Someone is scraping the scum off the streets of Galway, and they want Jack Taylor to get involved.
A drug pusher, a rapist, a loan shark, all targeted in what look like vigilante attacks. And the killer is writing to Jack, signing their name: C-33.
Jack has had enough. He doesn't need the money, and doesn't want to get involved.
But when his friend Stewart gets drawn in, it seems he isn't been given a choice.
In the meantime, Jack is being courted by Reardon, a charismatic billionaire intent on buying up much of Galway, and begins a tentative relationship with Reardon's PR director, Kelly.
Caught between heaven and hell, there's only one path for Jack Taylor to take: Purgatory.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/08/2013
- Category: Thriller / suspense
- ISBN: 9781848271197
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by brokenangelkisses
I like narratives with a distinctive voice. That said, I find narrators with a truly distinctive voice can take a bit of getting used to. My first perusal of the opening pages of Ken Bruen's 'Purgatory' didn't inspire me to read further and I let most of a month slip by, reading other things, until the deadline presented by my crime reading group came sharply into focus.== What's it about? ==Someone calling themselves C33 is killing crooks in Galway. Ex-guard Jack Taylor isn't interested in getting involved, despite receiving personal notes from the killer suggesting he might like to 'play'. Jack's friend, Stewart, is interested and courting danger. Will Jack help him solve the case?Meanwhile, Reardon, a billionaire determined to buy up Galway, is intent on turning Jack into his pet, and Jack begins a relationship with Kelly, Reardon's assistant. But what do these two really want with Jack Taylor?==What's it like? ==Unsurprisingly, considering its positioning as noir fiction, the tone and content is dark, miserable and violent. Bruen isn't afraid to maim and / or kill off his characters and those who survive seem to mostly spend their time drinking and drugging themselves into oblivion. Jack in particular begins the book 'on the wagon', but it isn't long before he's stumbling along beside it.This is the tenth book in Bruen's 'Jack Taylor' series so fans will doubtless be used to their anti-hero's rather sweary nature and ability to survive anything the city's mad men and semi-corrupt cops can throw at him. In a previous outing he has evidently lost some fingers and his desire to be a PI - his ostensible trade. In fact, it is not until page 253 of 283 that Jack notes laconically: 'Finally did a detective thing'. Clearly, Bruen recognises that his character's role up to this point has been more passive drunk than active investigator.This hint of metafictionality grows throughout 'Purgatory'. Each short chapter is prefaced with one or two quotations, taken from literature, Irish sayings and songs, celebrities and, um, characters from this book. In the final chapters, Jack, our first-person narrator, begins to refer to old cases by the names of earlier books in the series. Somehow this feels quite appropriate in a story already littered with cultural references: Jack's life seems to partly consist of watching a string of drama series that were axed after one or two seasons; Kelly has a thing for Oscar Wilde; and these two characters visit a bookshop that happens to have a display of noir fiction in the window. Perhaps Jack's cultural engagement is meant to show the reader that, despite his professed skill with the hurley, he is redeemable.The frequent references to political and sporting events root this novel firmly in a particular time period which feels relevant now but will mean it dates quite quickly. Given Bruen's success and that of the hit TV series based on this character, I doubt that's a concern. There is also a very strong sense of place, though not necessarily a place you'd want to live in. Galway is vividly rendered through its population: the Guards, the drunks, the bartenders and baristas who adopt new customs that horrify Jack.Bruen writing as Jack Taylor adopts an abrupt style which is somewhat lacking in verbs. This is a typical extract:Before she could speak, I said'No.'Knocked her back.Her mouth made a small O of surprise. I knew the gig.The touching photo.Some heart-kicking story.Her son/daughter/husbandmissingwas a great/caring/loveable individual,andcould I find them, what happened to them?The whole usual awful parade of misery.It took maybe fifty pages for me to acclimatise to this style, which isn't as long as it sounds; if all the sentences in this book were bundled into regular sized paragraphs, the book itself would be at least two thirds shorter. Once I had adapted, Jack's distinctive voice and dark humour were a good enough reason to keep reading, despite a rather slim plot.As a hard-boiled anti-hero, Jack succeeds brilliantly. He is persistently blind to his friends' predicaments, though usually at least partly responsible, always ready to sink into alcohol and / or narcotics induced oblivion, and cavalierly unconcerned about his own welfare. Flashes of morality twinkle at readers, signalling a decent man at heart, but I hope in future additions to these series he might actually, y'know, actively attempt to solve a crime or two. (In fairness, he does solve this one, though it's largely by accident.)The ending is a little frustrating as Bruen throws in a last minute shock, evidently designed to bait the hook for book eleven. Yawn. Presumably regular readers will now be clamouring to know the next publication date, but I have always found such last-second dramas off-putting and thought its inclusion here was a bit of a shame. Doesn't Bruen trust his readers to seek out the next instalment?== Final thoughts ==I didn't feel at any disadvantage for not having read (or watched) the series previously, and clearly Bruen didn't expect me to experience any difficulties; there are no recaps at all. Recurring characters are introduced very briefly and, aside from a few references to previous history, nothing from previous books intrides into the action of this one. I found this quite refreshing actually, as most series require the reader to develop at least a rudimentary understanding of several recurring characters and key relationships. Jack's nature ensures this isn't necessary!Chapters are very short - just a few pages long - which makes this easy to read. The overall book is clearly structured with a prologue and kind-of epilogue bookending the action. I felt all the quotations were rather unnecessary, but if you like exercising your mind by considering how they fit in with the plot etc. then you'll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy doing just that.Overall, this is a good example of the noir genre with sufficient world-weary gone-slightly-bad-and-mad-ex-upholder-of-the-law antics to keep readers interested. The £12.99 RRP (for a paperback?!) seems a tad expensive for something I'm unlikely to read more than once, but it may be worth the cost for fans who want to collect the series.Read this if:- you enjoy reading about hardboiled, world-weary (not quite) detectives in noir narratives;- you enjoy reading novels written in a very distinctive voice;- you enjoy reading books with a strong sense of time and place, especially contemporary time and place.Avoid this if:- you dislike reading a lot of swearing or about a lot of drinking and drug abuse;- you like crime stories with a strong sense of plot, clues, red herrings...typical crime stuff;- you like conventional narratives and prefer reading about heroes, not anti-heroes.
Review by col2910
Synopsis/blurb......<br/><br/>Someone is scraping the scum off the streets of Galway, and they want Jack Taylor to get involved. A drug pusher, a rapist, a loan shark, all targeted in what look like vigilante attacks. And the killer is writing to Jack, signing their name: C-33.<br/><br/>Jack has had enough. He doesn't need the money, and doesn't want to get involved. But when his friend Stewart gets drawn in, it seems he isn't been given a choice. In the meantime, Jack is being courted by Reardon, a charismatic billionaire intent on buying up much of Galway, and begins a tentative relationship with Reardon's PR director, Kelly.<br/><br/>Caught between heaven and hell, there's only one path for Jack Taylor to take: Purgatory.<br/>------------------------------------------------------------------<br/>My take.....<br/><br/>Purgatory is Bruen’s 10th and latest Jack Taylor novel and unusually for the completist in me I skipped forward to this one, after having only read the first two or three.<br/><br/>An interesting enough read, but a little less enjoyable than I had been hoping for. Perhaps skipping the seven in-between left me feeling more as a fairly impartial observer to events concerning Taylor and his friends Stewart and Ridge, as opposed to having an emotional connection to them and caring – assuming the friendships have developed over the course of the series. <br/><br/>Bad things happen during the course of the book. A vigilante seems to be cleaning up Galway and the Gardai aren’t joining up the dots and acknowledging the connection. Jack ignores notes from the killer, until the murderer makes things personal. Taylor oscillates between manic action with a mad urge to locate someone one minute, to calmly having a drink the next day; said person still unfound. Maybe that’s how damaged alcoholic investigators function? <br/><br/>The usual cultural references and hat-tips towards other novelists and books abound throughout, though they seemed a bit forced and stale to me this time. Perhaps, I’m turning into an old grouch?<br/><br/>Best bit of the book - the slow motion analysis of Ibrahimovic’s spectacular goal for Sweden against England......go figure.<br/><br/>3 from 5 <br/><br/>At some point I will read the Taylor books that I have skipped. For now at least Brant rules.<br/><br/>Another book courtesy of Net Galley.<br/>