cover image The Ghosts of Galway: A Jack Taylor Novel

The Ghosts of Galway: A Jack Taylor Novel

Ken Bruen. Mysterious, $25 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2733-4

Jack Taylor, Bruen’s perennially tortured protagonist, suffers new levels of angst in his 13th noir outing (after 2016’s The Emerald Lie). Recovering from a failed suicide attempt after a mistaken diagnosis of terminal cancer, Taylor is trying to live the quiet life in Galway, working as a security guard and looking after his dog, Storm. Trouble, however, has a way of finding him. When his boss offers him a job searching for The Red Book, a lost heretical text apparently in the possession of an ex-priest hiding in Ireland, Taylor initially scoffs at the “Dan Brown lite” scheme, but he needs the money and ultimately accepts. Meanwhile, a series of slain animals are found in Galway’s Eyre Square accompanied by cryptic notes left by an ultra–right-wing group that aims to return to an earlier era of conservative religion. When Emily, the chameleonlike sociopath who’s flitted in and out of Jack’s life, turns out to be mixed up in the plot, things get really nasty. Bruen is in top form, and, although everything Taylor touches seems to turn to ash, he embodies such humanity that readers will be unable to resist rooting for him. Agent: Lukas Ortiz, Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency. (Nov.)