Books by Ken Bruen

Ken Bruen was a finalist for the Edgar, Barry, and Macavity Awards, and the Private Eye Writers of America presented him with the Shamus Award for the Best Novel of 2003 for The Guards, the book that introduced Jack Taylor. He lives in Galway, Ireland.


PURGATORY by Ken Bruen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 4, 2013

"For all the furious energy of Jack's throwaway riffs, the title of this installment, which would have fit most of Bruen's pitch-noir dispatches equally well, isn't the only thing that feels recycled here."
Galway ex-cop Jack Taylor, whose main job these days is keeping himself clean and sober, goes up against a vigilante whose targets richly deserve to die. Read full book review >
THE DEVIL by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Sept. 7, 2010

"Between all the Xanax-popping and Jameson-swilling, Bruen keeps Jack and his adventures as mordantly funny as ever."
Someone's killing Jack Taylor's friends, and there's the devil to pay. Literally? Read full book review >
THE NEAREST EXIT by Olen Steinhauer
THRILLERS
Released: May 11, 2010

"Excessively complicated, but it's a Steinhauer (The Tourist, 2009, etc.), which means it's good all the same."
Proving there's still juice in the le Carré formula, still another spy comes in from the cold. Read full book review >
LONDON BOULEVARD by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Dec. 1, 2009

"Mindless violence masquerading as noir. Bruen (Once Were Cops, 2008, etc.) has done much better."
An ex-con, an ex-actress and an excess of gore star in Bruen's latest exercise in dark-as-it-gets noir. Read full book review >
SANCTUARY by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: May 12, 2009

"In his seventh time out, Taylor isn't as compelling as he has been, or needs to be, to compensate for Bruen's pedestrian plotting."
Galway private eye Jack Taylor (Cross, 2008, etc.) tracks a psychopath whose craziness might be Taylor-made. Read full book review >
ONCE WERE COPS by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Oct. 28, 2008

"An unlovely tale impossible to put down. Readers asked at year's end to list the nastiest, most violent cop novels of 2008 will certainly remember this one."
While Jack Taylor sits out a round, two homicidal NYPD cops stand in to sustain the Bruen mood. Read full book review >
CROSS by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: March 4, 2008

"Though Bruen (Priest, 2007, etc.) sometimes nudges noir into bathos, this is dark-side stuff from a master."
Galway private eye Jack Taylor must catch a psychopath who kills by crucifying. Read full book review >
AMMUNITION by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Aug. 23, 2007

"Constable MacDonald, once a Met golden boy, has added another blot to his copybook, this one likely to be permanent, in a dashed-off story line noticeably bereft of Bruen's customary stylishness. What was he thinking?"
Bruen (American Skin, 2006, etc.) revisits the dark side of London, home of the dishonest, the depraved and the detestable—and that's just the police. Read full book review >
AMMUNITION by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Aug. 23, 2007

"Constable MacDonald, once a Met golden boy, has added another blot to his copybook, this one likely to be permanent, in a dashed-off story line noticeably bereft of Bruen's customary stylishness. What was he thinking?"
Bruen (American Skin, 2006, etc.) revisits the dark side of London, home of the dishonest, the depraved and the detestable—and that's just the police. Read full book review >
PRIEST by Ken Bruen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 8, 2007

"As bleak and uncompromising a noir stylist as anyone working the genre. And there's comfort for the squeamish: The insights are always sharp, the wit can flash and, anyway, you don't read Bruen for his worldview."
When a pedophile priest is decapitated, p.i. Jack Taylor (The Dramatist, 2006, etc.) seeks to get his own head on straight. Read full book review >
AMERICAN SKIN by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

"There are the usual rewards in terms of style, pace and, yes, flashes of mordant wit, but be warned: This is Bruen beyond noir into full-out stygian."
Bruen, poster boy for Irish noir (Calibre, 2006, etc.), exports his product to the U.S. and colors it even darker. Read full book review >
CALIBRE by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Aug. 1, 2006

"Sadly, this time Bruen (The Dramatist, Mar. 2006, etc.) crosses the thin line between noir and sour."
That Iago in bespoke tailoring, Detective Sergeant Tom Brant of the SE London Met, returns to chase a serial killer straight out of Emily Post. Read full book review >
THE DRAMATIST by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: March 14, 2006

"Signature Irish noir, dark as it gets."
Galway's feistiest private eye (The Killing of Tinkers, 2004, etc.), continuing his war with practically everybody, is—you won't believe this—sober. Read full book review >
THE MAGDALEN MARTYRS by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: March 21, 2005

"Jack's Orwellian journey is often painful, but there are compensations. An array of good writers, from Ralph W. Emerson to George P. Pelecanos, are quoted throughout. It's a class of writer that includes Bruen himself."
Private eye Jack Taylor, late of the Garda Siochana, the Irish National Police and any condition remotely resembling sobriety, is down and out in Galway in the third entry in this relentlessly dark yet never dreary series (The Killing of the Tinkers, 2004, etc.). Read full book review >
THE KILLING OF THE TINKERS by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Jan. 19, 2004

"From time to time, Jack (The Guards, 2003) may test a reader's tolerance for the comic antihero, but how can you resist a man who says, "Lord knows, feeling bad is the skin I've worn almost all my life"?"
Back from London, where he was deeper down and farther out than Orwell ever was, comes p.i. Jack Taylor for his second walk on Galway's dark side. Read full book review >
BLITZ by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: April 7, 2003

"2003, etc.) is all his own, but it's clear he's angling for a place among the noir brethren, specifically at the right hand of James M. Cain."
South East London's DS Brant, who could teach Edinburgh's John Rebus a thing or two about insubordination, is less than thrilled when Porter Nash leapfrogs to acting inspector and is made temporary head of the cop-killer inquiry while Chief Inspector Roberts wrestles with bereavement. Read full book review >
THE GUARDS by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

"Bruen (The McDead, 2001, etc.) bows to but doesn't just mimic James M. Cain and the other great noirists in a breakout novel not to be missed."
Jack Taylor's a drunk. Read full book review >
THE MCDEAD by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: April 6, 2001

"Somewhere between the refreshing irreverence of Bill James and the inky blackness of a coal cellar at midnight."
Bruen closes out his White Trilogy (A White Arrest, not reviewed; Taming the Alien, 2000) by dumping just about every tough-cop cliché you can think of into a single mixing bowl and hitting purée. Read full book review >
TAMING THE ALIEN by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: April 17, 2000

"Absolute ruthlessness'') in a hopeless attempt to update a noir attitude sealed in 50-year-old amber."
For the moment, the bad guys are having it all their way. Read full book review >
THE HACKMAN BLUES by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: April 13, 1998

"Even in the hands of someone not so obsessed with blues, toy boys, and Gene Hackman, this would be a less-than-brilliant idea, but fans of Bruen's blistering noir valentine, Rilke on Black (1997), will enjoy seeing the Keystone Crooks get picked off one by one."
 Tony Brady, whose search for a Labour MP's Yorkshire terrier has earned him the title of ``Ace Ventura of Vauxhall,'' is a gay, balding manic-depressive (or at least cyclothymic) who's stopped taking his lithium. Read full book review >
RILKE ON BLACK by Ken Bruen
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: June 1, 1997

"At the same time, Bruen's first novel makes you realize with a thump just how postmodern The Postman Always Rings Twice must have seemed 60 years ago, if they'd only had the word."
 ``If I were built,'' Dex Cole tells his mate Nick, ``I'd spend the time cracking skulls. . . . Read full book review >