The Guards: A Novel (Jack Taylor) by Ken Bruen
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Synopsis: Still stinging from his unceremonious ouster from the Garda Siochana-The Guards, Ireland's police force-and staring at the world through the smoky bottom of his beer mug, Jack Taylor is stuck in Galway with nothing to look forward to. In his sober moments Jack aspires to become Ireland's best private investigator, not to mention it's first-Irish history, full of betrayal and espionage, discourages any profession so closely related to informing. But in truth Jack is teetering on the brink of his life's sharpest edges, his memories of the past cutting deep into his soul and his prospects for the future nonexistent.
Nonexistent, that is, until a dazzling woman walks into the bar with a strange request and a rumor about Jack's talent for finding things. Odds are he won't be able to climb off his barstool long enough to get involved with his radiant new client, but when he surprises himself by getting hired, Jack has little idea of what he's getting into.
Review: Not your typical mystery. Jack Taylor is a raging alcoholic who hasn't met a drink he doesn't like. He is completely self destructive but surprisingly good at his job during his few lucid moments. Written in short poetic chapters there is more to this book than a simple mystery. Jack falls in with quite a few bizarre characters who you can't tell if they are friends or foes.
When people aren't pouring him drinks or trying to beat him to a pulp he is trying to figure out if a young girl was murdered instead of committing suicide like people are saying. Being an ex Garda is sometimes a help and sometimes a hindrance. Jack's view of the world is twisted and dark, he pulls himself out of the bottle only to be lead back into it through the temptations of friends and the deaths of people close to him. I can't wait to figure out where this character lands next and if he can make it through another black out. Entertaining and dark this is a good beginning to a mystery series that I will definitely be following up on.