cross has the same defeatist tone as the previous Jack Taylor novels but, at the same time, despite the author putting his main character through the mill, you have to admire the sheer guts of Jack Taylor for not giving up. Yet, he is slowly and painfully plodding his was through what can only be called the minefield of life. In Cross, Bruen enlarges on the pain felt by Taylor through the shooting of Cody at the end of his previous novel, Priest. He also introduces another marvellous character, Ridge to the fore with her own set of troubles. The actual crucifixion of the boy and the death of his sister take a back seat to the daily despair felt by Taylor. The plot never feels like it is something sensational to keep the reader occupied, but appears as yet another cross for Jack to carry along with the set of “crosses” he has collected over the years. Taylor is a brilliantly conceived, flawed protagonist who is the main driving force of Bruen's novels. He is a fascinating man. Very dark – yet with with the belly of the devil, and the heart of an angel. The ending of Cross is tied up nicely regarding the deaths, but Taylor's possible escape is delayed by yet another call for help which we will no doubt hear about in the next instalment in the lament of Jack Taylor. Cross is a marvellous piece of Irish noir that will certainly have his legions of fans panting for the next Jack Taylor.

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