When a letter containing a list of victims arrives in the post, P.I. Jack Taylor tells himself that it's got nothing to do with him. He has enough to do just staying sane. His close friend Ridge is recovering from surgery, and alcohol's siren song is calling to him ever more insistently.
A guard and then a judge die in mysterious circumstances. But it is not until a child is added to the list that Taylor determines to find the identity of the killer, and stop them at any cost. What he doesn't know is that his relationship with the killer is far closer than he thinks. And it's about to become deeply personal.
Spiked with dark humor, and fueled with rage at man's inhumanity to man, this is crime writing at its darkest and most original.
At the start of Edgar-finalist Bruen's lean seventh Jack Taylor novel, the aging, alcoholic Irish ex-cop, who moved to the U.S. in 2008's The Cross, knows he really ought to be in America, but he's staying in Galway because his old police partner, Ridge, has developed breast cancer. Meanwhile, he's received a shopping list of intended victims--two guards, one nun, one judge and one child--from the mysterious Benedictus. One is already dead, killed in an unfortunate hit and run, according to Superintendent Clancy, Taylor's best friend from years earlier on the force, who dismisses Taylor's fear that a serial killer is on the loose. Bruen's trademark terse style is more perfunctory than not, and parts of the narrative read like an outline, as shown by previous cases synopsized in quick asides. Taylor confronts the unlikely killer in what is a less than convincing showdown. Still, series fans should follow Taylor's current fall off the wagon, suffused by the mellow glow of Xanax, with the usual passionate interest. (May)
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May 11, 2009
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