Jack Taylor has never been what anyone would call a social success. He has few friends, no long term relationship, and very little real desire for either. And now that his mother is dead, not that his relationship with her was ever a very healthy one, he has no family. It says a lot about the man that the closest relationship in the world that he has is a love/hate thing that he has going with Ridge, a lesbian member of the Guard, a relationship that has gone on for a long time with neither of them ever expressing much in the way of feelings for the other. Sadly, each of them seems to feel the relationship to be more of an inherited obligation than a choice.
As Cross opens, Jack is still blaming himself for the accidental death of a little girl, something that understandably killed his long friendship with the child’s parents. To make matters worse, the young man Jack had come to love almost as a surrogate son after reluctantly taking him on as an investigative partner, is still in a coma after taking a bullet that Jack believes was actually intended for him instead. It is little wonder that most of Jack’s waking hours are spent in a constant struggle with himself to avoid falling off the wagon again. He knows that he may have already used up the last “recovery” he had in him and that if he gives into the bottle he may never be sober again.
Things are so bad, in fact, that Jack is strongly considering abandoning his beloved Galway in favor of a move to
Jack Taylor is indeed a haunted man. His problem is that he knows himself well enough to understand that he has no one to blame but himself for all the failed relationships in his past. But recognizing one’s problems is the easy part; doing something about them is a bit harder.
Ken Bruen novels are about human nature as much as they are about criminals and their crimes. Bruen’s real story, one that continues from book-to-book, is about the evolution of Jack Taylor, a man who has been physically and mentally beaten up by life itself. None of us wants to be Jack Taylor but we surely cannot help but be fascinated by the man.
Readers new to the work of Ken Bruen would do well to read the Jack Taylor books in the order in which they were written because Jack’s story is a complicated one and in order to really appreciate the struggles of a man like him it is best to understand how he got to be the man he is today.
I am already looking forward to the seventh in the series but I almost wish I were just discovering the books and that I had the first six sitting in front of me ready for a marathon reading experience. They are just that good.
Rated at: 4.5
Previously Reviewed "Jack Taylor" Books: