Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Guards: Ken Bruen

Jack Taylor was in the Garda Síochána (the police force of the Republic of Ireland), and thrown out because of serious problems with alcohol. He becomes, almost accidentally, a finder, a sort of private detective. The Guards is the first of the Jack Taylor novels written by Ken Bruen.

I thought I would not like this book. I resisted reading it because the subject matter was bleak and I thought it would be too dark for me. It was my husband's encouragement and recommendation that finally got me to read the book; he had heard of the book, read my copy, and liked it a lot.

I liked it too, a lot. I would venture to say it is one of my favorite reads of the year, so far.

The writing style is unique and that was another thing I thought I would not like. As my husband said in his Goodreads review: "A fast read but pay close attention as the writing style takes a bit of getting used to."

One element of the writing is frequent mentions of books, especially mystery novels, and quotes interspersed here and there, often with no apparent connection to the story. 

The mystery portion of the plot is slight. The emphasis in more on Jack, his relationships, his life, his battle with alcohol. It isn't a happy book, but it isn't depressing either.

This is what Charlie Stella said in his long and detailed review at Noir Zine (warning: lots of detail about the plot there):
What a read, what a writer! Great stuff!
I cannot say it any better.

This counts as one of my books for the following challenges:
Mt. TBR Challenge
Read Your Own Books Challenge
New Author Challenge
1st in a Series Challenge
European Reading Challenge
Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge

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