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Headstone (Jack Taylor Novel of Terror (Hardcover)) Hardcover – October 4, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
Book 9 of 10 in the Jack Taylor Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Headstone

“Hard hitting ... a remarkable series.”—Publishers Weekly

“Headstone is an excellent addition to the Jack Taylor series.”—Philadelphia Inquirer

“Ken Bruen is brilliant. While HEADSTONE is the stuff of nightmares, it is also the stuff of redemption, even at great cost. You will feel wrung out after reading this one, but all the gladder for it.”—Bookreporter

“Headstone is one of the year's best reading pleasures.”—Crime Fiction Dossier

“Bruen is threatening to become a mass cult figure in the U.S. as well as a critical favorite.”—Allen Barra, The Atlantic

“A nonstop rampage of intrigue, mayhem, lunacy and dark-dark-dark humor.”—Shelf Awareness

"Bruen's voice is unmistakable: finely chiseled paragraphs that more closely resemble verse than prose. . . . Bleaker than David Goodis, colder than Derek Raymond, and funnier and more violent than Richard Stark, Ken Bruen is among the most original and innovative noir voices of the last two decades."—Los Angeles Review of Books

“A welcome entry. B+.”—Avid Mystery Reader

About the Author

Ken Bruen has been a finalist for the Edgar and Anthony Awards, and has won a Macavity Award, a Barry Award, and two Shamus Awards for the Jack Taylor series. He is also the author of the Inspector Brant series. Several of Bruen's novels have been adapted for the screen: The first six Jack Taylor novels were adapted into a television series starring Iain Glen; "Blitz" was adapted into a movie starring Jason Statham; and "London Boulevard" was adapted into a film starring Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley. Bruen lives in Galway, Ireland.
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Product Details

  • Series: Jack Taylor Novel of Terror (Hardcover)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; First Edition edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780802126009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802126009
  • ASIN: 0802126006
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Montgomery VINE VOICE on October 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I once called Ken Bruen "the dark poet of contemporary noir" (yes, I'm quoting myself -- sue me) and his latest novel, Headstone, confirms that his status is unchallenged. This is a fascinating, powerful and, yes, dark crime novel that only enhances Bruen's already amazing reputation.

Irish private eye Jack Taylor is back for his ninth go-round with demons both natural and otherwise. A gang of young thugs is preying on some of Galway's innocents, and Taylor takes it on himself to stop them.

Headstone is typical of the series. The plot is straightforward, but elegantly wrought. It's violent, but not bloody. The prose is beautiful, idiosyncratic and evocative. As always, Bruen's style is uniquely his own. Nobody else can write like this and they'd be crazy to try.

Venerable editor and bookseller Otto Penzler could not have chosen a better novel with which to relaunch the Mysterious Press, his publishing imprint now located at Grove/Atlantic. Headstone is one of the year's best reading pleasures.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As with all of Bruen's works, this one was a page turner; so much so that as i started it on a short plane trip, i stayed at the airport to finish and missed a connection, but it was well worth it. Taylor's best days are past, but he still can whoop a** and Bruen can still make me laugh until i cry. Well done Mr. Bruen!
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Format: Hardcover
Bruen's iconic Irishman, Jack Taylor, PI, is a colorful rogue, a drunk who has weathered the incongruencies of his own life and collected his share of enemies. Knocking back his whiskey of choice, Taylor provides no end of insights into Irish culture, troubled history and the pervasive influence of Holy Mother Church on the population. For all the enemies he has made along the way- and they are many and bitter- Jack remains the go-to investigator, formerly on the force, whose wily methods and willingness to do harm when necessary brings results. In Headstone, Jack's associate, former drug-dealer and current Zen practitioner Stewart and Garda Ridge, a lesbian in a marriage of convenience with little hope of career promotion, appear to be the only constants in a ruined life, but even they are frequently driven to distraction by the incorrigible Taylor and his destructive ways.

His past littered with losses, Jack is temporarily euphoric, filled with hope for the first time in years awaiting the arrival of a lady he has met in England when a threat from a violent group targeting society's weakest citizens suggests serious troubling brewing, violence that will include Taylor, Ridge and Stewart as collateral. But Jack is sidetracked by a lucrative finder's fee earned from a cold-eyed prelate that ends tragically. Likewise, hiss efforts to save a friend's daughter from a greedy spouse turn sour in the light of day, Jack reeling with outrage and betrayal. Then Taylor is trapped in a nightmare, proof of the limitless cruelties of God's creatures. Splayed across a headstone by the evil cult, Jack is given a lesson by some nasty individuals, one of whom holds a serious grudge against him, Garda Ridge and Stewart in imminent danger as well, serious wrongs to be avenged.
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Format: Paperback
Have heard a lot about Bruen and decided to give him a shot. I like noir - Ellroy, Vachss, those guys. There's a sameness to your typical noir hero/antihero, and I'd say Jack Taylor fits that mold. There's not too much of a story here, just a major plot surrounding a few Columbine types (but in Galway, Ireland) and some treacherous priests stealing from the Church's coffers. Also, of course, plenty of betrayals, beating, torture...the works, though Bruen, to his credit, lets the torture be imagined. I think as a writer, he's smart enough to know that long, lingering portrayals of such things move your work into the discreditable realm of torture porn, and if there's one thing that Jack Taylor/Ken Bruen have, it's respect for the written word and for detective fiction. While I enjoyed the book (though "enjoy" might be too strong a term, and I'll probably read more, I didn't quite take to Jack the way I have to Vachss' Burke and some of the other hard-boiled greats. Also, there is a very quirky bit of typesetting in this book - there are no paragraph indents. It is odd, and I can't see a reason for it; some say Bruen's prose is poetic, and sometimes it is. But typesetting a novel as if it were a poem - I just couldn't buy that, though clearly it didn't stop me from reading the book. By the end of the book, with all the maiming that's been done of Jack over previous books (I don't know details, but could pick up bits and pieces of the backstory here and there), I think he's ending up like Smilla at the end of SMILLA'S SENSE OF SNOW, where she's basically held together by band-aids and willpower. Ken Bruen's a talent - and if you like your books dark, I think you'll like this one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read my first Ken Bruen/Jack Taylor book after watching the Jack Taylor TV series. I was not disappointed. Like all his others, Headstone is filled with humor, great quotations, fine writing, and a detective with enough character flaws to satisfy any reader. Add to this that Ken Bruen makes Galway come to life as another flawed character, and Bruen has a winner ... again.
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