Galway private eye Jack Taylor must catch a psychopath who kills by crucifying.
On the prowl for a really bad person, Taylor tries to kick some bad habits while kicking himself for having some bad timing. Long a substance abuser, he’s chosen to get clean the hard way, going cold turkey, and it’s half killing him. And it’s not just the booze, the pills and the smokes that are getting him down; it’s all that extra gloom and doom suddenly burdening his life, which on the best day was never a thing of joy. An American kid Taylor loved almost as a son is hospitalized, comatose, his chances for recovery slim to none. Taylor’s cop friend has a lump on her breast that terrifies both of them. And Taylor’s decision to help an alcoholic ex-cop spawns dire consequences. Yet when he’s asked to stop a sadistic killer whose hatred seems at once random and focused, he can’t back away. As one character says of Taylor: “Bottom line, you’re that rarity, you’re a decent human being…more flawed than most, but you’re not cold.”
Though Bruen (Priest, 2007, etc.) sometimes nudges noir into bathos, this is dark-side stuff from a master.