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The Devil
Jack Taylor Series, No 12
Ken Bruen

Minotaur Books
2011 / ISBN-10: 0312604580
Noir / Metaphysical / Ireland-Contemporary

Reviewed by LJ Roberts

First Sentence: I should be in America.

Jack Taylor's second attempt to leave Ireland ends with Irish customs; his attempt at sobriety ends at the airport bar. The journey he does take is one of a mysterious stranger who seems to know a lot about him, and the death of those who come into Jack's life. Has the Devil come to Jack in this life rather than waiting for him in the next?

From the first page, and first chapter heading, I remember how much I love Bruen's voice. You hear and see Ireland in every word; and not just through the inclusion of the Gallic. There is a poetry to his writing and acknowledgement of one who has known the dark side of mankind.

The writing is impeccable and spare; not a superfluous word. The dialogue is spot on. The story is brutal and profane and not always pleasant to read. The brutality of the story is often offset by wry humor.

Jack isn't a character one is supposed to like. He is, however, one of the most compelling characters being written today. He is a dark angel; very dark, but you want him to survive and to succeed. With all the past books, I always felt the hope of possible redemption for Jack. In this book? Possibly not-but then again, possibly. For Jack, the reader cannot help but have hope.

This is the first time Bruen has introduced an aspect of the metaphysical, which I liked, and an ambiguous ending, for which I didn't care as much.

"The Devil" is a book of actual and metaphysical suspense. It is dark. It is sharp. It stays with you. This is a series which should be read in order. All I know is that I shall always read Bruen's next Jack Taylor book.

Reviewer's Note:
Reviewed 2012
© 2012