Galway private eye Jack Taylor (Cross, 2008, etc.) tracks a psychopath whose craziness might be Taylor-made.
The letter from someone calling himself Benedictus is short, weird and menacing, and Taylor gets total blame for its homicidal intent. Its list of targets marked for death includes two guards, a nun, a judge and a child. And it informs Taylor that “only you will truly comprehend my mission.” But Taylor doesn’t comprehend. Nor does he have any idea who the signer is. In a rare burst of good citizenship, he takes the letter to the Garda Siochana, the Irish National Police, where Superintendent Clancy, once his close friend, now his implacable enemy, laughs him out of his office, little knowing how he’ll rue the day. Meanwhile, Taylor has a plate full of other troubles. There’s the matter of his sobriety, for instance. At the moment he’s on the wagon, though his purchase is precarious. There’s the matter of Cathleen Ridge, the Guard who’s been Taylor’s “partner in hostility and uneasy alliance for years.” She’s battling breast cancer. But Benedictus won’t go away. And when Taylor finally discovers what’s made him so bitter, he’s shocked and angry—and scared.
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.