cover image Priest


Ken Bruen, . . St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95 (290pp) ISBN 978-0-312-34140-4

Recovered from incapacitating guilt over the death of a child on his watch, Jack Taylor is released from the loony bin at the start of Shamus-winner Bruen's searing fifth book about the alcoholic Galwegian ex-cop (after 2006's The Dramatist ). Jack's friend Nio "Ridge" Iomaire picks him up from the hospital and mentions the gory headlines: a pedophilic priest, Father Joyce, was beheaded. At the request of another frightened priest, Jack launches an unofficial investigation with the assistance of an eager, younger partner, Cody. All the while fighting his constant ache for a drink, the maverick PI also helps Ridge ward off a stalker. Jack is a keen and literary narrator, and Bruen's latest Irish noir makes for a kind of savage poetry, at once exhausting and exhilarating. Bruen has been a finalist for Edgar, Anthony and Barry awards. (Mar.)