Cross (Jack Taylor, #6) by Ken BruenKen Bruen’s Cross—the sixth outing in a series featuring Jack Taylor, an ex-Garda who moonlights as a maladroit private eye—finds our hero in the usual Galway gutter, and by book’s end, as is the pattern with this mystery series, Taylor manages to nearly claw his way out before the certain cruelty of existence kicks his teeth down his throat and sends him tumbling back into the mud and the blood and the beer. (Yes, this is my idea of pitching a book.)
Never have I ever been to Ireland, but there are certain aspects of this series that ring true to me, and is the reason I stick around despite Bruen’s sometimes spotty writing style. I don’t want to make too much out of the horrors of my Roman Catholic upbringing because I lived a nice, pleasant suburban life with parents who were decent human beings that did any-and-everything they could for me, but at the same time I completely understand the deep sense of guilt that plagues Taylor. Not that I have killed people (the innocent and the guilty), betrayed friends, watched loved one after loved one die terribly right before my eyes, pushed away any sign of meaningful relationships, or wasted years of my life on drugs and booze—but I am still young so give me some time.
In any case, the Roman Catholic guilt is a weird animal (it sucks feeling like you should be apologizing for most of your actions, no matter what it is they are, or for the mistakes of others), and without talking too much out of my own ass, I propose that the Roman Catholic guilt became compounded into a shared national Irish guilt. Or at least, that’s the Ireland in Bruen’s novels: a land of self-loathing misanthropes who wallow in their own bitterness and prejudices…but then again isn’t that like most places?
If you are wondering what the actual plot of this book is about then know it involves a family of killers who crucify a young man and then burn another woman alive; along the way, Taylor finds a very thin excuse to pretend like he’s investigating the murders. Mostly, Taylor thinks about drinking, fights to stay sober, struggles with the abattoir of rage and resentment inside his skull, hates himself, tries not to hate everyone around him, and thinks about God and dying and drinking.
It’s that last sentence along with my “hmming” about guilt which keeps me coming back to this flawed, yet all-too-human series of tragedies masquerading as mystery novels.
JACK TAYLOR + Iain Glen + Killian Scott + Nora-Jane Noone
Jack Taylor - Season 3 | GoStream
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Based on the detective novels by Ken Bruen, Jack Taylor is an Irish drama set in the character's hometown of Galway, and chronicles the experiences of Jack Taylor, former officer of the Irish "Guardai" police force. After being fired for assault, Taylor turns private investigator. At first he is reluctant to pursue this line of work, but soon realizes that his former police experience and wealth of both personal and professional contacts made over the years has made him well suited to it. A heavy drinker whose own traumatic upbringing and personal demons sometimes threaten to get the better of him, Taylor's gritty, no-nonsense investigative methods sometimes push the boundaries of the law. He fields cases from his "office" in the local pub with the help of Cody Farraher, his young, idealistic assistant, and former Guardai colleague Officer Kate Noonan, with whom his relationship is more complicated than it seems.
Jack Taylor is an Irish mystery television drama based on the novels by Ken Bruen. Taylor looks for clues others have overlooked. He also knows the streets of his hometown like the back of his hand. Set in Galway, the series is based on Ken Bruen's crime novels and features Iain Glen as the leading character, Jack Taylor, an old-school detective, and a maverick who often drinks much more than is good for him. According to the series' voiceover, there are no private eyes in Ireland—"It's too close to being an informant — a dodgy concept"—though in reality there are many private investigators in Ireland.