Seems impossible, but Jack Taylor is sober---off booze, pills, powder, and nearly off cigarettes, too. The main reason he's been able to keep clean: his dealer's in jail, which leaves Jack without a source. When that dealer calls him to Dublin and asks a favor in the soiled, sordid visiting room of Mountjoy Prison, Jack wants to tell him to take a flying leap. But he doesn't, can't, because the dealer's sister is dead, and the guards have called it "death by misadventure."
The dealer knows that can't be true and begs Jack to have a look, check around, see what he can find out. It's exactly what Jack does, with varying levels of success, to make a living. But he's reluctant, maybe because of who's asking or maybe because of the bad feeling growing in his gut.
Never one to give in to bad feelings or common sense, Jack agrees to the favor, though he can't possibly know the shocking, deadly consequences he has set in motion. But he and everyone he holds dear will find out soon, sooner than anyone knows, in The Dramatist, the lean and lethal fourth entry in Ken Bruen's award-winning Jack Taylor series.
Last seen in Bruen's The Magdalen Martyrs (2004), Irish detective Jack Taylor is sober and hating it in his stellar fourth outing. Things are looking up for the well-worn detective at least until the apparently accidental death of the sister of his drug dealer, who's now in jail. As Taylor pursues the well-read killer in Dublin, he gets involved in the life of an old flame, Ann Henderson, and her abusive husband. A group of shadowy pike-wielding vigilantes adds extra spice to the mix. By now, readers know the Bruen formula of the downward spiral, but there's no denying the effectiveness of the tough dialogue, the crisp scenes and Taylor's weary, crumpled-jacket appeal. Nor can many writers in any genre evoke a seedy urban Ireland as well as Bruen. Few, too, can continue to deliver interesting stories and even more interesting character studies. With a riveting mystery and a deftly rendered protagonist, Bruen recaptures the immediacy and the impact of the first two novels in the series (The Guards and The Killing of the Tinkers).