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Dramatist av Ken Bruen
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Dramatist (urspr publ 2004; utgåvan 2004)

av Ken Bruen (Författare)

Serier: Jack Taylor (4)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3021366,154 (3.92)31
Seems impossible, but Jack Taylor is sober-off booze, pills, powder, and nearly off cigarettes, too. The main reason he's been able to keep clean: his dealer's in jail, which leaves Jack without a source. When that dealer calls him to Dublin and asks a favor in the soiled, sordid visiting room of Mountjoy Prison, Jack wants to tell him to take a flying leap. But he doesn't-can't, because the dealer's sister is dead, and the guards have called it "death by misadventure." The dealer knows that can't be true and begs Jack to have a look, check around, see what he can find out. It's exactly what Jack does, with varying levels of success, to make a living. But he's reluctant, maybe because of who's asking or maybe because of the bad feeling growing in his gut. Never one to give in to bad feelings or common sense, Jack agrees to the favor, though he can't possibly know the shocking, deadly consequences he has set in motion. But he and everyone he holds dear will find out soon, sooner than anyone knows, in the lean and lethal fourth entry in Ken Bruen's award-winning Jack Taylor series.… (mer)
Medlem:paulobk
Titel:Dramatist
Författare:Ken Bruen (Författare)
Info:Brandon (2004), 237 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:***1/2
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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The Dramatist av Ken Bruen (2004)

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This is more a series that explores the psyche of the tormented Jack Taylor than a mystery series. We all know that Jack has more demons than two ordinary people. But Jack hasn't too much trouble with the mystery of finding the killer of two girls but he does have a lot of trouble dealing with issues from his past. He is clean and sober through most of the book until a catastrophic event at the end changes everything. I love Jack and Ken Bruen does a wonderful job of creating this marvellous character. I can't wait for the next one. ( )
  Romonko | Apr 22, 2020 |
Private investigator and former policeman Jack Taylor is back for his fourth case - and he's clean and sober for once! His former dealer asks him to investigate the death of his sister. She was found dead down some stairs - below her a play by John Millington Synge with some very strange handwritten annotations. First everything looks like an unhappy accident. When a second girl dies the same way, Jack Taylor, who at the same time struggles with his private life, with the shadows of his past, takes the job seriously.

Even in book number 4 I still sympathize with the protagonist. His battle against his addictions, the tense relationships to his mother and his (former) love - everything is decribed in a very dry way without frills. And in all that human darkness there shines a little light of hope in the form of a three year-old girl with down syndrome - Taylor's godchild, whose light won't last for long. And the reader closes the book with the feeling that the real drama for Taylor has only started to spread out. ( )
  PersephonesLibrary | Apr 13, 2013 |
Beautifully written but very dark. ( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
Roughly as many friends told me I would love Ken Bruen as told me I wouldn’t. I would love him because he is a brilliant writer or I wouldn’t because noir is not really my thing and/or I wouldn’t ‘get’ him.

‘They’ (or half of them anyway) were right. I loved The Dramatist.

It is the fourth novel in a series featuring Jack Taylor, former policeman in the Irish Guarda with a self-destructive personality that manifests itself most obviously in a series of addictions (alcohol, booze, nicotine) and poor handling of personal relationships. At the start of The Dramatist he is newly sober (through choice) and free of illegal drugs (because his cocaine dealer is in prison). Ostensibly the plot is driven by Taylor being asked by said drug dealer to investigate the death of his sister which has been ruled an accident by police. But really it is just the continuing story of Jack’s meandering, blighted life.

I don’t know how to pitch that the story of one Irish drunk’s life is worth reading so you’ll just have to trust me. Despite the fact that Jack’s investigation runs to not much more than a couple of phone calls and badgering one of his old colleagues a few times there is a load going on here and it’s all captivating. With black ‘you should feel guilty for laughing’ humour Jack struggles with his addictions, entangles himself with women, a priest and some nasty vigilantes and observes the political and social changes in his world in a way that makes it impossible to stop reading. I should also point out that although I haven’t read the first three books in the series there are enough reminiscences to ensure I didn’t feel lost.

The story is told in Jack’s first-person point of view which is normally not something I enjoy but is well-suited here as it allows us to see the best and the worst of Jack who may not be likable but is compelling. Friends, of the kind that don’t mind being dismissed most of the time, and the inevitable enemies swirl in and around Jack’s life. Sometimes he is nice to them, like the lovely moment when he tries to cheer up the elderly lady who runs the small hotel he lives in, but more often he isn’t, because it just doesn’t come naturally. All of them though are totally believable and I really did get sucked into this world. I was going to say ‘drawn into’ but that would suggest I had a choice and after the first 10 minutes or so I had to keep listening.

To be fair the other half of my friends were right too, I don’t always enjoy noir. It’s not the darkness of the subject I mind nearly as much as when there is absolute certainty from the outset that the darkness will prevail. Where there is certainty there is boredom for me as a reader. I like most of all to be kept wondering. What Bruen does to perfection with The Dramatist is tease readers with the possibility that things might not end in darkness after all. While there are events in the story that are very dark indeed there are also incidents in which things for Jack border on peachy and therein lies the tantalising hook. Will this incident trigger his downward spiral? Or that one? Or might there not be a downturn at all? Until the last moment of the book I didn’t know and that’s all I can ask.

It was the end that tipped the book from good to great for me. It’s 36 hours since I uttered a loud “no” upon hearing the completely unexpected event and I still can’t quite rid myself of a lingering sadness. But I also know that the ending was the perfect one for the book and that’s such a rare thing to find that I will savour it, sadness and all. ( )
1 rösta bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
If I learned anything from reading Ken Bruen’s The Dramatist, it’s that Ireland is a crap hole. Not really, but that’s the way it seems after reading this Noir-ish mystery novel. It’s all the protagonist’s fault. His name is Jack Taylor, and he used to be a guard (the Irish term for a policeman). He got kicked out a few years ago and now he’s a self-destructive and guilt-wracked drunkard, cocaine addict, and reluctant sometimes-P.I. Most of his friends and acquaintances are equally depressing. Indeed, it seems as though everyone on the Emerald Isle is riding the long downward slide of despair. Or maybe it’s just the main character’s nihilistic world view seeping into the narration. By all rights old Jack should have killed himself two books ago. No luck on that front, though. The Dramatist is the fourth book of what is now a nine book series. Hard to imagine how Bruen could eek enough self-destruction out of the character to fill five more books, but there you go.

When the story begins, Jack is riding a wave of good fortune. He’s been sober for six months—no booze, no cocaine, only five cigarettes a day and lots and lots of coffee. He’s even attending mass regularly. But before you go getting all excited about Jack’s new lease on life, wait a tick until you hear the reason for the new-found sobriety. Turns out his cocaine dealer was sent to prison for ten years, and he couldn’t find another dealer. Therefore he was forced to quit, and while he was at it, he thought he’d try getting off the sauce, too. So now ‘ole Jack’s crap-tastic life is just a little less crap. But this is a Ken Bruen novel, so you know things can only go downward from here.

Jack’s only friends in the world are a married couple that run a bar. They have a daughter, a three year old Downs syndrome child whom Jack babysits from time to time. It was through these friends that Jack met his drug dealer (some friends, right?), and it is also through them he gets word that this same drug dealer wants to talk to him. So against his better judgment, he makes the trip to Dublin and the prison where this lowlife is incarcerated. He tells Jack that his sister, a college student back at the local university, recently died from a fall down a flight of stairs. It’s been ruled an accident by the police, but he doesn’t think their explanation holds water. He wants Jack to investigate, and applies a little leverage (otherwise known as money) to make him take the job.

So off Jack goes to impersonate insurance men and police officers and rummage through the muck of what’s left of a promising young girl’s life. During the course of his investigation he finds two disturbing things: 1) the girl was found with a book by John Millington Synge beneath her body (Synge was an Irish dramatist, author, and poet who played a large role in the Irish Literary Revival of the late 1800s, early 1900s), and 2) there was another girl who died days earlier from a fall down a flight of steps, and wouldn’t you know it? There was a copy of Synge found underneath her body as well. Looks like there’s a serial killer on the loose!

Other events come into play as Jack continues to investigate. There’s a vigilante group known as the Pikemen that begin assaulting citizens for perceived crimes, and they try (unsuccessfully) to recruit Jack. He also starts dating a middle-aged woman and (shocker of all shockers) strikes up a healthy relationship with her. As his investigation progresses, it becomes apparent that these murders are motivated by something within Synge’s work, prompting Jack to do a lot of research and reading on the subject. There’s some other stuff in there too, but in the process Jack manages to sleuth out the killer and bring him to justice. I won’t tell you the how’s and why’s of it all, ‘cos that would spoil the surprise.

But Bruen can’t leave it at that. After all, this is Noir—or something close to it. Things can’t end happily. And since this is Jack Taylor-style Noir, Bruen has to trot out a backhoe in order to handle all the crap he heaps on Jack’s head. One day after things have cooled off, Jack is babysitting his friends’ little Downs syndrome girl. His attention is momentarily drawn to something else, and before he knows it the little girl has toddled out the open window, falling several stories to the pavement below. No joke.

I mean, WTF?! Really, Ken? You had to kill off the mentally challenged baby at the end of your story? You couldn’t just, I don’t know, have Jack’s new relationship go sour? Couldn’t have him go on a bender and fall off the wagon? You had to go that route? Of all of the things you could have possibly done, you had to choose to kill off the kid with Down’s syndrome? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pissed because you killed off a handicapped baby. I’m pissed because you did it so pointlessly. It had no bearing on the story as a whole; it was only a vehicle with which to make Jack’s life suck harder.

And speaking of that, did you notice how at the beginning I called in a “Noir-ish” mystery? Noir is one of the “in” terms in literature these days (right below “young adult”, “dystopia”, and “paranormal”), and, like most literary fads, the term has been applied to a far-ranging array of works that perhaps don’t deserve the epithet. Contrary to popular belief, Noir is not the idea that the world is utter crap. Modern “noir” has a tendency to devolve into a treatise on why our entire existence is a fruitless endeavor full of suckitude. But that’s not Noir. That’s Nihilism. Noir is the idea that our base human emotions (fear, jealousy, lust) lead to the downfall of man, that life sucks because of our own human failings. That’s the difference. It’s not cruel and meaningless misfortunes heaped upon one another ad nauseum, and it’s not a little handicapped girl falling out of a window at the end of a story for no other reason than to make the main character’s life more miserable.

And that brings me to my next point. What is it with mystery authors these days? It’s like they’re competing to see who can create the most screwed up protagonists they can. I know I’m only one reader, and so my opinion might as well be mud, but if any of you authors are out there and reading this review, please-oh-please just knock it off. Realistic, flawed characters are great. I love them. But when your character is so broken he can hardly function (honestly, by all rights Jack Taylor should have offed himself a long time ago), it becomes just a wee bit tedious. I’m not saying that I want my protagonists to be all farts and sunshine, I just want you to tone it down a little bit. Can you do that for me? Or at least say you’ll try? I’d settle for that at this point.

With all this bitching and moaning I suppose most of you are thinking that I didn’t like the book—but I did. I really did. Bruen is an amazing writer. His voice, his style, his diction, his characterization, his dialogue, his imagery, they’re all top notch. He’s got a real talent for mood and aura. When it comes to dark mysteries, he’s one of the best. There were just some things that kept me from enjoying the novel to its fullest. You’ve heard a couple reasons already, but the mystery portion of the book I felt was also a little rushed. Not enough investigation went on for my tastes. I know it was a short book, and there’s only so much investigation you can get into something this length (especially when most of your time is spent building your protagonist up just so you can knock him down again), but I couldn’t help but feel like it needed to be longer. This one gets three stars from me. I’m not going swear off Ken Bruen novels or anything, but I do think I’ll pass on the next Jack Taylor installment. I don’t even want to know what new misfortune is waiting for poor Jack.

http://readabookonce.blogspot.com/2012/04/review-dramatist-by-ken-bruen-35.html ( )
  WillyMammoth | Apr 12, 2012 |
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Seems impossible, but Jack Taylor is sober-off booze, pills, powder, and nearly off cigarettes, too. The main reason he's been able to keep clean: his dealer's in jail, which leaves Jack without a source. When that dealer calls him to Dublin and asks a favor in the soiled, sordid visiting room of Mountjoy Prison, Jack wants to tell him to take a flying leap. But he doesn't-can't, because the dealer's sister is dead, and the guards have called it "death by misadventure." The dealer knows that can't be true and begs Jack to have a look, check around, see what he can find out. It's exactly what Jack does, with varying levels of success, to make a living. But he's reluctant, maybe because of who's asking or maybe because of the bad feeling growing in his gut. Never one to give in to bad feelings or common sense, Jack agrees to the favor, though he can't possibly know the shocking, deadly consequences he has set in motion. But he and everyone he holds dear will find out soon, sooner than anyone knows, in the lean and lethal fourth entry in Ken Bruen's award-winning Jack Taylor series.

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