From Publishers Weekly
At the start of Edgar-finalist Bruen's lean seventh Jack Taylor novel, the aging, alcoholic Irish ex-cop, who moved to the U.S. in 2008's The Cross
, knows he really ought to be in America, but he's staying in Galway because his old police partner, Ridge, has developed breast cancer. Meanwhile, he's received a shopping list of intended victims—two guards, one nun, one judge and one child—from the mysterious Benedictus. One is already dead, killed in an unfortunate hit and run, according to Superintendent Clancy, Taylor's best friend from years earlier on the force, who dismisses Taylor's fear that a serial killer is on the loose. Bruen's trademark terse style is more perfunctory than not, and parts of the narrative read like an outline, as shown by previous cases synopsized in quick asides. Taylor confronts the unlikely killer in what is a less than convincing showdown. Still, series fans should follow Taylor's current fall off the wagon, suffused by the mellow glow of Xanax, with the usual passionate interest. (May)
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Soul-sick former Garda detective Jack Taylor is ready to move to America. Nearly everyone he ever cared about is dead. Former friends despise him. Even a letter from an apparent psycho threatening the lives of cops, a nun, a judge, and a child can’t change his plans. But when Ridge, his former partner, is diagnosed with cancer, he stays to support her: “It’s God’s own vicious joke, the only woman I managed to keep in my life was gay.” Eventually, Taylor rouses himself to find the killer, but only after another 150-page howl of anguish at his own failings, the “new Ireland,” priests, the smoking ban in pubs, et al. Along the way, he is brutally beaten on the order of his former friend, the Garda superintendent, and he falls off the wagon. (After two lost weeks, his recovery regimen is 10 drinks a day and a Xanax.) Taylor’s howl is corrosively funny and filled with insights into modern Ireland, but the resolution is perfunctory, just as it was in Cross (2008). Fans of the Taylor series may wonder if they’ve already read this one. --Thomas Gaughan