An ex-cop chases after a relic and a rogue priest: quo;They don’t come much tougher than Ken Bruen’s Irish roughneck, Jack Taylor.” –The New York Times Book Review
Jack Taylor is recovering from a mistaken medical diagnosis and a failed suicide attempt. Now that he’s going to live after all, he’s going to need money, so using his ex-Garda credentials he manages to land a job as a night-shift security guard.
But his Ukrainian boss has Jack in mind for a bit of off-the-books work. He wants Jack to find what some claim to be the first true book of heresy, the famously blasphemous “Red Book,” currently in the possession of a rogue priest hiding out in Galway after fleeing a position at the Vatican. Despite Jack’s distaste for priests of any stripe, the money is too good to turn down. Then Em, the many-faced woman who’s had a vise on Jack’s heart and mind for the past two years, reappears and turns out to be entangled with the story of the Red Book, too—leading Jack down ever more mysterious and lethal pathways—in this “dark and often hilarious” series by an author who’s won the Shamus, Macavity, and Barry Awards and been an Edgar Award finalist (Toronto Star).
“Bruen is in top form, and, although everything Taylor touches seems to turn to ash, he embodies such humanity that readers will be unable to resist rooting for him.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The most mannered prose since the glory days of James Ellroy.”—Kirkus Reviews
Jack Taylor, Bruen's perennially tortured protagonist, suffers new levels of angst in his 13th noir outing (after 2016's The Emerald Lie). Recovering from a failed suicide attempt after a mistaken diagnosis of terminal cancer, Taylor is trying to live the quiet life in Galway, working as a security guard and looking after his dog, Storm. Trouble, however, has a way of finding him. When his boss offers him a job searching for The Red Book, a lost heretical text apparently in the possession of an ex-priest hiding in Ireland, Taylor initially scoffs at the "Dan Brown lite" scheme, but he needs the money and ultimately accepts. Meanwhile, a series of slain animals are found in Galway's Eyre Square accompanied by cryptic notes left by an ultra right-wing group that aims to return to an earlier era of conservative religion. When Emily, the chameleonlike sociopath who's flitted in and out of Jack's life, turns out to be mixed up in the plot, things get really nasty. Bruen is in top form, and, although everything Taylor touches seems to turn to ash, he embodies such humanity that readers will be unable to resist rooting for him.