After last month's Ken Bruen marathon, I was finally almost all caught up with his Jack Taylor series, and settled in to read the latest book, PRIEST (out in the UK, and soon to be released in the US).
After the (ahem) dramatic ending of the previous book, THE DRAMATIST, I was more than ready to find out how Jack's life was progressing. He's recovering slowly, and is asked to look into the beheading of a priest. It turns out that the priest had been a predator and was guilty of sexually abusing numerous young boys. Revenge seems to be a clear motive, but the identity of the murderer isn't so obvious. While battling old addictions, Jack must also cope with a new beginning in the form of an eager apprentice and partner in the P.I. business. Jack's not sure he wants to be in the P.I. business, let alone have a partner, but allows young Cody to help him with a stalking case that hits close to home.
This is a wonderfully layered and complex book, told in the author's distinct writing style. The storyline is compelling, but this book is so much more than plot - it's character, setting, emotion, atmosphere, humour. Every reader will take something different away from this book, depending on their own experiences and views. It's a rare treat to find a book that manages to entertain, inform, and incite introspection while still telling an fascinating story. To top it all off, Bruen has once again created a shocking ending that makes the wait for the next book seem entirely too long.