Monday, December 12, 2011


First line: "He drained the last of the pint, thought,
'Christ, that was good.'"

Jack Taylor returns in Ken Bruen's ninth book of the series about the former guard turned Irish PI. Jack's damaged emotionally and physically, tainting his view of the world. But in HEADSTONE, he's daring to let hope weasel its way into his heart. That light is violently extinguished when a gang of sociopaths begin their march of terror through Galway and set their collective sights on Jack himself.

Ken Bruen fans will not be disappointed in his newest installment, labeled a "Jack Taylor novel of terror." Bruen's signature style glows as strong as ever: a pitch-black tone, with ever-so-tiny fissures of light and hope daring to invade the space. Damaged characters who simultaneously scare the bejesus out of you while making you want to take them home and protect them from all life's evils - give them the chance the world has deprived them of. John Lee, the HEADSTONE audiobook narrator, captures that dichotomy superbly. Lee allows the reader to hear and FEEL Taylor's rage and hopelessness, to experience the disbelief and horror.

Those not familiar with Bruen's work will easily be able to pick up HEADSTONE and join Jack Taylor's life odyssey mid-series. John Lee gives Bruen's unyielding sense of place dimension through his Irish brogue and obvious understanding of Taylor. Bruen's chilling atmosphere wraps around the reader in the form of Lee's voice.

I kept the print version of HEADSTONE close during my audio experience. It is a unique combination, probably enhanced by my American-ness. Bruen writes in a distinct style that is essential to the story. His placement of words on a page are just as much a part of his art as Jack Taylor. One shouldn't experience this series without experiencing the way Bruen has painted his pages. Lee gives sound to Taylor, a sound that a naive American with little experience of the variety in Irish dialect would completely botch without help. Experiencing the two together was an explosion of the senses - an experience I would recommend to any true crime fiction fan.

HEADSTONE is available in the United States in print (ISBN: 978-0-8021-2600-9) from The Mysterious Press and on audio from High Bridge Audio (ISBN: 978-1-61174-598-6). The audio runs 5 1/2 hours.


Beth F December 12, 2011 at 6:48 AM  

I like the combo of listen and following along or also reading the print. I'll keep that in mind if I decide to tackle this series.

Joe Barone December 12, 2011 at 10:22 AM  

Great book. Of all the books I read by living authors, I find Bruen's Jack Taylor books to be the best.

le0pard13 December 12, 2011 at 12:09 PM  

Great heads up for this one, Jen. I'm about to tackle the sixth novel/audiobook in the series (of course, doing them in order). Interesting that we have a change in narrator with this. I have to admit I've grown very use to Gerry O'Brien's excellent work in the series. I know Michael Deehy has performed some in the Jack Taylor series. It's going to be something indeed when I get to this one and not have Gerry voicing Jack (kinda of like Walt Longmire without George Guidall, I think). We'll see. Thanks, Jen.

bookdout December 12, 2011 at 10:07 PM  

I like the sound of this. I'm not sure reading and audio at the same time would suit me though LOL

Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

pmunited December 16, 2011 at 10:02 AM  

Just got my copy - looking forward to reading this. I am Irish and find Ken Bruen to be a wonderful writer. He has a very unique way of telling a story - almost like a poet.

Jen December 16, 2011 at 10:15 AM  

Patrick! Absolutely like a poet. You nailed it!

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