Ken Bruen

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Ken Bruen was born in Galway, Ireland, in 1951. He spent many years teaching English around the world before moving to England after a traumatic arrest and imprisonment in Brazil following a bar fight. Bruen published a number of novels before achieving international success with The Guards (2001). The novel’s anti-hero, Jack Taylor, is also an anti-detective, or at least unofficial, unlicensed detective similar to Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins, James Sallis’s Lew Griffin and George Pelecanos’s Nick Stefanos. The Guards was followed by ten more Jack Taylor novels, the most recent, Green Hell, published in July, 2015. The unlicensed detectives of fiction share a number of characteristics in common – chiefly alcoholism – but also a low or even zero success rate, an inclination toward violence and a tendency to live on the margins of society. Bruen’s novels are highly idiosyncratic in style, with the frequent appearance of lists of music books, or simply names, professions or adjectives. Plot is largely insignificant and the novels concentrate on the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger, the effects of sudden wealth and then its loss on society and, in particular, the importance of the Catholic Church on the nation and on individuals. Bruen is one of the most original writers in current detective fiction.