“They don’t come much tougher than Ken Bruen’s Irish roughneck, Jack Taylor, a man with bad habits who does good despite himself.”―Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
Ex-cop-turned-PI Jack Taylor has finally escaped the despair of his violent life in Galway in favor of a quiet retirement in the country with his friend, a former Rolling Stones roadie, and a falcon named Maeve. But on a day trip back into the city to sort out his affairs, Jack is hit by a truck in front of Galway’s Famine Memorial, left in a coma but mysteriously without a scratch on him.
When he awakens weeks later, he finds Ireland in a frenzy over the so-called “Miracle of Galway.” People have become convinced that the two children spotted tending to him are saintly, and the site of the accident sacred. The Catholic Church isn’t so sure, and Jack is commissioned to help find the children to verify the miracle—or expose the stunt.
But Jack isn’t the only one looking for these children, and he’s about to plunge into a case involving an order of nuns, an arsonist, and a girl who may be more manipulative than miraculous. From the multiple Shamus Award winner known as “the Godfather of the modern Irish crime novel” (Irish Independent), this is a hard-edged, ceaselessly suspenseful mystery in the popular long-running series.
“A Celtic Dashiell Hammett.”—Philadephia Inquirer
At the start of Edgar finalist Bruen's overly busy 16th Jack Taylor novel (after 2019's Galway Girl), the former Garda and Galway PI is struck by a truck and ends up comatose in a hospital. Upon awakening weeks later, he finds Galway obsessed with miracles after the Virgin Mary seems to have appeared to a pair of refugee children on the city's waterfront. (That Jack comes out of his coma with no mental confusion or lasting physical damage is deemed another miracle.) When the "miracle children" disappear, the resulting public clamor leads a skeptical representative of the Vatican investigating the miracle to commission Jack to find the children. Meanwhile, a number of other cases a California con artist, a cyberbully, a homicidal serial arsonist, and more demand his attention. Throughout it all, Jack, disillusioned and angry at the world, struggles to pull himself together after his daughter's murder in Galway Girl, but the violent conclusion leaves him in a darker place than ever. The sheer number of individual plot threads means that none are fully developed, and their resolutions come too easily. The result is a readable but not particularly memorable entry in an otherwise strong series.