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Jack Taylor Books In Order

Publication Order of Jack Taylor Books

The Guards (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Killing of the Tinkers (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Magdalen Martyrs (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dramatist (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dead Room (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Priest (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cross (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sanctuary (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Devil (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Headstone (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Purgatory (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Green Hell (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Emerald Lie (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


The Jack Taylor Series by Ken Bruen is the brainchild of the author from the year 2001. With 11 books released in the series till date, the series is about the protagonist Jack Taylor who is a cop turned private eye in Ireland.

The series begins with “The Guards” released in the year 2001, where the protagonist is initially a member of the Gardaí, which is the Irish police force. Sincere to his job in the force, he flags a speeding politician one day for a traffic violation. But soon the politician touches Taylor’s nerves, and this leads to an assault from Taylor’s side which makes him lose his job in the Gardaí. With a drinking problem and no job to live for, Jack Taylor soon turns into a private eye, but rather reluctantly at first.

Set in an Ireland where there are almost no private investigators, Ken Bruen’s character soon finds himself solving and attending cases that the Gardaí never took due to fear of failure. With old school detective skills and a maverick attitude and way of proceeding about matters, Jack soon finds himself a case more challenging than what he has ever attempted while in the force.

“The Guards” is the opening book of the Jack Taylor series in which Taylor is given his first case for private investigation by Anne Henderson, to find her missing teenage daughter. With help from some of his contacts and friends in the Gardaí, Taylor soon narrows down his suspect list to a few but prominent men in the business circle. Ken Bruen does an amazing job in the book by taking things in two parallel streams. While the plot in the book never wavers and focuses on finding the missing girl, readers discover Jack Taylor for the man he is. A brilliant detective with astounding abilities, Jack Taylor has the caliber to be one of the best detectives in Ireland. But his worldly skills are accompanied by a fatal flaw, which is his affinity to alchohol and the toll it takes on his pursuits.

Though Taylor is seen to be initially reluctant to accept a case where the Gardaí are fearful to take it, he soon discovers that his arsenal of skills developed from years of service in the force is perfect for the job of a private detective. With the plot thickening in the book, where the missing daughter is linked to a number of “suicides” of teenage girls in the region, Taylor soon uncovers a trail with his friend Sutton from the force. The trail inevitably leads to Ford, a sleazy businessman. With a number of pornographic videos linking the girls discovered as evidence from Ford’s property, the book establishes Jack Taylor as a great private investigator in Galway and paves the way for the next 10 books in the series. “The Guards” received two best novel awards and a best mystery novel award in the year 2004.

With the success that “The Guards” saw and the appreciation it received, Ken Bruens released the second installment of the series with “The Killing of the Tinkers”. The book starts with Taylor leaving Galway for London to start afresh. But with his drinking problem he soon reaches a phase of depression in his life and slinks back to Galway. Here he is met by Sweeper Tinker, who implores him to stop the serial killer in loose, set on a spree of killing the his gypsy clansmen. But with Jack facing a bigger problem because of the many pints he is used to gulping down, he deviates from the facts and finishes the case by finding the wrong man.

This gradually opens Jack’s eyes and gets him to slow down on the drinking front, and finally catch the serial killer. If “The Guards” focused on establishing Jack Taylor as a great detective, the second book portrays him as an even greater drunkard who puts the problem of sourcing his next pint in front of any case. Inevitably, he sees the harm this does to him physically and mentally and puts his career in a state of jeopardy, before he solves the case.

Jack’s antics when he is not focusing his worldly powers on solving a case can get a little tiresome. Though the book does waver from the plot occasionally where the only aim of the detective is to source a drink, it certainly does justice to the maverick style that Jack Taylor is famous for. With 2 awards for the best novel in 2005, the Jack Taylor series became one of the most sought after mystery novel series.

The 11th and most recent book of the Jack Taylor Series is tilted the “Green Hell”. The plot involves Jack, drunk as ever, in the midst of another case involving 2 key men, a scholar and a professor. With a woman who might finally be the answer to the readers’ prayers to put an end to Jack’s drinking issue, the book has received humongous praises from all its fans.

The Jack Taylor novels were most popular during the year 2005-2006 while it started receiving awards. It was in the year 2010 that a television series was started which followed the novels. The role of Taylor was played by Iain Glen, and was not as successful as the books were. However the series was quite popular at the time of release and was widely received in Ireland. While the television series received mixed reviews, mainly because of Glen’s voice-overs, this did not stop the series from becoming widely followed by the novel fans. This subsequently led to its release in Belgium and the United Kingdom. The series had a total of 6 episodes and is now available in Netflix as well as on DVDs.

For mystery novel fans who loved Agatha Christy’s Hercule Poirot to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, the Jack Taylor Series is a must read. The unconventional way of solving cases, combined with fits of temper and drinking coming from the protagonist’s side, the books can keep you hooked and make you read like there is no tomorrow. Ken Bruen has done an excellent job in crafting this character, and the series certainly deserves the many awards and accolades it was presented over the years.

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