: Cross (9780312538842) : Ken Bruen : Books
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by Ken Bruen
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • Publishing date: 31/03/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780312538842
  • ISBN: 0312538847


Amazon Best of the Month, March 2008: In Cross, the sixth book in Ken Bruen's brutal and brilliant Jack Taylor series, the Galway private investigator (think a more tortured and tragic--and Irish--Jack Reacher) is on the hunt for a psychopath, while his surrogate son/mentee, victim of a shooting meant to kill Jack, lies near death in a hospital. Fair warning: even for Bruen fans, this is seriously dark stuff (the killer crucifies one victim and burns another alive), brimming with violence, guilt, and a brooding morality akin to the best of Dennis Lehane. We have been in love with Bruen's sharp, spare prose since first stumbling across The Killing of the Tinkers, and we're certain that his dark, reluctant hero will draw many a hard-boiled fan from the likes of Jim Thompson and James Ellroy, as well new favorites Charlie Huston and Duane Swierczynski. --Daphne Durham

Questions for Ken Bruen Now that you’ve been writing about him for six books, how do you approach a new Jack Taylor novel. Do you think "I'm going to make this darker and grislier than the last?"

Bruen: I mostly think about how I'm going to keep him fresh and interesting and deepen his character, I don't deliberately try to be dark, it's the way he is. What is the best thing about writing about a character like Jack Taylor? Who would win in a fight, Brant or Taylor?

Bruen: He continually surprises me and I get to see how deep the abyss can be. Brant would easily win the fight: Jack would be getting ready and Brant would just instantly take him down. Clearly you are a big reader, you reference books so often in your novels. What books or authors do you find yourself recommending to readers again and again?

Bruen: C.J. Box, Jason Starr, Daniel Woodrell, Megan Abbot, and Vicki Hendricks are among my favorites. Is there an author or artist you've read or listened to lately whose work surprised or inspired you?

Bruen: Elizabeth Zelvin is the light to Jack's dark. Craig McDonald wrote a hell of a debut. Alex Sokoloff scares the living daylights out of me. Louise Ure...she is just poetry in motion. Tom Piccirilli--the man is noir personified. Alan Flynn is going to be huge and find lots of readers outside of Scotland. If you had to give up books or music for one year which would you give up?

Bruen: Music. I can live with silence reading? Shoot me now. How would you describe your work to someone who has no idea what you do?

Bruen: Imagine terrible circumstances that will make you laugh out loud and then want to hang yourself. Best of all, when you're a writer, you can read the work with little effort; it comes over like a chat in your favorite pub. It's like a kick in the head and a blast of Jameson, no ice, with a group of friends who are going to keep you right on the edge.

(photo credit: Andrew Downes)

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  • Re-defining lousy
    From Amazon

    Jack Taylor, Bruen's potty mouthed protagonist, spends the first ninety pages preventing himself from falling off the wagon. He walks in bars, orders a Jameson and a Guinness, insults the barkeep, stares at the drinks, then walks out without drinking. The reader should feel empathy for our self absorbed hero. Characters jump in and out of his confusing narrative; always insulted by our Jack. One wonders how he survives in dear olde Galway. The weather is lousy, the hero a cad, priests are beheaded, boys get crucified, one drowns with stones in his pockets a la Virginia Woolfe; all very Grand Theft Auto played out in grunts, four letter words, insults, bewildering staccato dialogue and unbelievable characters. The jumbled plot has two fights, all other actions which one would think would enliven the non existent plot occurs by hearsay. The dusk jacket repeats the noir aspect of Bruen's books; this "noir" book puts one to sleep.

  • Jack Taylor and more misery
    From Amazon

    I feel quite sorry for Jack Taylor. Tragedy seems to follow him like one of those cartoon rain clouds that only stay over one person and continue to pour on them. Jack just can't seem to catch a break in his life. Every time he turns around, it seems, someone he knows is either seriously injured or killed. This latest book by one of my favorite authors follows Jack on another of his journeys to Calvary. His "son" dies from an assassin's bullet which may have come from the gun of an old friend, and another former Guard who begins to work for Jack is found dead in the river. There is a crucifixion, a horrific burning death, and Jack now musr wear a hearing aid! Jusr another example of growing old. In addition, Jack's female friend Ridge is waiting word on whether or not a lump she found is malignant. How much angst can one person take before cracking and returning to drinking? That's always the bottom line in these books: will Jack regress or not? We are shown the more violent side of Jack in this book, with him being on the giving end of beatings and such, rather than receiving them. This is a very well-written book, as all of Mr. Bruen's are, but the depression and darkness do tend to get one down. That being said, the reader is constantly rooting for Jack to continue to fight off his devils and try to straighten out his life. Will he succeed? Read the book and discover for yourself!

  • Just start at the first and proceed
    From Amazon

    "Cross" is the latest in the Jack Taylor series from Ken Bruen, Ireland's pre-eminent cop-noir fictionist (is that a word?). Doesn't matter, if you're not familiar with his work, I envy you. Get the first in the series and follow them through. This is Celtic Noir at its best and Bruen again delivers with a love:hate protagonist you may not like, but will certainly love. Former Guard, kicked out and persecuted for bringing bad press to Ireland's Guards (police), Taylor always manages to tick off the local constabulary while solving cases the politicos would rather be swept under the rug. Do not be fooled into the Patteron book of the same name. Just get them - all. Start at the beginning and prepare for a feast.

  • Stones in his pockets
    From Amazon

    The sixth installment in Bruen's "Galway noir" ex-Garda Jack Taylor's lonely, agitated, and despairing fight to, as he recalls, carry out justice in the alley rather than law in the courts, proves excoriating, harrowing, and satisfying. While I've liked-- if that's the word for such grim fiction-- all of the series, there was a bit of straining in recent episodes due to coincidences, unrelieved mayhem, and Jack's self-hatred. Not that these have diminished exactly in "Cross," but Bruen appears to have better insights into his protagonist's awareness of his conflicted nature. "I admitted to me own self-- a thing I hated to do-- I was scared. I was alone. Your Irish bachelor in all his pitiful glory, shabby and bitter, ruined and crumbling. With a plan." (95) Fed up with a gentrified, commodified, faux-British, and cruel Galway remade by euros and Eurotrash, Jack resolves to sell his flat and move to Florida. There's only a curious case of dognapping and a few horrific murders to solve first. As usual, his scheme to investigate, report, and abscond goes predictably awry. As always, Galway's a character along with the locals. "Summer was definitely over. The peculiar light, unique to the West of Ireland, was flooding the street-- it's a blend of brightness but always with the threat of rain, and it glistens like wet crystal even as it soothes you. The edge of darkness in creeping along the horizon and you get the feeling you better grab it while it lasts." (40-41) Such evocative prose comes rarely here, all the more to enjoy it. Eyre Square crumbles, a gay ghetto thrives nearby, a Mexican restaurant seems "very authentic," and the housing prices skyrocket despite, circa 2004, the bubble bursting for the boomtown. Guns are sold out of a van by Salthill church; it's hard to find a St. Brigid's traditional cross for sale in the religious goods shop. The pubs are always there, tempting Jack back from sobriety. This element remains one of Bruen's motifs, and he limns well the agony of the recovering alcoholic. There's fewer of his old friends that return. Often, the price of hanging out with Jack appears to be mortal. Stewart's a welcome presence; his return from his Zen retreat (in Limerick!) to encounter Jack in a rage I found the novel's best scene. It's back with combative Ridge and the irascible Father Malachy, joined by newcomer Gina, an Italian doctor, and such momentarily glimpsed but memorably drawn folks as the mother of another ex-Guard, Mrs. Heaton; King, the owner of a suspicious canned goods exporting firm; and a rather kindly-- for once-- priest, Jim. The plot, as before, has its twists and turns. Less manic than some before, and there's a growing sense of maturity and its costs upon the hard-living, brittle, and cantankerous haunted figure who pursues evil into the streets and even into the sea. The novel does not make a false turn. You'd have trouble starting in with number six in the series, however, and the narrative plunges you in right away where the last one, "Priest," left off. If you've stuck with Jack in the past, on the other hand, this well-crafted story takes you to its last sentence with flair, poignancy, and weight.

  • Another fine Bruen Mystery
    From Amazon

    Bruen spins another lyrical suspenseful tale with Jack Taylor brooding about past loss while contemplating his future. Bruen is an aquired taste mixing violence and poetry with mystery and suspense, but once you've read and appreciated one of his books you are "hooked." Jack Taylor is an intriguing complex-character capable of extreme violence and extreme feeling. Ireland comes alive in these mysteries- you can almost see the places Bruen describes. Definitely a five star book.

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