New Release Books by Ken Bruen

Ken Bruen is the author of Callous (2021), A Galway Epiphany (2021), Galway Girl (2020), In the Galway Silence (2018), The Ghosts of Galway (2017) and other 106 books.

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Callous

release date: Sep 14, 2021
Callous
Inheriting a Galway cottage may change a troubled woman’s life—but not the way she hopes—in this thriller from an “original, grimly hilarious” author (The Washington Post). Kate Mitchell’s in the process of kicking her heroin addiction—with the help of alcohol—when a letter arrives informing her that her aunt in Ireland has passed away and bequeathed her a home near the ocean. This could be the start of a new and better life for Kate, far away from Brooklyn, where she and her surviving brothers are each struggling with their own dark pasts. But Aunt Mary didn’t die peacefully—quite the opposite. The pair of thugs responsible for her murder had plans for her house: namely, turning it into a lovely seaside meth lab. One of Mary’s killers, however, finds his focus shifting when he spots a photo of the dead woman’s American niece, who bears a striking resemblance to the late opera singer Maria Callas, the beloved object of his obsession. When Kate and her brothers arrive to claim her inheritance, they’re going to find something other than a piece of paradise . . . “Nobody writes like Ken Bruen, with his ear for lilting Irish prose and his taste for the kind of gallows humor heard only at the foot of the gallows.” —The New York Times “Bruen has a rich and mordant writing style, full of offbeat humor.” —Publishers Weekly

A Galway Epiphany

release date: Nov 16, 2021
A Galway Epiphany
In the newest novel in Bruen''s thrilling series, ex-cop turned private eye Jack Taylor is pulled out of his quiet new life on a farm by three mysteries that soon prove dangerously linked In the newest novel in Bruen''s thrilling series, ex-cop turned private eye Jack Taylor is pulled out of his quiet new life on a farm by three mysteries that soon prove dangerously linked Jack Taylor has finally escaped the despair of his violent life in Galway in favor of a quiet retirement in the country with his friend Keefer, a former Rolling Stones roadie, and a falcon named Maeve. But on a day trip back into the city to sort out his affairs, Jack is hit by a truck in front of Galway''s Famine Memorial, left in a coma but mysteriously without a scratch on him. When he awakens weeks later, he finds Ireland in a frenzy over the so-called "Miracle of Galway." People have become convinced that the two children spotted tending to him are saintly, and the site of the accident sacred. The Catholic Church isn''t so sure, and Jack is commissioned to help find the children to verify the miracle or expose the stunt. But Jack isn''t the only one looking for these children. A fraudulent order of nuns needs them to legitimatize its sanctity and becomes involved with a dangerous arsonist. Soon, the building in which the children are living burns down. Jack returns to his old tricks, and his old demons, as his quest becomes personal. Sharp and sardonic as ever, "the Godfather of the modern Irish crime novel" (Irish Independent) is at his brutal and ceaselessly suspenseful best in A Galway Epiphany.

Galway Girl

release date: Oct 20, 2020
Galway Girl
From "the Godfather of the modern Irish crime novel" (Irish Independent), the latest installment in Bruen''s addictive series finds ex-cop turned private eye Jack Taylor on the hunt for a psychotic assassin who has been killing Galway police officers, one by one.

In the Galway Silence

release date: Nov 13, 2018
In the Galway Silence
A New York Times Best Mystery of the Year: A hard-drinking detective deals with double murder and an elusive vigilante. After much tragedy and violence, Jack Taylor has at long last landed at contentment. Of course, he still knocks back too much Jameson and dabbles in uppers, but he has a new woman in his life, a freshly bought apartment, and little sign of trouble on the horizon—until a wealthy Frenchman comes to him with a request to investigate the double murder of his twin sons. Jack is meanwhile roped into looking after his girlfriend’s nine-year-old, and is in for a shock with the appearance of a character out of his past. The plot is one big chess game and all of the pieces seem to be moving at the behest of one dangerously mysterious player: a vigilante called “Silence,” because he’s the last thing his victims will ever hear. This new novel filled with suspense and pitch-dark humor comes from a Shamus Award-winning author who’s been called “hard to resist, with his aching Irish heart, silvery tongue, and bleak noir sensibility” (TheNew York Times Book Review). “The Godfather of the modern Irish crime novel.”—Irish Independent

The Ghosts of Galway

release date: Nov 07, 2017
The Ghosts of Galway
An ex-cop chases after a relic and a rogue priest: “They don’t come much tougher than Ken Bruen’s Irish roughneck, Jack Taylor.” —The New York Times Book Review Jack Taylor is recovering from a mistaken medical diagnosis and a failed suicide attempt. Now that he’s going to live after all, he’s going to need money, so using his ex-Garda credentials he manages to land a job as a night-shift security guard. But his Ukrainian boss has Jack in mind for a bit of off-the-books work. He wants Jack to find what some claim to be the first true book of heresy, the famously blasphemous “Red Book,” currently in the possession of a rogue priest hiding out in Galway after fleeing a position at the Vatican. Despite Jack’s distaste for priests of any stripe, the money is too good to turn down. Then Em, the many-faced woman who’s had a vise on Jack’s heart and mind for the past two years, reappears and turns out to be entangled with the story of the Red Book, too—leading Jack down ever more mysterious and lethal pathways—in this “dark and often hilarious” series by an author who’s won the Shamus, Macavity, and Barry Awards and been an Edgar Award finalist (Toronto Star). “Bruen is in top form, and, although everything Taylor touches seems to turn to ash, he embodies such humanity that readers will be unable to resist rooting for him.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) “The most mannered prose since the glory days of James Ellroy.” —Kirkus Reviews

A Fifth of Bruen

release date: Feb 28, 2017
A Fifth of Bruen
A collection of novellas and stories from Shamus Award winner Ken Bruen, author of the Jack Taylor series and the “godfather of the modern Irish crime novel” (The Irish Times). An Irishman with an ebullient love of life draws inspiration from the literature and poetry of death. A born loser with an “ex-wife, an ex-child, and no excuses” accompanies his alcoholic brother on a startling plunge into liberating despair. A self-styled vigilante avenges the death of his wife and child by waging a one-man war against the London underworld. A whiskey-sotted cleric sets out to battle his sexual demons with a resolve that borders on the malevolent. “Nobody writes like Ken Bruen,” says the New York Times Book Review, and here, the author of The Emerald Lie and The Guards offers a taste of his wide-ranging skills. With his acrid barstool wit, literary allusions, and gut-punching twists, Bruen captures the Irish state of mind with bracing authenticity. Now, enthusiasts of his long-running series featuring Irish PI Jack Taylor—seven of which have been adapted for the screen—and new fans alike can discover Bruen’s early works in an omnibus shaded with the crazy, violent, and melancholy poetry that has become his trademark. Hailed by the Los Angeles Book Review as one of “the most original and innovative noir voices of the last two decades,” Bruen is a two-time Shamus Award winner, an Edgar Award finalist, and a recipient of the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. A Fifth of Bruen includes: Funeral: Tales of Irish Morbidities, Martyrs, Shades of Grace, Sherry and Other Stories, All the Old Songs and Nothing to Lose, and The Time of Serena May &Upon the Third Cross.

The Emerald Lie

release date: Sep 06, 2016
The Emerald Lie
An Irish crime novel featuring ex-cop Jack Taylor from an author “among the most original and innovative noir voices of the last two decades” (Los Angeles Review of Books). In The Emerald Lie, the latest terror to be visited upon the dark Galway streets arrives in a most unusual form: a Cambridge graduate who becomes murderous over split infinitives, dangling modifiers, and any other sign of bad grammar. Meanwhile, Jack is approached by a grieving father with a pocketful of cash on offer if Jack will help exact revenge on those responsible for his daughter’s brutal rape and murder. Though hesitant to get involved, Jack agrees to get a read on the likely perpetrators. But Jack is soon derailed by the reappearance of Emily (previous alias: Emerald), the chameleon-like young woman who joined forces with Jack to take down her pedophile father in Green Hell and who remains passionate, clever, and utterly homicidal. She will use any sort of coercion to get Jack to conspire with her against the serial killer the Garda have nicknamed “the Grammarian,” but her most destructive obsession just might be Jack himself. “Nobody writes like Ken Bruen, with his ear for lilting Irish prose and his taste for the kind of gallows humor heard only at the foot of the gallows.” —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

Pimp

release date: Mar 15, 2016
Pimp
DEALING… PRODUCING… ALL IN A DAY’S WORK FOR A DRUGLORD. OR IN HOLLYWOOD. Ruined and on the lam, former drug kingpin Max Fisher stumbles upon the biggest discovery of his crooked life: a designer drug called PIMP that could put him back on top. Meanwhile, a certain femme fatale from his past is pursuing a comeback dream of her own, setting herself up in Hollywood as producer of a series based on her and Max’s life story. But even in La-La Land, happy endings are hard to come by, especially with both the cops and your enemies in the drug trade coming after you…

The Jack Taylor Series, Books 1-3

release date: Dec 15, 2015
The Jack Taylor Series, Books 1-3
Ken Bruen''s explosive Jack Taylor series, set in the streets of Galway, place him among the greats of modern crime fiction. Now, for the first time, the first three books in the series are available as an eBook bundle: The Guards Ousted from the Guards, Ireland''s police force, Jack Taylor is stuck in Galway with nothing to look forward to, until a dazzling woman walks into the bar with a strange request and a rumor about Jack''s talent for finding things. But when Jack agrees, he has little idea of what he''s getting into. The Killing of the Tinkers Jack''s back in Galway a year later, falling into his old patterns. But a big gypsy arrives one day during a moment of Jack''s clarity and changes all that. Young men of his band are turning up dead in the center of town. Jack agrees to look into it, knowing but not admitting that getting involved is going to lead to more bad than good. The Magdalen Martyrs Jack Taylor receives a call from Bill Cassell, a hard man that Jack owes a favor, asking him to track down a woman, now either dead or very old. When Jack drags his feet, Bill''s goons come for him and it becomes clear: finding this woman is his only chance to stay alive.

Green Hell

release date: Jul 07, 2015
Green Hell
“The Godfather of the modern Irish crime novel . . . writes in machine gun fashion . . . reminiscent of the work of Raymond Chandler and Peter Cheyenne.” —The Irish Times In Green Hell, Bruen’s dark angel of a protagonist has hit rock bottom: one of his best friends is dead, the other has stopped speaking to him; he has given up battling his addiction to alcohol and pills; and his firing from the Irish national police, the Guards, is ancient history. But Jack isn’t about to embark on a self-improvement plan. Instead, he has taken up a vigilante case against a respected professor of literature at the University of Galway who has a violent habit his friends in high places are only too happy to ignore. And when Jack rescues a preppy American student on a Rhodes Scholarship from a couple of kid thugs, he also unexpectedly gains a new sidekick, who abandons his thesis on Beckett to write a biography of Galway’s most magnetic rogue. Between pub crawls and violent outbursts, Jack’s vengeful plot against the professor soon spirals toward chaos. Enter Emerald, an edgy young Goth who could either be the answer to Jack’s problems, or the last ripped stitch in his undoing . . . “Taylor is a classic figure: an ex-cop turned seedy private eye . . . The book’s pleasure comes from listening to Taylor’s eloquent rants, studded with references to songs and books. His voice is wry and bittersweet, but somehow always hopeful.” —The Seattle Times

American Skin

release date: Jul 01, 2014
American Skin
At the beginning of Bruen’s dark tribute to the Irish fascination with the American dream, Stephen Blake is on the run after a bank heist, hoping to disappear in the desert near Tucson. Blake has the money and his girlfriend, Siobhan, knows how to launder it. All he has to do is change his accent and his skin and pass as an American. But John A. Stapleton, contract killer for the IRA, wants more than his share of the swag—and the psychotic Dade, obsessively devoted to the music of Tammy Wynette, is wandering the Southwest like a slaughter wagon. Noir master Bruen (The Guards) effortlessly moves his storyline back and forth in time, all his trademark pop-culture references in place, the banshee of existential agony wailing loudly.

Purgatory

release date: Nov 04, 2013
Purgatory
Former cop Jack Taylor investigates the work of a vigilante killer who has been sending him cryptic invitations to join him, an effort that jeopardizes Taylor''s livelihood, friends, and mental health.

Tower

release date: Mar 12, 2013
Tower
From opposite perspectives, two master authors spin a chilling tale Nick’s father is a stand-up Irishman—once a cop, now a security guard in the World Trade Center’s North Tower—but Nick does not take after his old man. He’s “got the bad drop,” meaning he only cares about booze, violence, and getting into trouble with his best friend, Todd, a low-level hood connected to the Boston mob. Todd inducts Nick into the world of petty crime. What starts as a bit of good fun—robbing apartments, scoring weed—turns serious as Todd gets closer to the inner circle. He may not love violence as much as Nick does, but he’s about to get more than his fair share. The first collaboration by beloved mystery authors Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman, Tower is as uncompromisingly brutal as the work that made them famous. They each tell the story once—Bruen from Nick’s perspective, and Coleman from Todd’s. Their narratives hinge on a single, blistering question: How can friendship survive in an underworld built on pain?

The White Trilogy

release date: Dec 18, 2012
The White Trilogy
“Hip, violent and funny vignettes of the mean streets of southeast London tie together this rowdy set of short novels” from the Irish crime writer (Publishers Weekly). At sixty-two, Chief Inspector Roberts is nearly too old to be a cop, but he makes up for his age with a ferocity that the younger detectives cannot match. After four decades on the force, he has a daughter who hates him, a wife who cheats, and a bank account that grows emptier every year. But on London’s darker streets, Roberts is a force to be reckoned with. With his partner, the gleefully brutal Detective Sergeant Brant, Roberts looks for every policeman’s dream: the White Arrest, a high-profile success that makes up for all their past failures. In A White Arrest, their target is a bat-wielding lunatic who knocks off drug dealers. In Taming the Alien, they hunt a mysterious hit man who earned his nickname by carrying out a hit while watching Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic. And in The McDead, Roberts and Brant set their sights on a cunning kingpin ruling London’s southeast side. Gripping and gritty, Ken Bruen’s White Trilogy is an unforgettable noir portrait of London’s seedy underworld.

The McDead

release date: Dec 18, 2012
The McDead
Chief Inspector Roberts combs London for the Irish gangster who killed his brother in “the most striking and original crime [series] of the decade” (British GQ). With his personal life all but flushed down some deep dark hole, Chief Inspector Roberts is waiting for the next punch to the heart. Working with his Irish partner, Detective Sergeant Brant, in a London precinct so dangerous even the pit bulls travel in pairs, Roberts is prepared for almost anything—just not the murder of his sad and wasted transient brother, Tony. The thug responsible for it is an ex-con named Logan who’s established himself as the south side’s smartest: a master of money laundering, quick hits, and outrunning the cops. His only weakness is his temper—and it’s about to bring his sordid empire tumbling down. Roberts is going to see to that . . . “Fans of British procedurals and noir novels will savor every speck of grit in this unrelenting crime novel.” —Booklist

A White Arrest

release date: Dec 18, 2012
A White Arrest
A pair of rough cops hunts for a career-making arrest in this first novel of the “hip, violent and funny” trilogy set in Southeast London (Publishers Weekly). After four decades at the precinct, and close to forcible retirement, all London’s Chief Inspector Roberts has to show for it is a hateful daughter, a faithless wife, and a dwindling bank account. With his partner, the bullying Irish Detective Sergeant Brant, Roberts is still looking for every cop’s badge of honor: the White Arrest—that career-changing bust that could make them chat show heroes. Or least wipe their dirty slates clean. And they have a lot to work with right now . . . A racist Death Wish–inspired street gang is lynching drug dealers from Brixton lampposts. And in the quiet suburb of Balham, a bat-wielding lunatic has been bashing in the skulls of a schoolboys’ cricket team. With any luck Roberts and Brant will make the front page—by any means necessary. With two unforgettable—and arguably irredeemable—tough London cops, award-winning author Ken Bruen again proves he’s “become the crime novelist to read” (George Pelecanos).

Taming the Alien

release date: Dec 18, 2012
Taming the Alien
Cops Roberts and Brant come back swinging in book two of the “hip, violent and funny” crime novel trilogy set on “the mean streets of southeast London” (Publishers Weekly). South London’s Chief Inspector Roberts and his partner, the reckless and thuggish Irish Detective Sergeant Brant, are at odds with who has it worse: Roberts, with a mortgage in Dulwich, a pregnant daughter in boarding school, and a dire medical diagnosis; or Brant, relegated to desk duty after getting knifed in the back, and living to see his complete Ed McBain collection destroyed by a psycho with a baseball bat. That particular nut job has been dubbed the Alien, a hit man so named for carrying out a skull-smashing job while watching Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic, and hanging around in the spatter to finish the film. But this time the carnage isn’t confined to southeast London. As Brant heads to New York by way of Dublin to catch the couple who knifed him and the Alien goes to San Francisco to pay a surprise visit to his former girlfriend, Bruen’s broad, brutal canvas once again shows why he’s been hailed as one of “the most original and innovative noir voices of the last two decades” (Los Angeles Times Book Review).

The Book of Virtue

release date: Nov 12, 2012
The Book of Virtue
With his hated father dead, a man’s life takes a dangerous turn. He doesn’t cry when his father, Frank, dies. The old man was an abusive, self-absorbed drunk, and when cancer takes him to his deathbed, his son is there to watch. At Frank’s final moment he leans over and whispers in his ear, letting the dying man know that he’s glad to see him go. His only inheritance is a heavy, leather-bound book. He has never seen it before, and has trouble believing that his brutal, ignorant father ever touched something so beautiful. But the volume is well-thumbed, full of aphorisms and advice written in the dead man’s hand. Soon after he reads it, the son finds his life spiraling out of control. If he doesn’t want to follow Daddy to the grave, he had best heed the lessons of the book. The Bibliomysteries are a series of short tales about deadly books, by top mystery authors.

Slide

release date: Feb 15, 2016
Slide
Max Fisher used to run a computer company; Angela Petrakos was his assistant and mistress. But that was last year. Now Max is reinventing himself as a hip-hop crack dealer and Angela’s back in Ireland, hooking up with a would-be record-setter ... in the field of serial killing. Will their paths cross again? What do you think?

The Max

release date: Feb 15, 2016
The Max
When last we saw Max Fisher and Angela Petrakos, Max was being arrested by the NYPD for drug trafficking and Angela was fleeing the country in the wake of a brutal murder. Now both are headed for eye-opening encounters with the law - Max in the cell blocks of Attica, Angela in a quaint little prison on the Greek island of Lesbos ...

Headstone

release date: Oct 04, 2011
Headstone
A dark, edgy novel from a master of Irish crime fiction who “is threatening to become a mass cult figure in the U.S. as well as a critical favorite” (The Atlantic). An elderly priest is nearly beaten to death. A special-needs boy is brutally attacked. Evil has many guises, and private investigator Jack Taylor has encountered most of them. But nothing before has ever truly terrified him until he confronts a group calling itself Headstone, responsible for a series of random violent crimes in Galway, Ireland. As Headstone barrels along its deadly path right to the center of Taylor’s life, he will need to call upon his own capacity for brutality in order to stop them, in this suspenseful novel from a writer called “a Celtic Dashiell Hammett” (The Philadelphia Inquirer). “A nonstop rampage of intrigue, mayhem, lunacy and dark-dark-dark humor.” —Shelf Awareness

Her Last Call to Louis MacNeice

release date: Oct 04, 2011
Her Last Call to Louis MacNeice
The author of Blitz and the Jack Taylor novels delivers a “fast-paced, tough and explosive” tale of a killer couple (The Irish Times). Cooper likes Ed McBain novels, action movies, and robbing banks. Released from prison, he’s back on the outside, and in business with another former con. They call themselves “Righteous Repo.” It’s so legit they even have an accountant. It’s decent work, but not as lucrative as the bank jobs they still pull on the side. Not as stimulating, either. But nothing gets Cooper’s blood pumping faster than Cassie—an easy, all-American beauty with a bent for metaphysics, Irish poets, and taking risks. Cassie’s also a professional shoplifter, slumming at a low-end South London shop when Cooper first lays eyes on her. After a single hookup comes the catch: Now that Cooper’s had her, he’s not allowed to touch another woman. He thinks she’s quite a joker until he wakes up and finds Cassie’s note. She drugged him, stole his pistol and his cash, and left him with another warning: She’s not through with him. Not by a long shot. Only death will keep her away, so death it must be. Cooper and Cassie are made for each other. From the award-winning author of the Jack Taylor novels, Her Last Call to Louis MacNeice delivers “pulp with an A level” (The Guardian), once again confirming Bruen as “the crime novelist to read” (George Pelacanos).

Rilke on Black

release date: Oct 04, 2011
Rilke on Black
A poorly planned kidnapping turns bloody Lisa is too good-looking not to be trouble. Nick falls for her as soon as he meets the lithe young black woman, and though their drug-fueled relationship quickly turns toxic, he can’t stop wanting her. In a flash, she’s burnt through his savings and cost him his job, so she proposes a kidnapping scheme to reinvigorate their bank accounts. Nick is too smart to think it’s a good idea, but too stupid to say no. The target is Ronald Baldwin, a local businessman of moderate wealth and infinite pretension, whose obsession with the poet Rilke borders on madness. For backup, Nick invites along Dex, his psychopathic across-the-street neighbor. With three amateur criminals as unhinged as those in this group, there’s no doubt that blood will be shed. The only questions are, who will fire the first shot, and who will fire the last?

The Galway Reflections

release date: Aug 01, 2021
The Galway Reflections
Collection of mystery short stories, non-fiction and poetry
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