Priest by Ken Bruen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ex-cop Jack Taylor is back on the streets of Galway after a stint in the asylum where he landed after a young girl he was minding fell out of a window to her death. As he wanders around the city he runs into old acquaintances and new friends, trying to piece his life back together while looking into the murder of a priest whose head was found sitting in a confessional.
Ireland has changed in the early years of the new millennium. The people have money to burn, American culture is everywhere, and the Catholic church no longer holds the power and respect it once did, due in no small part to the ever-increasing number of molestation cases in the news. Taylor must navigate the cultural landscape of the new Ireland while keeping clear of crooked businessmen, amoral priests, and a sniper or two.
If you’re looking for gritty Irish noir and you don’t mind a hefty dollop of rough language, this may be the book for you. I picked it up because I liked the blurbs on the back cover, but it turns out that Bruen is an award-winning mystery author. I can see why because this book was very readable, and though it did give a lot of social commentary, which could come off as heavy-handed if it were set in the U.S., it comes off as local color because it’s set in Ireland.
Click here to visit Bruen's web site, and see more of what he has to offer.
If you’d like some contemporary noir set in America, try Harry Dolan’s Bad Things Happen.
Review by Danny Hanbery