Monday, November 28, 2011



“For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. . . .” (Romans 3:22-23, NRSV, in part).
------
In Headstone, Ken Bruen never quotes Paul’s words from Romans, but Bruen’s book illustrates the Scripture.

Reading Ken Bruen is like reading brutal poetry. He writes that well.

Jack Taylor takes on a megalomaniac. The young man and his entranced followers plan a community-changing mass murder. They prepare with individual murders. They mutilate Jack, toy with him, change his life forever.

Jack takes on several cases. He is swimming in money, most of it tainted.

As usual with Jack Taylor, the book seethes with anger at the abuses of the Irish Roman Catholic Church. It also acknowledges that occasionally the church helps people touch the face of God. Even Jack lights the church's candles and puts large sums of money in the poor box.

Jack Taylor faces what is happening with his usual mix of drive and addiction. Most of what happens in Jack’s world is clearly evil. Very little is good.

Jack loses the only hope he has had since he babysat a young Down's syndrome child. He suffers physically and psychologically. He kills several people. It doesn’t pay to be Jack’s friend.

The Ken Bruen-Jack Taylor books are the best of all the books I read. Headstone continues the tradition.

4 comments:

Naomi Johnson said...

This book has been sitting on my shelf since it was released. I can't believe my life is so topsy-turvy that I haven't made time to read Ken Bruen!

Joe Barone said...

You will get to it and when you do, I suspect you will find it the same high quality Bruen.

I will be forever grateful to Corey for leading me to Ken Bruen.

Anonymous said...

I discovered him with Calibre. When it came from the library, it was not a friendly little cozy. He had me hooked at the first sentence about shinola, (I laughed and laughed) then next page with lists of authors. I thought, who writes like this? Well, Bruen does. And I'll be happy to read every list. Thanks for your review, always good to see what you have to say.
Michel

Joe Barone said...

Michel,
I think Ken Bruen illustrates how important clear, powerful writing is. By that I mean choosing words that pull no punches. As I see it, he is just a great writer.