“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.