Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Guards By Ken Bruen - Book Review

           Jack Taylor was a member of The Guards - Ireland’s National Police Service - until he is kicked out for various infractions that included punching a member of the Parliament in the mouth.   Now that he is a private detective, he is hired by Ann Henderson to look into the death of her daughter, which police said was a suicide.  

            If you’re expecting a mystery where Taylor will solve this mystery, he does that but it doesn’t seem to take a lot of effort.  The Guards is not a mystery where we’ll be wondering what happened to Ann.  

            Much of the story is about Jack Taylor and his problem which is him being an alcoholic.  He has some friends that he is close to such as the owner of the bar but later on in the story, Jack’s friend dies and he feels even worse after this. 

             As far as the writing goes,  I liked the voice of Jack Taylor.  It was funny at times and quirky with a very unusual sentence structure.  Here is a good example.  

             “I read.  I read a lot.  Between bouts of booze, I get through some print.  Mostly Crime.” 

             The writing made the book a good read but I’m not sure I saw a comparison with pulp fiction writers.  The closest I saw to any pulp fiction writer would be Frank Kane, who would write sentences to portray a characters action without words like and or then.  This would be an example of Kane’s writing. 

              I went into the car, started the motor, put the car in drive, drove away from the curb.  

              I would have liked to see more suspense in this novel as well as Taylor having a difficult time solving a murder.  Lawrence Block portrays Matt Scudder as an alcoholic while he’s a detective solving murders and those stories are great.  I don’t know why Bruen could have been writing along those lines. 

              All in all, I was disappointed and will only give this book two stars.  

Ron Hummer 

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