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The guards de Ken Bruen
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The guards (2001 original; edició 2004)

de Ken Bruen

Sèrie: Jack Taylor (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
7854920,780 (3.73)212
Still stinging from his unceremonious ouster from the Garda Siochana, 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. He 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 non-existent. Until a dazzling woman walks into the bar with a strange request and a rumour about Jack's talent for finding things. Odds are he won't be able to climb off his barstool long enough to get involved, but when he surprises himself by getting hired, Jack has little idea of what he's getting into.… (més)
Membre:njgriffin
Títol:The guards
Autors:Ken Bruen
Informació:Dingle Brandon 2004
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:***
Etiquetes:irish, crime-fiction

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The Guards de Ken Bruen (2001)

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The lyrical prose and the perfect Galway patter were seductive but in the end, I couldn't find it in me to like this drunk with a habit of violence and a passion for books.

I'd heard good things about the Jack Taylor series. They made a TV series about it so I thought, it can't be all bad if it's been on the tele now, can it?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6n2MA7ibww


"The Guards" starts well enough. The style is a kind of Nineties Philip Marlowe, if Marlowe had been an alcoholic from Galway who was well-read, didn't think much of himself or anyone else, constantly took the piss out of himself and was pretty hopeless at investigating things.

Jack Taylor's main achievements in life so far have been drinking and getting himself thrown out of the Garda (although not for drinking).

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Gerry O'Brien, and found myself enjoying listening to Jack's self-mocking description of his first case as an unlicensed PI investigating the suicide of a teenage girl.

Let me share the close of chapter one with you. It'll give you the flavour of the thing. Jack is on his way home from too many glasses of Back Bush to recall and has stopped to pick up some chips, with a cod thrown in to make it seem more substantial.:

"Is there anything more comforting than doused in vinegar chips? The smell is like the childhood you never had.

As I approached my flat, I was in artificial contentment. Turning to my door, the first blow caught me on the neck. Then a kick to the cobblers. For mad reasons, I hung on to the chips. Two men, two big men, they gave me a highly professional hiding. A mix of kicks and punches that came with the rhythm of precision.

Without malice but with absolute dedication. I felt my nose break. Would swear it made a crunch sound.

One of them said, "Get his hand. Spread the fingers." I fought that. Then my fingers were splayed on the road. It felt cold and wet. Twice the shoe came down. I roared for all I was worth. They were done. The other said, "Won't be playing with himself for a bit." A voice close to my ear, "Keep your nose out of other people's business."

I wanted to cry, "Call the Guards", as they headed off. I tried to say, "Buy your own chips!" but my mouth was full of blood."

I thought that was wonderful.

Sadly, Jack turned out to be the kind of man you sometimes meet, usually while consuming alcohol in a public place, who at first seems both charming and wise. His voice is soft, his bright verbal plumage is borrowed from the finest writers and he's happy to share the wisdom that his suffering has won him. By the fourth or fifth pint, the shine wears off, the borrowed feathers moult and you start to see that the charm is there to hide a man addicted to drink and prone to violence who knows in his heart that he's broken.

If your response to such a man is, "Well he is who is and he could be worse. Good luck to him." then I think you'll be reading the whole series. If, like me, you cannot find it in yourself to like this self-harming drunk with a habit for violence, then you'll be stopping after the first book.

The book itself is not so much about solving a crime as about seeing the kind of man Jack is, the kind of man he might be if he were able to stay sober and to understand the childhood that produced such flawed potential.

It's many decades since I last spent any time in Galway but Ken Bruen seems to me to present a credible version of the place and its people and that alone is reason enough to read the first book.

Decide for yourself. Click on the SoundCloud link below and let Gerry O'Brien cast Ken Bruen's spell over you.

https://soundcloud.com/ulverscroft/the-guards-by-ken-bruen ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | May 16, 2020 |
i hated this early on, thought it was terrible. the writing, the character, the story. but maybe about 90 pages in it started to improve for me. by the end, i was appreciating his style more and could even abide all the alcohol better. (early on that really started to get to me. why is there so much drinking in these books? does every single one of these guys have to be a raging alcoholic? if so, can we dispense with the description of all the drinking and just tell us that it happens the same in this one as in all the rest and move on from there? the focus on the drinking is what gets to me after a while.) anyway, by the end i was liking what i was reading and even feeling like i'd be willing to read him again. i'm curious about this author. i like that he puts in references to poetry and literature - mostly crime fiction, but a good variety of authors - in a way that i'm not used to in this genre. i like what he's doing there and with a lot of it. i just had to get past my initial distaste of it all.

i really did like that our main guy wasn't even the one that solved the murder. he wasn't uninvolved, but he'd mostly just "fumbled and fecked, made waves without caution" which maybe is more realistic for these drunk guys who always seem to come out ahead (on the cases, never in their personal lives). ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Mar 14, 2020 |
Loved the TV show. Hated the book. Disjointed. Hard to follow. Many of Jack's musings just didn't make sense. And after thoroughly enjoying the TV show, the book was seriously disappointing. Only got through the first two chapters. ( )
  dh-writer | Nov 10, 2019 |
Bruen's been in my radar for a while but this was my first. I loved it. Jack Taylor's an alcoholic but he loves to read and that's good enough for me. Riddled with psychos and corrupt cops and pedophiles and random acts of brutality, this was a treat. I'll look for the next couple in the series just to see where he can go from here. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
More about being an alcoholic than being a detective. About the fringe life in Ireland--those sleeping under the bridges, drinking cheap, and hassled by cops. Breun does not waste words, but borrows from others. You get a review of the century's detective fiction thrown in. And some poetry. With murders scattered about. Not too gory or nasty, but cleanly depressing. ( )
  kerns222 | May 25, 2018 |
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To
the Minister for Justice
from January 1993-December 1994

Special thanks to Vinny Brown, Charley Byrne's
Bookstore, Phyl Kennedy, Noel McGee
Primeres paraules
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It's almost impossible to be thrown out of the Garda Siochána. You have to really put your mind to it. Unless you become a public disgrace, they'll tolerate most anything.
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Still stinging from his unceremonious ouster from the Garda Siochana, 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. He 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 non-existent. Until a dazzling woman walks into the bar with a strange request and a rumour about Jack's talent for finding things. Odds are he won't be able to climb off his barstool long enough to get involved, but when he surprises himself by getting hired, Jack has little idea of what he's getting into.

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