The Guards

What? Huh? Cool! Those were some of my mixed reactions to this dark, modern day, Irish crime novel by a guy named Ken Bruen. It’s book number one in the Jack Taylor series. I always start with book number one, if I can help it, as you probably know by now.

Jack Taylor is a drunk ex-cop (ex guard, actually, as it’s referred to in wherever in Ireland he is) who pulls of some huge alcoholic benders, reminiscent of Dave Robicheaux’s bender in The Neon Rain, which was pretty epic. Taylor is a brooding, near 50ish, single, tough guy/reader of books who seems to have gotten his act together by the end of the book.

It’s classy, standard, and true to the genre. I love this stuff. I also love characters like this:

There’s always been books. All my bedraggled life, they’ve been the only constant. Even Sutton, my closest friend, had exclaimed, “What’s with the fucking reading, man? You used to be a guard, for christsakes.” Which is Irish logic at its finest. I’d said to him then and umpteen times since, “Reading transports me.” He said with his characteristic candour, “Shit talk.” (pg 103)

They mystery was kind of haphazardly solved and the ending kind of drawn out. In the end Taylor is ready to leave for London and I’m guessing the story takes up from there. I think. I’ll read on and then maybe watch a batch on Netflix because it looks like these were made into a TV show.

Nice find.