RARA-AVIS: Ken Bruen's Sanctuary

From: Stewart Wilson (stewart@stewartwilson.com)
Date: 30 Jul 2009

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    On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 3:19 PM, Kent Morgan<tkmorgan@shaw.ca> wrote:
    > I'm almost afraid to comment about Ken Bruen's latest in the Jack Taylor
    > series, Sanctuary.  A few years back when I mentioned that I didn't enjoy
    > the third in the series, The Magdalen Martyrs, I took some serious hits from
    > a couple of authors who at the time seemed to feel that Bruen walked on
    > water. The surprising thing was that I probably had been reading Bruen
    > before them and said I liked the first two books in the Taylor series and
    > some of his other work. Since that time I've read all the later books in the
    > series and liked them except for Sanctuary. The 2009 UK paperback is 221
    > pages of large type and margins and I felt that Bruen and his publisher
    > Transworld Ireland didn't give me much value for $11.99 Canadian. It almost
    > was like reading a recent Robert B. Parker Spenser novel. I won't say much
    > about the plot other than Taylor starts drinking again after he receives a
    > hit list and later discovers he also may be on it.  I don't remember seeing
    > any reviews about the book or comments on this or other mystery lists.
    > Anyone read it?

    Hi Kent,
     I read it a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it, but not enough to defend it against your points. To me, it was looking bad for Bruen a few years ago (THE DRAMATIST was for me the low point), and his stuff since, including this one was good enough to keep my happy. I have to admit, though, that I stopped buying his books in HC after DRAMATIST, and have just been reading library copies, or paperbacks which means the quality only has to be good enough to justify the time I invested rather than the price of a hardback.

     A plot point from the DRAMATIST comes back in SANCTUARY and answers a question I posted here at the time (SPOILER warning if you follow the link. I blamed her already, but Bruen makes it an overt act in SANCTUARY).


     I've also recently read the older HACKMAN BLUES which I found excellent. Still looking for LONDON BOULEVARD.


    Stewart Wilson
    Toronto, ON

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