Galway’s feistiest private eye (The Killing of Tinkers, 2004, etc.), continuing his war with practically everybody, is—you won’t believe this—sober.
After his six months on the wagon, everyone who knows Jack Taylor’s storied fondness for Jamison is amazed. Not all of them are happy. Father Malachy, whose perverse fondness for Jack’s virago of a mother is matched only by his hatred of Jack, is chagrined to see his prophecy of disaster for Jack so completely thwarted. In fact, Jack is drug-free as well, though he acknowledges the happenstance involved: “My dealer got busted.” It’s through his jailed dealer Stewart that Jack turns to sleuthing again. Stewart’s sister has been found with her neck broken at the bottom of a staircase along with a copy of J.M. Synge’s best-known play. Accidental death, says the Garda Siochana. Not likely, says Stewart. A bright, alert 20-year-old whose system was as free of booze and drugs as Jack’s doesn’t take that kind of fatal tumble. Jack agrees with the Garda but hires on anyway. When a second young female dies in a fall with a second copy of The Playboy of the Western World pressed beneath her body, Jack changes sides. There’s a weirdo out there with Synge on the brain and murder in his heart. If Jack can only stay sober long enough, he plans to ring down his curtain.
Signature Irish noir, dark as it gets.