Green Hell

Green Hell

Mysterious Book Report No 207

by John Dwaine McKenna

It’s no secret that I have a Jones for contemporary Irish writers of crime fiction, reading and reviewing their work whenever possible.  Atop the pantheon in my opinion is a capricious, ever unpredictable, but always exceptional creative genius by the name of Ken Bruen.  He’s the author of thirty-some novels, a collaborator on several more, and the creator of one of the most memorable private investigators in all of crime fiction: the battered but undiminished, hopelessly alcoholic and addicted but never apologetic, always baffling but ever brilliant champion of the underdog . . . Jack Taylor.

In Bruen’s newest, Green Hell, (Mysterious Press-Grove/ Atlantic, $25.00, 232 pages, ISBN 978-0-8021-2356-5), Jack Taylor has hit absolute rock bottom.  He only had two real friends, but one is now dead and the other is no longer speaking to him.  Jack’s drinking and substance abuse is out of control and he doesn’t care, has given up trying.  When he chances upon two teenage street thugs mugging a preppy American grad student, Jack wades into the fray without hesitation, and saves the life of Boru Kennedy, a visiting Rhodes Scholar.  After knocking the ‘be-jaysus’ out of the bad guys, then calling a cab to take the injured Yank to the hospital, Taylor frisks the pair and jumps in the cab brandishing a wedge of euro notes, chortling “Cab fare,” to the stricken American.  So begins an unlikely, some might even say unholy, friendship when Kennedy abandons his study of Beckett to carouse and drink with Galway’s most notorious dark angel and renegade detective.  Not long after that, betrayal, murder, treachery, revenge and madness are all on Jack’s plate, as he becomes involved with a woman who’s as unpredictable as he is . . . and just as crazy.  Together they pursue a case against one of Galway’s most respected and unassailable professors of literature at the University of Galway.

Although short, the story is full of references to other writers, current events, social commentary, lyrical one-liners and more bons mots than a chocolatier on Fifth Avenue.  I love his style, can’t wait to read his next, but he’d better plan on signing it for me.  Five stars!

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Green Hell


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