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Sanctuary by Ken Bruen


by Ken Bruen

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1588116,475 (3.93)7
Two guards, one nun, one judge - when a letter containing a list of victims arrives in the post, PI Jack Taylor is sickened, but tells himself the list has nothing to do with him. He has enough to do just staying sane. A guard and then a judge die in mysterious circumstances. But it is not until a child is added to the list that Taylor determines to find the identity of the killer, and stop them at any cost. What he doesn't know is that his relationship with the killer is far closer than he thinks. And that it's about to become deeply personal.… (more)



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I love Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor mysteries. They are lean, brutal howls of anguish and rage that sometimes read like poetry and at other times read like outlines. I normally do not care to read books about main characters who are alcoholics or drug addicts, but Jack Taylor is the exception. He rages against man's inhumanity to man. He is a wounded, soul-sick wreck of a man who came to be that way simply because he cares too much. I may not like Jack Taylor, but I do care about him.

Bruen's Jack Taylor books are written in a sparse style that is filled with irony, sarcasm, and insights into modern Ireland. That these books are also filled with humor is something that may well pass many readers by if they do not pay attention.

These books are dark and often brutal, and they aren't for everyone, but Ken Bruen is one of the very few writers who's ended a book with a scene that made me cry out in shock and horror and made me burst into tears. Very powerful stuff-- even the memory of that scene still ties me in knots.

In Sanctuary, Jack Taylor learns something about what occurred in that scene that ripped such an emotional response from me, and he falls off the wagon of sobriety. After two lost weeks, he's down to ten drinks and one Xanax per day-- and he's finally ready to put an end to the killer who's still taunting him.

The only thing in this book that didn't satisfy was the showdown between Jack and the killer. It seemed a bit perfunctory. But the book does end with questions that lead on to the next books in the series. I will read them all. Slowly. Because they're marvelous. And because I can't stay on Bruen's emotional roller coaster for extended periods of time. Jack Taylor is about as noir as they come, and although I may not like him, I do love him. ( )
2 vote cathyskye | Sep 18, 2014 |
His bags are packed and he's ready to go when Jack receives a phone call from Ridge asking for his help. She's just had the results back from some tests and her worst fears are confirmed a lump she found in her breast is malignant. Jack agrees to stick around to help her through the treatment. He's also been sent a list and at first Jack ignores the contents even when item 1, a priest, ends up dead after a hit and run accident Jack brushes this off as coincidence and no real concern of his. Only when item 2, a judge, also ends up dead does he raise his concerns with Superintendent Clancy who also dismisses the list outright so Jack decides to take matters into his own hands once again and attempts to discover who's responsible and why they involved him in their actions. Case #2 involves a threat to the daughter of one of Galway's high fliers and as Ridge needs something to do to prevent a descent into despondency, Jack passes this one on to her with unexpected consequences.

Probably the weakest book in the series but still a pretty good read. ( )
1 vote AHS-Wolfy | Dec 22, 2011 |
Another great Jack Taylor adventure with religious undertones and a good balance of crime-solving and personal ups and downs for Jack and other characters. A one day read...short book, but that feeling of wanting to see what happened next kept my interest going. Classic Bruen. ( )
  mookie86 | May 24, 2011 |
it was my first Taylor....what a dialogue...Desperado
  snj206 | Dec 15, 2009 |
Vivid dialogue, interesting picture of contemporary Ireland. Weirdly slipshod book, though. At 200 pages, with large print and big margins, it's unnecessarily repetitive (how many times do we need to go over Taylor's physical description--he limps, wears a hearing aid, blah, blah), establishes facts from previous novels in a clunky, obvious way, and has odd inconsistencies, as if the author couldn't be bothered to reread/rewrite even this slim volume. Taylor's one of those alcoholic, drug-addicted (on, then off the wagon here) self-loathing gutter romantic types, and pretty thoroughly unpleasant. (Oh, the plot involves a looney nun serial killer who knew Taylor when.) ( )
  beaujoe | Nov 11, 2009 |
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