Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Devil -- Ken Bruen

You think Jack Taylor's had tough adversaries before? You think things couldn't get any worse? Think again. This time he's not up against just any adversary. He's up against The Adversary. And while some people might like to think it's all a metaphor, there's just no way (unless Taylor's fantasizing the third-person sections of the novel, which I suppose is possible since he could be fantasizing the rest of it, too) that Mr. K is anyone other than old Scratch himself.

Mr. K has it in for Taylor because Jack has occasionally thwarted his little projects in the past, so just when Jack's approaching redemption (he's even quit smoking) and entry into the U. S. of A., Mr. K strikes. Jack's refused entry, and back in Galway, things go really bad. Even worse than before, and if you've read the previous books in the series, you know how bad that is. It's so bad that before it's over, Jack is smoking again. Ireland and the world are in terrible shape, suffering is everywhere, and Jack's determined to set things right.

In spite of all the misery on display, the book's almost jaunty, thanks to Bruen's patented post-modern style. And there's a lot more to like. Bruen can be counted on to mention lots of great music and a lot of my favorite writers. This time he even mentions his own work. Twice. (Jack picks up a DVD of London Boulevard, and someone recommends that Jack read Sanctuary.) I have no idea where Bruen can take Jack after this one, unless Mr. K turns up again, but wherever it is, I'll be there.

One thing. The ending. I'm still mulling that over. I know that Bruen has a doctorate in metaphysics, and whenever I heard that word, I'm reminded of Lord Byron's comment on Coleridge, who, according to Bryon was "explaining metaphysics to the nation -- I wish he would explain his explanation." Maybe someone will explain things to me one of these days.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You know the line, "Forget it Jake. It's Chinatown." ?

It's Bruen. Let it go at that.

I'll definitely be along for the next ride.