Off the Shelf: In the Galway Silence, by Ken Bruen. Review by Terry Kenneally


By Ken Bruen, The Mysterious Press ISBN 97-0-8021-2882-9 310 pp. 2018

This is hard-boiled, nonstop crime fiction at its best, by the critically acclaimed

novelist, Ken Bruen. The protagonist is Jack Taylor, an ex-cop turned private eye, who has been featured in fourteen of Bruen’s books. Taylor, more antihero than the opposite, has a propensity for knocking back too much Jameson and popping uppers.

Following the tragedy and violence in his last book (The Ghosts of Galway), Taylor has found some contentment in his new life, new apartment, new woman, and everything appears peachy. Appearances can be deceiving however, when a wealthy Frenchman hires Taylor to investigate the double-murder of his twin sons, a pair of morally bankrupt Menendez-like brothers who were found duct taped together in a wheelchair and unceremoniously dumped into a river.

From that rather auspicious return to detective work, Taylor next takes a dip into the Claddah Basin to rescue a man bent on suicide. The man, Walter Tevis, feels that since Taylor saved his life, he will return the favor by becoming responsible for him.

Taylor, however, hasn’t excelled in responsibilities, especially towards the woman in his life including his ex-wife, Kiki; his late girlfriend, Emerald; or his current lover, Marion. While things have clicked with Marion, Jack strikes out with her son, Joffrey, who while babysitting him is targeted by a defrocked pedophile, Peter Boyle.

The plot of the story then becomes a big chess game, as Taylor finds himself up against a vigilante assassin, whose non de guerre is “Silence.” The story moves briskly as all the pieces move at one dangerously mysterious pace, seemingly at the behest of ”Silence.”

Ken Bruen has been called “hard to resist with his aching Irish heart, silvery tongue, and bleak noir sensibility“(New York Times Book Review”). Bruen writes short, rat-a-tat sentences that will keep the reader turning the pages. I rate this a Top Shelf read

*Terrence J. Kenneally is an attorney and owner of Terrence J. Kenneally & Assoc. in Rocky River, Ohio. He represents insureds and insurance companies in insurance defense through the state of Ohio. Mr. Kenneally received his Masters from John Carroll University in Irish Studies and teaches Irish Literature and History at Holy Name High School. Her is also the President of Holy Name for 2018-2019.

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