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Purgatory (Jack Taylor Novel) Hardcover – November 4, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Edgar-finalist Bruen's excellent 10th Jack Taylor novel (after 2011's Headstone) finds the Irish PI looking upon the sights of Galway with now-sober if ever-wistful eyes—but a serial killer wants him to come out and play. Signing invitations to Jack as C33, the mysterious figure inflicts vigilante justice on other murderers and scumbags. A Dexter with an Irish lilt... C33 had honed the art of reprisal in the States, an equal killer land of opportunity. For once, with a possible new woman in his life, Jack isn't interested, and stays aloof from the crimes, much like a soul lost in purgatory. But when his former drug-dealer friend, Stewart, picks up the challenge, all hell breaks loose. Bruen maintains his trademark hip references and highly poetic style, but fans expecting the usual are in for some shock therapy, as he busts out one series-changing surprise after another. Agent: Lukas Ortiz, Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency. (Nov.)

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Unusually flush, sober, and settled into a new apartment stocked to the gills with books, Jack Taylor is no longer entertaining requests to hunt Galway’s disappeared, identify the tormenters of its marginalized, or root out authoritarian abusers. But Jack’s reputation as the man who’ll deliver some manner of truth and justice stands, and he’ll not walk away from Galway’s darkness easily. C33, a vigilante killing criminals who have escaped legal justice through technicalities, seems to think Jack is a suitable playmate. Dropping Jack a note about the latest killing, C33 identifies the next mark and signs off with, “Your turn.” Despite the challenge, Jack hopes to avoid jumping back into the mix and sets his ally Stewart on C33’s heels. In the meantime, Jack becomes entangled with Reardon, a crazy surfer mogul snatching up parts of Galway. Throughout, Jack’s brutal inner voice shouts dire predictions as his attempts to avoid past mistakes lead to disasters for his friends and a hunt for the killer he’s foolishly dismissed. Bruen’s storytelling style, a stream-of-consciousness mix of prose and verse, strips away Galway’s tourist-board facade and offers a darkly comic social commentary. Jack Taylor tales don’t end well; that’s just not the life our Jack’s living. But Bruen always respects his characters, and they end right. Noir fans will find exactly what they love here. Note to RA librarians looking for links: The BBC series Jack, based on the Jack Taylor series, is now available in the U.S., and it’s almost as good as the books. --Christine Tran
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Product Details

  • Series: Jack Taylor Novel
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; First Edition edition (November 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802126073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802126078
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By the GreatReads! TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Purgatory by Ken Bruen is #10 in the Jack Taylor gritty adventure series, and, perhaps, the best novel of the series. The protagonist is an ex-cop from the Galway Guard struggling with a horde of addictions, and has finally managed to kick the myriad substances that have had a stranglehold over his painful life. But he has a few friends, only Stewart, a drug dealer turned Zen master, and Ridge, a tough and an unlikely gay sergeant of the Guard comes to mind.

Purgatory is not your ordinary novel. It is also the story of a serial vigilante killer, on the prowl, watching and waiting, to rid Galway of its filths and impurities. Using the signature “C33” he sends a note to Jack Taylor “now your turn” in a gamble to nudge him to join his mission against criminals freed by the court with the help of shady lawyers.

Jack entrust his friend Stewart to unravel the C33 mystery while he pursue the case of an employee of Reardon, an expat dot-com American billionaire, who is suspected of passing on information to others. Reardon is on buying spree, buying off all the depression-hit property in the city. Jack is mixing work with pleasure in the form of Reardon’s attractive assistant, Kelly. But can Jack enjoy himself while his friend ridge is beaten nearly to death? Things are not what they seem to be as Jack soon finds out. It is more complex than he earlier imagined it to be.

Purgatory by Ken Bruen is fast-paced, exhilarating and immensely enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By d70sfan on January 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Purgatory" is the latest in Ken Bruen's long-running "Galway noir" series featuring ex-Garda turned sometime private investigator Jack Taylor. Fans of the series know Bruen's (anti) hero is deeply flawed, a chain-smoking, drug-abusing drunk who sees himself and the world around him with clarity, black humor, and more than a little self-loathing.

The Taylor series is strong stuff: violent and sometimes downright vicious, sparsely written in a voice bordering on poetry, and that's part of the problem with "Purgatory" -- the lyrical prose that is a hallmark of Bruen's remarkable style is muted here, undermined by a patched-together plot by a writer who seems tired of the series and its characters. Perhaps part of the problem is that for much of the book, Taylor is sober, off drugs, and not smoking and not particularly liking how he feels. Regardless, the book feels like the first half of a two-parter aiming to bring the series to a close. If that's right, let's hope the second half finishes stronger.

If you have not read Bruen before, I urge you not to start with "Purgatory," which isn't Bruen or Taylor at their best. That said, even less than top-notch work by Ken Bruen is far better than most.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Thompson on July 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
You know what they say in Murder, She Wrote circles - "Stay away from Cabot Cove and Jessica Fletcher, or you'll end up dead." The same might be said of Jack Taylor and Galway, Ireland. You definitely don't want to befriend, bed, or even chat with Jack Taylor on the street, because you might as well sign your own death warrant.

Purgatory picks up where Headstone left off. I'm still enjoying this series, though I'm starting to think Bruen might be getting a little bored with it. He's always had story arcs that go from book to book, but this one seems a little cheesy in the way it doesn't resolve much so that it can set up a sequel. For the record, I hate books that do that, but I like Ken Bruen, so I'll let this one slide.

There's the usual angst, drinking, and drugging. Ridge seems to have mellowed a tad (unfortunately - I've always liked her wioth piss and vinegar), and Bruen takes aim at an unctuous lawyer in this one, who really is too easy a target for someone of Bruen's talent. The plot here seems more contrived than usual, and I found myself wishing that Bruen was better with structuring his stories - he'll change point of view in the middle of a chapter, and the effect can be jarring. Why he doesn't signal this with a new chapter is a mystery to me, but hey, he's the writer and he can do what he wants.

I think you probably either like Bruen and Jack Taylor or you don't, and I do. My usual reaction to Jack is to feel for him, for his messed up family background, his bad decisions, his attempt to do the right thing (but often in the wrong way). This time around I felt like he was losing his self-respect (and some of mine).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Davie on May 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Tenth in the Jack Taylor mystery series about an ex-Garda private investigator who lives in Galway, Ireland.

My Take
This is a stroll down memory lane, looking back over past cases and events, and per usual, Bruen includes an increasing selection of book titles…and I’m adding to my TBR as well as my TBV---to be viewed.

I felt a detachment in reading this, as if everyone were simply going through the motions. A few loose threads in this including what Reardon is up to in this. What happened with Westbury’s daughter? ‘Cause I can’t see him allowing anyone to get away with hurting her! Once you learn who C33 is, you’ll wonder at the choices this vigilante has made. What’s the rhyme or reason to making these choices…no…Bruen did provide the clue to this one as I think on it. But I still have to wonder because such a person doesn’t normally make choices for other people’s good.

This was definitely an odd one. More disconnected than the earlier nine Jack Taylors and possibly a reflection on Jack’s sudden sobriety. Yeah, can you believe it? No drugs, no booze, no smokes. Strangely enough, for all its disjointed words, it was a relatively easy follow. One I wish I had avoided. I just can’t bear it, especially with that bloody ending Bruen has left us hanging with. What the hell!!?! All I can say is…Bruen better get on with book 11 and either finish me off or allow me to sigh with relief, for there’s just too much loss. A loss that I suspect will suddenly hit me in the middle of the night and leave me weeping.

Part of me wonders if Stewart undertook this task because he’s missing Jack’s usual modus operandi. NOT that I’m saying any of this is Jack’s fault.
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