“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tombstone Blues

A tale of two covers, no less. I wasn’t the only one to be a tad underwhelmed by the early artwork for Ken Bruen’s latest Jack Taylor novel, HEADSTONE (see below), but thankfully Jack has got the kind of cover he deserves - the previous offering looked like some kind of refugee from the 1950’s, as designed by someone high on diddley-aye. Not that we ever judge a book by its cover (koff), but these things do matter.
  Anyhoo, what’s between the covers is far more important, and HEADSTONE has enough of the good stuff to impress the Philly Inquirer. To wit:
Acclaimed Irish crime writer Ken Bruen has won numerous awards for his hard-charging, dark thrillers, which have been translated into ten languages. In Headstone, an elderly priest is nearly beaten to death and a special-needs boy is brutally attacked. Evil has many guises and Jack Taylor has encountered most of them. But nothing before has ever truly terrified him until he confronts an evil coterie named Headstone, who have committed a series of random, insane, violent crimes in Galway, Ireland. Most would see a headstone as a marker of the dead, but this organization seems like it will act as a death knell to every aspect of Jack’s life. Jack’s usual allies, Ridge and Stewart, are also in the line of terror. An act of appalling violence alerts them to the sleeping horror, but this realization may be too late, as Headstone barrels along its deadly path right to the centre of Jack’s life and the heart of Galway. A terrific read from a writer called “a Celtic Dashiell Hammett,” HEADSTONE is an excellent addition to the Jack Taylor series. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  Meanwhile, Ken is interviewed over at The Atlantic, a piece worth clickety-clicking to get to only for the sight of Ken Bruen in full-on Nosferatu mode. If HEADSTONE is half as gothic as the pic, it’ll be a right royal horror. The interview, by the way is titled, ‘Irish Crime Writer Ken Bruen on Alcoholism, Sick Priests and Neo-Nazis’. Herewith be a flavour:
I think readers who have a sentimental view of Ireland are a bit shocked to find out how corrupt the clergy in your novels are. Are you exaggerating there?

“When I began THE GUARDS, around 2000, the clergy were still bullet-proof, but as I wrote THE MAGDALEN MARTYRS (2003), scandals were becoming known. More and more horrors emerged. I know personally many who suffered from them. Even now—even now!—they still cover up, lie, obstruct, and their arrogance is truly appalling. I know some great priests, and they suffer due to the sheer grandiosity of the leaders of the church. (But) the scum of the earth, the child molesters, still remain largely unpunished and unnamed. There are people who refuse to believe the horrendous truth, and when PRIEST (2006) came out, a women spat on me in the main street.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here

1 comment:

Darlynne said...

Let the naysayers spit: I say, thank God for Ken Bruen and Jack Taylor. I wish Taylor would get a break, but apparently there are more trials he has to endure. And thank you for posting the interview link, I had no idea the Atlantic had interviewed him.