Ken Bruen


"Bruen writes, quite simply, like no one else in the market today."


Some people help the less fortunate. Others kill them. Evil has many guises. Jack Taylor has encountered most of them but nothing before has ever truly terrified him until a group called Headstone rears its ugly head.

An elderly priest is viciously beaten until nearly dead. A special needs boy is brutally attacked. A series of seemingly random, insane, violent events even has the Guards shaken. Most would see a headstone as a marker of the dead, but this coterie of evil intends to act as a death knell to every aspect of Jack's life as an act of appalling violence alerts him to the horror enveloping Galway.

Accepting the power of Headstone, Jack realizes that in order to fight back he must relinquish the remaining shreds of what has made him human - knowledge that may have come too late to prevent an act of such ferocious evil that the whole country would be changed forever - and in the worst way. With awful clarity, Jack knows that not only might he be powerless to stop it but that he may not have the grit needed to even face it.

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Jack Taylor is one of the most fascinating protagonists being written about right now. Taylor is your archetypal flawed P.I. but carries his flaws like no-one else you will ever read of. A man of huge complexity, Taylor is capable of frightening violence one moment, and heart-wrenching tenderness the next. Through this creation, Bruen allows himself to provide insights into modern Ireland, its troubled history and the omnipresent influence of The Catholic Church on the population. And he does so with a wit that warms you regularly into a chuckle, providing welcome release from the darkness that envelops Taylor and those around him. Bruen is one of those writers who can't write a single paragraph without using at least one quotable phrase. He writes with a brutal intelligence and a poet's sensitivity. He writes with more meaning in one truncated sentence, than some people might write in a chapter. Bruen writes, quite simply, like no one else in the market today. 'Headstone' is the latest in a long-running series and a book that deserves a wide audience. Read this. Enjoy. And if he is new to you, go and seek out the man's backlist. As a reader of crime fiction you owe it to yourself.

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