RARA-AVIS: Ken Bruen

From: Donna ( donna.moore@virgin.net)
Date: 28 Jul 2003

Hi All,

Miker wrote:

> I was familiar with several of them,
> like Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, and Vachss, but Amazon also
> recommended Ken Bruen's THE GUARDS, Eisler's RAIN FALL, and
> Jonathon King's BLUE EDGE OF MIDNIGHT.
....Any comments on these writers would be
> appreciated.

I loved Bruen's The Guards which is set in Ireland. Jack Taylor is an alcoholic who's been thrown out of the police force and is now a PI - a profession almost as disliked in Ireland as the Garda, given the similarity of the profession to Informer. However, he's not really a very good PI since he spends most of his time in an alcoholic haze. Out of desperation he's hired by a woman who is sure that her daughter's death was not suicide, but murder. This is a really powerful book, beautifully written and haunting. Jack could easily be a totally unlikeable character - he's a selfish, unthinking alcoholic who's more concerned about where his next drink is coming from. However, he's saved by the honesty, wit and caring nature hidden underneath. The plot element of The Guards is pretty thin, and the crime feels like more of an aside, but I was hooked by Jack, his outlook on life, his humour and his sadness. I really loved the writing style as well. A very original book. Bruen also very obviously has a love of crime fiction as there are loads of references to hardboiled authors.

He has another series set in London which is also apparently very hard-boiled (I have them but not read them as yet), and he's labelled as Brit-noir.


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