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In the Galway Silence: A Jack Taylor Novel


In the Galway Silence: A Jack Taylor Novel

I have a spiral notebook dedicated to Ken Bruen where I take notes on his books. I don’t write down the plots, which are memorable in themselves. Rather, his Jack Taylor novels (and a number of his other works as well) contain an encyclopedic range of quotations, reading suggestions, music references and other pop culture nuggets that are all worth seeking out and sampling. Regardless of how well-read you may be, he will lead you to something new and startling.

Bruen has a distinctive style, comprised of both short and run-on sentences that dip and swirl throughout Jack’s first-person past tense narrative. That worthy text is not a stream-of-consciousness technique, but occasionally comes close. Without warning, Jack will veer off the page into a tangent (always an interesting one) that may consist of a story from the past, a list of favorite books, or reminiscing over an old flame. The result is that one never knows what is going to happen next from the beginning of the book to the end. Sometimes there may be a vague hint or two, but it is always soaked in a general wash of foreboding.

"A stunning experience from beginning to end, IN THE GALWAY SILENCE surpasses even Bruen’s usual superlative standards."

This is particularly true with the newly published IN THE GALWAY SILENCE. The first surprise, which arrives in the opening pages, is not a bad one: Jack has money, lives in a nice apartment, is in a relationship, is (reasonably) sober and seems somewhat happy. This is unfamiliar territory for the sodden Galway private eye whose usual state has him one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. However, all of this good fortune and clean living changes when Jack is retained by Pierre Renaud to find and return the individual responsible for murdering his twin sons. He is not really inclined to do so, given that Renaud is a notorious hedge fund manager, and whoever took his sons off the table did Galway and the world a favor.

Nevertheless, Jack reluctantly immerses himself in the investigation, even as he gets wrapped up in babysitting his girlfriend’s precocious and obnoxious child and then finds himself suddenly confronted with a ghost of Christmas past bearing a gift that most assuredly was not offered by one of the Magi. Meanwhile, a vigilante assassin popularly known as Silence begins to slowly interject himself into Jack’s life with unfortunately predictable results. By story’s end, Jack is not on the precipice but is hanging close. Still, he promises --- or at least indicates --- that he will be back.

I assure you that no one other than Ken Bruen is producing books quite like this, or quite this side of wondrous. He writes like an angel, a fearsome one such as he describes here, but one that you will want to keep and have close to you in order to appreciate your quiet and blessed life. A stunning experience from beginning to end, IN THE GALWAY SILENCE surpasses even Bruen’s usual superlative standards.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on November 16, 2018

In the Galway Silence: A Jack Taylor Novel
by Ken Bruen

  • Publication Date: November 6, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press
  • ISBN-10: 0802128823
  • ISBN-13: 9780802128829