The Dramatist (Jack Taylor Series #4)
  • The Dramatist (Jack Taylor Series #4)
  • The Dramatist (Jack Taylor Series #4)

The Dramatist (Jack Taylor Series #4)

5.0 3
by Ken Bruen

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Seems impossible, but Jack Taylor is sober---off booze, pills, powder, and nearly off cigarettes, too. The main reason he's been able to keep clean: his dealer's in jail, which leaves Jack without a source. When that dealer calls him to Dublin and asks a favor in the soiled, sordid visiting room of Mountjoy Prison, Jack wants to tell him to take a flying leap.

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Seems impossible, but Jack Taylor is sober---off booze, pills, powder, and nearly off cigarettes, too. The main reason he's been able to keep clean: his dealer's in jail, which leaves Jack without a source. When that dealer calls him to Dublin and asks a favor in the soiled, sordid visiting room of Mountjoy Prison, Jack wants to tell him to take a flying leap. But he doesn't, can't, because the dealer's sister is dead, and the guards have called it "death by misadventure."

The dealer knows that can't be true and begs Jack to have a look, check around, see what he can find out. It's exactly what Jack does, with varying levels of success, to make a living. But he's reluctant, maybe because of who's asking or maybe because of the bad feeling growing in his gut.

Never one to give in to bad feelings or common sense, Jack agrees to the favor, though he can't possibly know the shocking, deadly consequences he has set in motion. But he and everyone he holds dear will find out soon, sooner than anyone knows, in The Dramatist, the lean and lethal fourth entry in Ken Bruen's award-winning Jack Taylor series.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Ken Bruen is hard to resist, with his aching Irish heart, silvery tongue and bleak noir sensibility…[Bruen] writes with extraordinary delicacy about a man driven to acts of violence out of wild grief and fierce sense of guilt.” —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

“[Bruen's] Jack Taylor series is Grade-A Galway Noir…Bruen provides an insightful tour of a fast-changing Ireland” —Richard Lipez, The Washington Post

“Bruen's tommy-gun prose, lacerating dialogue and hard-boiled world view combine here, as before, to provide entertainment of high order in dealing with low instincts. Forget all gauzy notions of the Emerald Isle--this stuff is black Irish.” —Ron Givens, New York Daily News

“Bruen's books are always well worth the effort.” —Harper Barnes, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“It's Taylor himself, dangerous, disgraced cop, that we want to read about.…If you haven't discovered Bruen yet, what are you waiting for?” —Jane Dickinson, Rocky Mountain News

“You'll want to pray at the stunning conclusions of The Dramatist…Bruen's talent shines.” —Michelle Ross, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“The same great mix of curmudgeonly observations and unpredictable cultural references that has won Bruen a devoted cadre of fans.” —Booklist

“There is a darkness about Bruen's Ireland that never lifts. The spare writing is brutal in its depiction of modern depression, social malaise, and total lack of hope.” —Library Journal
The Barnes & Noble Review
In Irish crime writer Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor novel (The Guards, The Killing of the Tinkers, et al.), the irascible ex-Galway policeman has been -- amazingly -- clean and sober for six months. But when his former cocaine dealer, now serving out a six-year sentence in Dublin's Mountjoy Prison, contacts him to ask a favor, Taylor reluctantly agrees -- and soon finds himself matching wits with a serial killer who has a thing for 19th-century Irish dramatist John Millington Synge. \

\ Two weeks before Stewart (Taylor's coke dealer) was busted, his 20-year old sister was found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs. The police ruled it a "misadventure," but Stewart thinks differently and asks Taylor to look into it. Upon further investigation, Taylor learns that a book of Synge's collected works was found under the body. When another young woman -- also possessing a Synge collection -- is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, Taylor knows he's onto something. But as he closes in on the killer, reality intervenes: An old love interest resurfaces and the health of his ailing mother deteriorates…

\ \ Genre fans who enjoy pull-no-punches noir thrillers that are as darkly comic as they are brutally realistic -- such as Charlie Huston's Six Bad Things, Robert Ferrigno's The Wake-Up, or Will Staeger's Painkiller -- should definitely check out Bruen's Jack Taylor novels, especially this one, a scathing blast of righteous, no-holds-barred Irish crime fiction. Pint of Guinness Extra Stout not included. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
Last seen in Bruen's The Magdalen Martyrs (2004), Irish detective Jack Taylor is sober and hating it in his stellar fourth outing. Things are looking up for the well-worn detective-at least until the apparently accidental death of the sister of his drug dealer, who's now in jail. As Taylor pursues the well-read killer in Dublin, he gets involved in the life of an old flame, Ann Henderson, and her abusive husband. A group of shadowy pike-wielding vigilantes adds extra spice to the mix. By now, readers know the Bruen formula of the downward spiral, but there's no denying the effectiveness of the tough dialogue, the crisp scenes and Taylor's weary, crumpled-jacket appeal. Nor can many writers in any genre evoke a seedy urban Ireland as well as Bruen. Few, too, can continue to deliver interesting stories and even more interesting character studies. With a riveting mystery and a deftly rendered protagonist, Bruen recaptures the immediacy and the impact of the first two novels in the series (The Guards and The Killing of the Tinkers). (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
Galway's feistiest private eye (The Killing of Tinkers, 2004, etc.), continuing his war with practically everybody, is-you won't believe this-sober. After his six months on the wagon, everyone who knows Jack Taylor's storied fondness for Jamison is amazed. Not all of them are happy. Father Malachy, whose perverse fondness for Jack's virago of a mother is matched only by his hatred of Jack, is chagrined to see his prophecy of disaster for Jack so completely thwarted. In fact, Jack is drug-free as well, though he acknowledges the happenstance involved: "My dealer got busted." It's through his jailed dealer Stewart that Jack turns to sleuthing again. Stewart's sister has been found with her neck broken at the bottom of a staircase along with a copy of J.M. Synge's best-known play. Accidental death, says the Garda Siochana. Not likely, says Stewart. A bright, alert 20-year-old whose system was as free of booze and drugs as Jack's doesn't take that kind of fatal tumble. Jack agrees with the Garda but hires on anyway. When a second young female dies in a fall with a second copy of The Playboy of the Western World pressed beneath her body, Jack changes sides. There's a weirdo out there with Synge on the brain and murder in his heart. If Jack can only stay sober long enough, he plans to ring down his curtain. Signature Irish noir, dark as it gets.\

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Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Jack Taylor Series, #4
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.18(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Ken Bruen has been a finalist for the Egar, Anthony, and Barry Awards, and has won a Macavity Award and a Shamus Award for the Jack Taylor series. He lives in Galway, Ireland.

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Dramatist (Jack Taylor Series #4) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
ObessiveReader More than 1 year ago
Dark irish humor at its best. Jack Taylor is one sick guy. I AM ADDICTED
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Galway six months have passed since Jack Taylor became clean and sober no booze or coke. Even more shocking the local priest recognizes Jack who has been attending mass albeit not to connect with Jesus but to hear Sonny Malloy sing. However, the fiftyish former cop is a realist as his dealer Stewart is doing six years in Dublin¿s Mountjoy so finding a source for coke would be difficult. --- ¿Friend¿ Cathy, asks Jack to do Stewart a favor. Though he owes Stewart nothing, Jack is in debt to Cathy so he agrees to learn who killed his dealer¿s sister twenty year old Sarah Bradley. Under her body was a copy of the Playboy of the Western World by John Millington Synge. Initially believing no murder occurred, Jack changes his mind when he soon learns a second student accidentally died with Synge¿s book beneath the body. The finder soon finds links between his case to his own past and someone dubbed 'The Dramatist', but who could this brilliant killer be, why Synge and how come everything ties back to Jack? --- Ken Bruen refreshes his Jack Taylor novels by sobering up the protagonist though he glibly explains that sobriety is not sanity. The investigation into who is the Dramatist is cleverly devised so that the audience sees more of who Jack is as his persona does not hide behind the raging out of control drunk of his previous appearances. Those who appreciate the crazed maniac will not find him in his search for the Dramatist as Jack is more deliberate and cerebral this time. However, you don¿t know Jack if you think that Mr. Bruen fails to entertain as this is a strong fascinating entry that still will ¿Synge¿ readers as the antihero turns heroic searching more for personal salvation than a killer. --- Harriet Klausner