Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Galway Confidential - Ken Bruen


Galway Confidential is Ken Bruen's seventeenth Jack Taylor novel, but it is the first since A Galway Ephiphany was published during the catastrophic covid year of 2020. Appropriately enough, as this new glimpse into Jack's darkly chaotic world begins, Jack himself is just waking up from a coma of almost two year's duration. Jack wakes up into a world in which so much has changed that he can hardly believe his eyes. Some things, though, never seem to change no matter how much we wish they would. Those he can believe.

Jack is struggling to recall the near-fatal knife attack that preceded him being tossed into the river to drown, and he cannot recall at all the man who saved his life by pulling him from the river just in the nick of time. That man is now a fixture in Jack's life despite how utterly annoying Jack often finds him to be. But Jack owes him - and Jack always pays his debts.

Despite his brush with death, Jack's reputation on the street is still that of a man able and willing to go where the local police refuse, for reasons of their own, to go. When bad people need fixing, Jack Taylor is the man good people go to for the job. One thing that didn't change while Jack was enduring his long sleep is that there are plenty of bad people out there who need fixing. And two of them have just intruded on Jack's world. Their bad.

One of them is taking a hammer to the heads of Galway's nuns, and the other is burning alive homeless people. Jack is not having any of that.

Ken Bruen's Galway is a dark place in which no one can ever truly be trusted, least of all the police, the Church, and the government. It is a world in which despair, fear, and desperation are often the drivers, a world in which surprisingly effective alliances are sometimes formed between people who refuse to accept things as they are - people who fight back. 

Jack Taylor, a man who has been trying to drink himself to death for decades, is one of those people. His badge as a police officer of the Garda Síochána has been taken from him, he has watched his mother be manipulated by an unscrupulous priest for years, and he knows that successful politicians are never the best of us. Jack has done things he's not proud of, some of those things responsible for his seeming determination to kill himself with the booze. He has killed people to stop them from killing again. It is no wonder that the weak and the helpless come to Jack Taylor for help.

Jack Taylor is a good man.

Galway Confidential is filled with Ken Bruen's usual wit and stylistic quirks, and reading a Ken Bruen novel, dark and brutal as the world it is set in may be, is always fun. Galway Confidential is no exception.

Ken Bruen (Macmillan Publishers photo)

(Look for Galway Confidential on March 5, 2024.)


  1. Having his main character wake up from a coma after two years is certainly an interesting way to begin this book! That alone makes me want to read it.

    1. I really like Ken Bruen's style, Lark. He's very different from any other crime fiction writer that I have ever read. I'll warn you that he's VERY dark and some might say an acquired taste. If you enjoy laughing at inappropriate times he's your man.

  2. I've read several of Bruen's Jack Taylor books. They are lean, mean, very dark-- and very good. I remember literally screaming at the end of one of the books at what happens to a very young character, and my heart broke for Jack. I'm not a screamer by any stretch of the imagination, and I think Bruen is the only writer who's had an effect that powerful on me.

    1. I'm pretty sure that I know exactly which book you're talking about, Cathy. I think that the incident you are referring to pretty much determined the future course of Jack's life. How he survived what happened is hard to imagine.


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