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Three Hiburnian noir tales...about a Galway gumshoe.....
on September 28, 2013
When Jack Taylor (Iain Glen) puts on his stolen regulation double-breasted Garda coat with the brass buttons, watch out! Jack Taylor is Ken Bruen's fictional detective/private eye/finder. He has been dismissed from the Garda Síochána (Irish police) and is now finding things for people in Galway, Ireland. The Irish call their gumshoes "finders" since "private eye" sounds too much like "informer"...
Three 90-minute films are in this first collection: they were filmed in 2010-2011 and directed by Stuart Orme.
"The Guards" introduces Jack Taylor and is based on the debut series novel by Ken Bruen. After his dismissal from the Garda, Taylor finds refuge in a local boarding house and frequents a nearby pub. A worried mother hires him to find her missing 18-year-old daughter after a series of apparent suicides have left four young girls drugged and drowned in Galway Bay. Taylor receives some assistance from a fellow Garda named Kate Noonan and Superintendent Clancy (Frank O'Sullivan).
"The Pikemen" is a yarn written in Bruen's Hibernian noir style and characterization. It is a typical vigilante story about eight men who wear black hoods, kill with pikes, and have a twisted sense of who deserves to live and who deserves to die. The story includes a naïve young man Cody Farraher who sees Jack as a hero, the best "finder" in western Ireland. Taylor is arrested on suspicion of murdering a local businessman and is forced to rely on Cody to help clear his name.
"The Magdalen Martyrs" returns to Bruen's gritty and brutal storytelling and is adapted from his novel of the same name. Taylor (with Cody's help) is hired to look into past abuses at the infamous Magdalen laundry, the city's home for "wayward girls." The daughter of a former inmate wants him to track down a woman called "Lucifer"...a particularly brutal nun who worked there in the 1960s. Jack discovers a 50-year-old family secret that leads him to the nun's identity and an unexpected connection to the recent deaths of two brothers.
Jack Taylor in the Bruen books is a loner...just an alcoholic Galway gumshoe who finds tinkers and Mary Magdalen's and flops often in his room at a local boarding house. Iain Glen, although a Scotsman, gets his t'inks and t'anks pronounced in good Irish fashion and, thanks to other surrounding cast members, portrays Taylor well. The addition of young Cody Farraher (Killian Scott) and beautiful wide-eyed Garda Kate Noonan (Nora-Jane Noone) as regulars in the series is very nice. Even Mrs. Bailey, the owner of the boarding house and an example of the "old school of Galway charm," softens our intrepid ex-Garda loner.
Galwegian Ken Bruen sets his Jack Taylor books smack in the middle of Galway, Ireland. The settings of the television productions purport to be Ireland but are filmed a goodly bit in Bremen, Germany. Jack does not sober up and wander down to the Great Southern Hotel (now the Meyrick Hotel) near Eyre Square nor to the greatest bookstore in the world (Kenny's) around the corner on High Street. But many of the scenes are filmed in Galway's Claddagh area where the Corrib River runs into Galway Bay and are spectacular.
Fortunately, the third film in this collection is pure Bruen...and the dialogue is sharp, swift, and blackly comic. Too bad one has to sit through three hours of introduction and a boring vigilante tale to discover the "real" Bruen. But stay tuned and prepare to download the next two installments of the true Jack Taylor films based on the novels: THE PRIEST and THE DRAMATIST were both released in the UK by Acorn productions in March of 2013 and should be available on Amazon USA shortly.