In honour of "Irish Christmas" this week, I decided to review the best book by my favorite Irish author: Ken Bruen. If you have never read Bruen, you are in for a treat; he writes dark, lyrical, crime poetry. If those things seem to clash, and trust me - they do, it is all for the better. His books are a breakneck jaunt through a tormented, post IRA Ireland as seen through the eyes of his intrepid hero Jack Taylor. Taylor, a book-loving, drunk, former police officer, solves crimes as Ireland's version of a PI: in between totally destroying his life with drink and horrible deeds.
The books are sparse and the writing lyrically beautiful. Bruen does not waste a single word.
In The Killing of the Tinkers Taylor is asked by an outcast gypsy community to figure out who is brutally murdering their residents. He finds acceptance amongst them, destroys it, then lays the path for a staggering twist that gets him deeply indebted to the local crime chieftan. While reading this book, it is difficult to find time to exhale - let alone draw breath. It is a fast and furious read that can be demolished in a couple of days. Bruen's books may be lightweight when it comes to word count but are deep on meaning (the man has been nominated multiple times for the Edgar Award).
Bruen's take on Irish Noir has catapulted him to the top of the crime writers stratosphere and he has written seven Jack Taylor books thus far, each driving deeper and and deeper into the darkness of modern Ireland.