The Dramatist by Ken Bruen

323489  This is book 4 in the Jack Taylor series which the TV show is based upon.  I hesitate to say I enjoy these books because they are somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster, depressing, upsetting, even maddening at points and The Dramatist is no exception.  It would be easy to say that Jack Taylor is his own worst enemy but unfortunately that isn’t the case, he has plenty of enemies.

This book starts with Jack in an unusual place, cold stone sober, off drink and drugs and trying to limit the cigarettes.  His dealer is in prison and asks for a favor that drags Jack into a case that no one else even thinks is a case yet.  Amid all that Jack deals with his mother, who is at the end of her tortured life, the jealous husband of an old lover,  and a vigilante crew, seeking justice in their own way.  The resolution is just as depressing and upsetting as Jack Taylor’s life.

I keep reading these because the writing is just that good, the sense of place is completely immersive, and Jack Taylor is a complex and engaging character.  I will definitely keep reading this series, but I would caution anyone starting it that it pretty much has to be read in order.  Galway is developed as a “small village” and Jack runs into people from previous books constantly.  I think it would be difficult to understand all the nuances of the interactions without having read the earlier books.

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