Galway Girl - Ken Bruen

Against all odds, Galway’s best known fixer is still alive & kicking. Well…kicking may be an exaggeration. Jack Taylor is in a bit of a funk. All the years of hard living are catching up with him & a recent loss has him in a tailspin.

 

If that weren’t bad enough, people around him are dropping like flies. A lovely young cop who made the mistake of being seen with him, another he used to work with…both were killed in brazen attacks. If he didn’t know better, Jack might think he’s the common denominator. Oh wait…

 

Jack has always been a well read guy so I hope he’s up on his Faulkner because the past has just come roaring back to haunt him. The story picks up on events from book #11 (Green Hell) one of the best in the series IMHO. In this instalment, someone is out to destroy everyone Jack cares about before finishing him off. The reason? Well, that would be telling. But we soon learn why an unlikely trio of killers has painted a target on his back.   

 

Jericho is a young Galway girl who’s….uh….a little different (I really don’t want to tick her off). She’s come back to get revenge for a loved one & as far as she’s concerned it’s all Jack’s fault. But she needs help & quickly recruits a couple of locals who have their own bones to pick with the former guard. And so begins a deadly game designed to make him suffer. Let’s face it, Jack doesn’t have a lot of friends left & he’s in no shape to take another emotional hit. But having nothing to lose can be very liberating.

 

Jeez Louise, this one had me looking over MY shoulder, never mind Jack’s. The first “Holy Crap” moment comes at 5% in & the narrative keeps you nervous as you try to anticipate Jericho’s next move. In typical style, the author mixes violence with Jack’s darkly humorous observations on books, sport, politics & Irish culture. It should come across as the story of a bitter man who’s hit rock bottom but Bruen includes small moments that give us a glimmer of hope for his long suffering anti-hero. I had no idea where this was going & I defy any reader to predict how it ends. All I’ll say is if you happen to suffer from ornithophobia you might want to follow Jack’s lead & keep the Jameson nearby.

 

It’s bleak, Irish noir laced with the blackest of humour. In other words, it’s Bruen. So I’ll end with this. Jack, we have to chat. I love you like a brother & worry about you between books. But after the events of this one, I’m rethinking our relationship. Maybe we should keep it casual. You know, like pen pals or something.