cover image The Emerald Lie: A Jack Taylor Novel

The Emerald Lie: A Jack Taylor Novel

Ken Bruen. Mysterious, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2546-0

Brooding thoughts of suicide and loss haunt Jack Taylor in Irish author Bruen’s desultory 12th novel featuring the Galway PI and former Garda officer (after 2015’s Green Hell). Of course, Jack is also preoccupied with lists of the authors he has been reading, the music he listens to, and the TV shows he binge watches. The main menace this round may be the Grammarian, who kills over gaffes in speech. But a side trip to London puts Jack in the sphere of another criminal with an interest in young children. Series regulars such as the deadly Emily/Emerald and Sergeant Ridge, a former police colleague of Jack’s, make the scene, though Galway and its living history trumps the players that strut across the stage. With his easy episodic survey of the moment-to-moment in Jack’s life—each sip of Jameson, every walking of the dog, the sudden beatings and murders—Bruen remains on the mountaintop of contemporary Irish noir. Sprightly, elliptical prose is a plus (“the ubiquitous McDonald’s bag. In my time, weapons are always delivered thus”). Agent: Lukas Ortiz, Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency. (Sept.)