Bruen’s latest dip into the murky waters of Galway kicks off with alcoholic shamus Jack Taylor’s literal dip in Claddagh Basin to pull out a man apparently bent on suicide. Things don’t go well for either the rescued or the rescuer.
Walter Tevis may think that now that Jack’s saved his life, the man is responsible for him. But Jack hasn’t excelled in his responsibilities toward his ex-wife, Kiki, or his late girlfriend, Emerald (The Ghosts of Galway, 2017), or his present lover, Marion, and there’s no reason he’ll do any better by Tevis. Jack may have clicked with Marion, but he strikes out with her son, Joffrey, and the distance between them will become an issue when the boy’s targeted by defrocked pedophile Peter Boyne. Nor does Jack want the responsibility of looking into the murders of hedge fund scammer Pierre Renaud’s twin sons, Jean and Claude, tossed off a pier by a man in a wheelchair who added a sign saying, “The Irish can abide almost anything save silence.” Jack, as fans of this long-running series know all too well, has a gift for blarney, for plain speaking, for poetic melancholy, for downing shots of Jameson’s without ice, and for pregnant one-word paragraphs. But responsibility, as even Harley Harlow, the documentarian following him around in the hope of filming his life, knows, isn’t really in his wheelhouse, and when Kiki hooks up with sociopathic killer Michael Ian Allen, all sorts of disturbing new possibilities arise.
A tough, tender, sorrowful tour of the Bruen aquarium, with all manner of fantastic creatures swimming in close proximity and touching only the fellow creatures they want to devour. Just don’t get too attached to the supporting cast or read this installment just before a trip to Galway.