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Priest Paperback – January 22, 2008


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Priest + Cross: A Novel (Jack Taylor Novels) + The Dramatist: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (January 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312378270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312378271
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Recovered from incapacitating guilt over the death of a child on his watch, Jack Taylor is released from the loony bin at the start of Shamus-winner Bruen's searing fifth book about the alcoholic Galwegian ex-cop (after 2006's The Dramatist). Jack's friend Nio "Ridge" Iomaire picks him up from the hospital and mentions the gory headlines: a pedophilic priest, Father Joyce, was beheaded. At the request of another frightened priest, Jack launches an unofficial investigation with the assistance of an eager, younger partner, Cody. All the while fighting his constant ache for a drink, the maverick PI also helps Ridge ward off a stalker. Jack is a keen and literary narrator, and Bruen's latest Irish noir makes for a kind of savage poetry, at once exhausting and exhilarating. Bruen has been a finalist for Edgar, Anthony and Barry awards. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Jack Taylor has spent the last five months in the loony bin, recovering from the horrific tragedy at the end of The Dramatist (2006). Maybe it's his new frame of mind--most of his friends are dead or have become his enemies--or maybe it's something else, but Ireland seems to have become even more foreign to the cranky ex-Guard in that short time. His head is clanging with thoughts about the increasingly commodified Irish soul as he finds himself, barely prepared, sucked into three new cases: finding out who beheaded a child-molesting priest; catching his last remaining friend's stalker; and locating his missing ex-best friend--the father of the girl who died while Taylor was babysitting her has disappeared into skid row. Dark days, even for Taylor, though he still finds time for ruminations on literature, music, and pop culture. If you like this cup of tea, it's brewed about the same as the last one. But Bruen, a writer of talent and originality, has yet to push himself to the next level. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

The stories grab you and you can't put them down!
Echo2
His struggles to overcome that guilt, and his constant battle with the desire to drink, are part and parcel of this excellent story.
Frank J. Konopka
The plot is pretty minimal and devoid of suspense or surprise, and is really just an excuse to hang the story on.
scifiguy57

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on May 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not that further proof was needed, but "Priest", Ken Bruen's latest apologies-be-damned journey into Hell, is additional evidence that if he is not the most talented writer of crime fiction today, he is certainly the most uninhibited. Not unlike Bruen's paradoxical hero Jack Taylor, who is as comfortable reading classic fiction in the library as he is bashing in an adversary's head with a hurley stick, Bruen's jagged, stripped down Irish prose, rendered with a chainsaw, contradicts its poetic appeal. Indeed, Ireland's classic warrior poets have been reinvented in Ken Bruen and the tragic, down-on-their-luck heroes that fill his pages.

This time around, Taylor is being released from a psychiatric hospital, three years of his life lost, racked in guilt by the death of a child under his care. When a priest in Galway has been decapitated, Taylor's old nemesis, the nicotine-stained Father Malachy, swallows some pride - just barely - and enlists Taylor's help. What follows is a painfully graphic tale of pederasty in the Catholic Church, a gut-ripping expose covering tainted ground where few writers dare to tread. But despite the reprehensible central theme, life actually begins to start looking up for recovering alcoholic Taylor. Mrs. Bailey, his beloved landlady, has passed away during his incarceration, leaving to Jack an apartment and small inheritance. His always-combatant relationship with "Ridge", the lesbian cop of Ireland's Ban Guarda, shows signs of softening. And then Cody, a young investigator wannabe who's been admiring Jack from afar and drops into his life and, to Jack's initial dismay, is soon more of a son than a partner.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ken Bruen's plots aren't why I read his Jack Taylor series. It's rather the atmosphere that Bruen has, over the Jack Taylor series, created memorably. The plot, as before, is not all that surprising, even for me. And the "Galway noir" installments are the only mysteries I read right upon their publication.

At this stage, the fifth book on, many familiar elements: ex-Garda Jack struggles not to go back to the bottle. Old friends die or despise him. He has fallen away from his brief bout of seeking inspiration in his faith, and Fr Malachy, more nicotine ravaged than ever, shows up needing Jack's assistance in solving the decapitation of a pedophile priest, apparently at the hands of one of his victims, decades later. This is the main plot. Jack also seeks out forgiveness from the parents of Serena May, Cathy and Jeff, whose family's tragic story featured in the previous book, 'The Dramatist'.

A secondary thread follows Jack's former colleague from the Guards, Ban Gharda Ní Iomaire, or Ridge as Jack insists on anglicizing her surname, as she is stalked. Cody, a young man who wants Jack to employ him as his fellow investigator into the stalking, predictably complicates Jack's efforts to get his life on track and deal with the sudden good fortune of choosing from three places to live in rapidly yuppified, gentrified, and stratified Galway city. He still buys his clothes, always with the price included by Bruen (!) from the charity shop Age Concern...an appropriate name for Jack as he battles with his fragile condition in his fifth decade of struggle physical and personal.

This aspect provides for me the most poignant part of the book. With each chapter preceded by a mordant excerpt from Blaise Pascal's "Pensees," the existential despair Jack fights against darkens.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on August 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Little did I realize when I picked up my first Ken Bruen book, The Guards, back in the middle of April that I was going to have read three others of his by the middle of July. But that's exactly what has happened. Initially I was fascinated by the way that Bruen paid homage to many of my favorite American Noir writers of the past by using a writing style so similar to theirs and by including quotes from many of them in his books. But after reading another Jack Taylor story in Bruen's Calibre I started to wonder if too much of a good thing was going to grow a bit old. As I was soon to learn, there was no need to worry about that because Bruen lightened up on all the direct references to those writers of the forties and fifties and really hit his stride with the next Taylor novel, The Dramatist. Now, with Priest, Bruen has placed himself solidly on the watch list I keep to make sure that I don't miss any new work of certain writers.

Fans of Bruen's Jack Taylor novels will probably notice that I didn't mention The Magdalen Martyrs, an earlier book in the series. I almost always read "series fiction" in the order in which it is written but I somehow missed that one when its turn came. But it is on my shelves waiting for me now.

The beginning of Priest finds Jack Taylor confined to the mental hospital he ended up in as a result of the shocking tragedy that ended The Dramatist. Having lost all will to live, and preferring to drink himself to death, Jack still somehow managed to stay away from the booze before being locked up for his own good. Now he is being released just in time to find that his old friends have not fared well during his five months in the institution and that he barely recognizes the Ireland in which he lives.
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