George V. Reilly

Review: The Guards

The Guards
Title: The Guards
Author: Ken Bruen
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur
Copyright: 2001
Pages: 291
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 21-22 April, 2007

A gritty noir set in the western Irish city of Galway. Jack Taylor used to be in the guards (police) as a young man, but nowadays he’s usually found at the bottom of a bottle. He makes a little money by finding things. One day, a distraught mother asks him to prove that her teenaged daughter did not commit suicide. He is reluctant to take the case, fearing (rightly) that it will require too much of him. Jack struggles mightily with his alcoholism, and both the case and his drinking take a toll on him and his network of friends.

Terse and at­mos­pher­ic, Bruen conjures up a Galway that is half gone, of old-fashioned pubs and dingy travelers’ hotels threatened by the changes wrought by the Celtic Tiger.

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