Thursday, September 23, 2010

THE DEVIL by Ken Bruen

I don't know what to say about this book.

Jack Taylor's world becomes more and more insane.  Taylor investigates the satanic murders of several people, including young women.

Many strange, inexplicable things happen. There are mutilated animals, black candles, photographs taken which don't come out though the other pictures on the roll do.

The one institution that could battle the kind of evil Taylor faces has given itself over to evil.  Taylor talks several times about the brutality of the Roman Catholic nuns and the Christian Brothers. 

Even the few people in the church who seem to understand, who seem to be living according to eternal values, end up being overwhelmed or committing suicide.

Taylor is almost friendless and alone.  The few who remain with him are brutalized when they try to help him.

The only fictional character I've ever known who is even close to Taylor is Easy Rawlins.  And we all remember what happened to Easy Rawlins.

Even when Jack Taylor does what he knows he has to do, he does it not knowing whether it is the right thing to do or whether it is what the devil wants. 

Taylor can't destroy the evil he is forced to deal with.  The same evil rises up in other places, among other people.  It is not the kind of evil created to heighten the tension in the book.  It is evil in the very fabric of the world.

We have a friend who is a retired auditor. He worked for a large insurance company. 

I visited with him in the last few days.  He talked about what happened in the world economy to destroy so many lives and livings. 

Taylor talks about that too.  It is a part of the evil, satan's evil, which is built into the fabric of his world.  That evil is bundled in derivatives. The evil is seen in the growing gap between the obscenely wealthy and the brutally poor. The evil is seen in brutal rapes and murders.  It is seen in the evilfication of the church and of the other institutions most equipped to struggle with the devil.

My friend told me in anger, "I don't understand why all those corporate crooks haven't gone to jail."

The Jack Taylor books emanate from Jack's deteriorating mind. They embody evil in a way few mystery stories do, not for the purpose of creating noir, but because the writer understands something about the corruption woven into the fabric of the world.

No wonder Jack is so addicted and confused.  It is a testimony to his goodness and his stubbornness that he can bring some form of justice to his twisted world.


Naomi Johnson said...

"...evil in the very fabric of the world." What a great line, and how very much to the point.

I love your discussion of this book, and how you've tied it to the reality so many of us live.

Joe Barone said...

Thanks. For those who have tried to write novels, reading Ken Bruen is a humbling experience. He is about as honest as it gets.

pattinase (abbott) said...

His books are special, although often tough to read because of the world he travels in. Which is our world, I guess.

Joe Barone said...

His books are special! For me right now, his Jack Taylor books are about as special as it gets.