5.0 7
by Ken Bruen

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Acclaimed Irish crime writer Ken Bruen has won numerous awards for his hard-charging, dark thrillers, which have been translated into ten languages. In Headstone, an elderly priest is nearly beaten to death and a special-needs boy is brutally attacked. Evil has many guises and Jack Taylor has encountered most of them. But nothing before has ever truly terrified…  See more details below


Acclaimed Irish crime writer Ken Bruen has won numerous awards for his hard-charging, dark thrillers, which have been translated into ten languages. In Headstone, an elderly priest is nearly beaten to death and a special-needs boy is brutally attacked. Evil has many guises and Jack Taylor has encountered most of them. But nothing before has ever truly terrified him until he confronts an evil coterie named Headstone, who have committed a series of random, insane, violent crimes in Galway, Ireland.

Most would see a headstone as a marker of the dead, but this organization seems like it will act as a death knell to every aspect of Jack’s life. Jack’s usual allies, Ridge and Stewart, are also in the line of terror. An act of appalling violence alerts them to the sleeping horror, but this realization may be too late, as Headstone barrels along its deadly path right to the center of Jack’s life and the heart of Galway. A terrific read from a writer called “a Celtic Dashiell Hammett,” Headstone is an excellent addition to the Jack Taylor series (Philadelphia Inquirer).

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Editorial Reviews

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Praise for Headstone

“Hard hitting ... a remarkable series.”—Publishers Weekly

“Headstone is an excellent addition to the Jack Taylor series.”—Philadelphia Inquirer

“Ken Bruen is brilliant. While HEADSTONE is the stuff of nightmares, it is also the stuff of redemption, even at great cost. You will feel wrung out after reading this one, but all the gladder for it.”—Bookreporter

“Headstone is one of the year's best reading pleasures.”—Crime Fiction Dossier

“Bruen is threatening to become a mass cult figure in the U.S. as well as a critical favorite.”—Allen Barra, The Atlantic

“A nonstop rampage of intrigue, mayhem, lunacy and dark-dark-dark humor.”—Shelf Awareness

"Bruen's voice is unmistakable: finely chiseled paragraphs that more closely resemble verse than prose. . . . Bleaker than David Goodis, colder than Derek Raymond, and funnier and more violent than Richard Stark, Ken Bruen is among the most original and innovative noir voices of the last two decades."—Los Angeles Review of Books

“A welcome entry. B+.”—Avid Mystery Reader

Publishers Weekly
Irish author Bruen’s hard-hitting ninth Jack Taylor novel (after The Devil) finds the Galway PI coping with alcoholism, a permanent limp, hearing loss, and emotional scars that continually threaten to take him down. For once, however, Taylor appears to have found a promising love interest in Laura, an American-born crime novelist, with whom he’s recently enjoyed a romantic idyll in Paris. Of course, moments of grace are fleeting in Bruen’s world, and things rapidly head south after Taylor receives a miniature gravestone in the post, courtesy of a group of psychopaths calling themselves “Headstone.” Led by a fanatic recidivist criminal from a previous Taylor case, they target the “weak,” including the handicapped, the mentally ill, and the homeless. Now they have their sights set on Taylor and everyone close to him. That the plot is a tad cartoonish and over-the-top scarcely matters in a remarkable series that at heart is about one man’s reckoning with a lifetime of pain and loss in a rapidly changing Ireland. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Award-winning author Bruen brings back the intrepid Jack Taylor (The Devil) to figure out a brutal series of hate crimes, seemingly random, in Galway, Ireland. Even Jack will be flummoxed by the pure evil he's forced to confront. [See Prepub Alert, 4/4/11.]

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Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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5.60(w) x 8.06(h) x 0.77(d)

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Headstone 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
kronan1 More than 1 year ago
Ken Bruen is in a class by himself. But even a die hard fan like me thinks his bad guys could have had a little more depth. Considering the havoc and fear they created you expected more than just a bunch of crazies to be at fault. Poor Jack! He's had his knees busted -- teeth knocked out--hearing damaged and more cuts ,bruises and broken bones then all Michael Connelly detectives put together. And now thy're cutting off body parts. I hope there is enough to scrape together for another book. I can't help myself I'd miss him. Even though I doubt happiness is just around his corner. Highly Recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
What could be more fitting on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day than to read the ninth book in the Jack Taylor series, perhaps as good as they come. It is a kick-off novel from a new imprint of Grove/Atlantic, Otto Penzler’s Mysterious Press, and serves well as a guide to the future. As in the previous volumes in the series, the troubled Irish PI wallows in drinks and drugs, violence and evil. It begins with the brutal beating of a priest, where no love is lost between Jack and the victim. Then Jack, his buddy Stewart, and Ridge, the female Garda, receive miniature headstones, apparently the targets of a person or persons bent on some form of aggression. Along the way are a variety of side issues occupying Jack’s attention, including the church and the precarious economy. Jack Taylor is a unique character. Beyond that, one can read Ken Bruen and enjoy the writing, the sad commentaries on Ireland, life in general, and the awesome adventures of Jack Taylor. The book is, obviously, highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tommysalami More than 1 year ago
This was my introduction to noir poet Ken Bruen, and I will be diving into his prolific writings immediately. The latest in the Jack Taylor series, Bruen peels back the veneer of Galway and shows the machinations of the idyllic seaside town through real and broken people who love it. Jack Taylor is a hard drinking man who believes "law is for the courthouse and justice is served in the alleyways," a dinosaur relic in our ethically wobbly times. With a verbal economy verging on poetry and a masterful eye for human character, Bruen is a force of nature and his latest novel with the Mysterious Press is a treasure. If you haven't read him before, like myself, you'll be kicking yourself for waiting so long.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Galway, Ireland young punks calling themselves the Headstone batter Father Malachy. The elderly priest is in intensive care at the University Hospital. The next victim of the vicious Headstone gang is Tom Reed, a Downs Syndrome child, whose throat is slashed before they rob him. Former Garda Jack Taylor has met some amoral brutal predators but none like the Headstone whose objective is to cleanse society of misfits like gays, recovering alcoholics, special people, and those they dislike. He knows he is a target as are his friends Ridge the Garda and Stewart the former convict when they receive headstones in the mail. Not one to avoid violence and knowing anyway there is no Sanctuary from this insane fringe, Jack and his buddies take the fight to the Headstone members. The latest Taylor thriller is an exhilarating but gorier than usual tale, which says a lot as this series is known for the flow of blood and guts. Jack struggles with his ugly past though the American he recently met has given him some hope for redemption of sorts. Ironically Jack concludes the Headstone's lunatic homicidal actions make his transgressions seem like virtues. Although the plot is thin, Taylor fans will anticipate the Galway confrontation. Harriet Klausner