From the back of the book:
Still stinging from his unceremonious ouster from the Garda Síochána—the Guards, Ireland’s police force—and staring at the world through the smoky bottom of his beer mug, Jack Taylor is stuck in Galway with nothing to look forward to. In his sober moments Jack aspires to become Ireland’s best private investigator, not to mention its first—Irish history, full of betrayal and espionage, discourages any profession so closely related to informing. But in truth Jack is teetering on the brink of his life’s sharpest edges, his memories of the past cutting deep into his soul and his prospects for the future nonexistent.
Nonexistent, that is, until a dazzling woman walks into the bar with a strange request and a rumor about Jack’s talent for finding things. Odds are he won’t be able to climb off his barstool long enough to get involved with his radiant new client, but when he surprises himself by getting hired, Jack has little idea of what he’s getting into.
This is the third time I've read THE GUARDS and it just keeps getting better.
Jack Taylor, dishonorably discharged from the guards after having physically assaulted a member of high standing succumbs further to the allure of the drink; that bottomless pit of clouded reality seen through shot and pint glasses alike.
It's this downfall that leads to his new profession, albeit and informal one - that of a private detective. His office; the pub. His clientele; the downright desperate. Enter Ann, an attractive woman who is wanting justice for her deceased 16yr old daughter - a suspected suicide which turns out to be anything but once Jack does a little digging. The patterns emerge, the guilty are judged, and Jack has blood on his hands.
There is something about the Jack Taylor series that keeps me coming back for more. Jack, a tainted soul with good intentions (when it suits) is an addictive character - both literally and fictionally. His constant ability to made bad from good makes for an enthralling read. You know he's going to fall off the wagon - the only question is, how hard? Plenty hard.
THE GUARDS could easily be a one-and-done read but I'm pleased Ken Bruen continued Taylor's slow self inflicted demise over many volumes. Next up in my Jack Taylor series re-read THE KILLING OF THE TINKERS.