Morbid curiosity drew me to The Galway Girl. I just wanted to see if Bruen had, once again, mailed it in. His last few books have been embarrassingly thrown together. Cluttered messes with about as much writerly attention to detail as a hyperactive four-year-old's splatter painting. But the absolute brilliance of the early books in the Jack Taylor series has kept me hoping (pleading with Bruen, really) that he still has a literary gem or two to share. You know, something that his home grown bibliophile and literary critic Jack Taylor might consider worthy. The Galway Girl is the best in years, but ironically still not quite worthy of Taylor's praise. Sure, Bruen can still bend the English language to his will in amusing and impressive ways. There are the snarky send ups of posh pretenders and the usual cast of dopey local eejits. We are also treated to Taylor’s wise, if cynical, commentary on the news of today’s certifiably insane world. Not to mention his reviews of current pop culture offerings.... musical and dramatic. But what passes for plot is little more than a pub crawl through Galway. Throw in a few terse encounters with the uniformly psychopathic lunatics who seem drawn into Taylor’s gravitational field and you have the essence of a now familiar Bruen wandering narrative. Taylor takes a short break from his perpetual tailspin to put a few things right and to dispense some justice, but these important developments are treated almost as sidebars. Oh well... Better, maybe much better, but not quite flashing the flickering brilliance of his early work.
Submitted by Ned