PRIEST - Ken Bruen
Jack is in all sorts of self-inflicted trouble again. He's in hospital, severely affected by a nervous breakdown, after his negligence caused the death of someone very very important to him and his last close friends, when he's bought back from the brink by the kindness of another patient.
On his release Jack returns to his previous life with a new-found determination to avoid drinking and drugs. When his least favourite priest, Father Malachy asks Jack for help in discovering why a local priest was decapitated in his church confessional, Jack falls into that and other investigations but clings to his promise to stay sober.
PRIEST is the fifth novel in the Jack Taylor series and it is the first novel in which Jack is actively reassessing his life and what he really is. He's still an angry and depressed man, but as he has been all the way through this series, he's acutely self-aware and for the first time some of this anger is actually directed squarely at himself. He's angry with the way that Irish society is changing, he's still angry with the Catholic Church and in particular it's attitude to paedophilia and sexual abuse. Whilst PRIEST is part of a series and the reader definitely benefits from reading the early books, firstly because they are universally excellent, but also to see how Jack and the author have moved through a series of phases, PRIEST can be read as a standalone.
If nothing else, you have to admire Ken Bruen for his brutal honesty and his willingness to tackle the confrontational. In PRIEST he is scratching at a lot of scabs, societal and possibly personal.
Ireland, awash with cash and greed, no longer turns to the Church for solace or comfort. But the decapitation of Father Joyce in a Galway confessional horrifies even the most jaded citizen.
Jack Taylor, devastated by the recent trauma of personal loss, has always believed himself to be beyond salvation. But a new job offers a fresh start, and an unexpected partnership provides hope that his one desperate vision, of family, might yet be fulfilled.
An eerie mix of exorcism, a predatory stalker, and unlikely attraction conspires to lure him into a murderous web of dark conspiracies. The specter of a child haunts every waking moment.
Explosive, unsettling and totally original, Ken Bruen's writing captures the brooding landscape of Irish society at a time of social and economic upheaval. Here is evidence of an unmistakable literary talent.