The Mysterious Press
The Mysterious Press
The Mysterious Press

The Ghosts of Galway

by Ken Bruen

From Ireland’s most lyrical crime fiction writer, the latest installment in this addictive series pits “perpetually falling Irish angel Jack Taylor” (Mystery Scene) against a dangerous band of heretics.

  • Imprint The Mysterious Press
  • Page Count 352
  • Publication Date November 06, 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2863-8
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $16.00
  • Imprint The Mysterious Press
  • Page Count 336
  • Publication Date November 07, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2733-4
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $25.00

About the Book

Ken Bruen is a singular voice in crime fiction “with his ear for lilting Irish prose and his taste for the kind of gallows humor heard only at the foot of the gallows” (New York Times Book Review). In The Ghosts of Galway, he brings those elegiac talents to bear on a case involving a famously blasphemous red book and Bruen’s equally profane antihero Jack Taylor. As well-versed in politics, pop culture, and crime fiction as he is ill-fated in life, Jack Taylor is recovering from a mistaken medical diagnosis and a failed suicide attempt. In need of money, and with former cop on his resume, Jack has been hired as a night-shift security guard. But his Ukrainian boss has Jack in mind for some off-the-books work. He wants Jack to find what some claim to be the first true book of heresy, The Red Book, currently in the possession of a rogue priest who is hiding out in Galway after fleeing a position at the Vatican. Despite Jack’s distaste for priests of any stripe, the money is too good to turn down. Em, the many-faced woman who has had a vise on Jack’s heart and mind for the past two years, reappears and turns out to be entangled with the story of The Red Book, too, leading Jack down evermore mysterious and lethal pathways.

It seems all sides are angling for a piece of Jack Taylor, but as The Ghosts of Galway twists toward a violent end, he is increasingly plagued by ghosts—by the disposable and disposed of in a city filled with as much darkness as the deepest corners of Jack’s own mind.

Praise for The Ghosts of Galway

“Events unfold in the most mannered prose since the glory days of James Ellroy against the distant echoes of Donald Trump’s shockingly successful presidential campaign . . . Dispensing with the genre’s customary pleasures . . . Bruen still manages to deliver prose that’s both tough and elegiac.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Galway is darker than ever here, and the ghosts that haunt Jack—all the people he ever cared for—grow in number.” —Booklist

“Bruen’s visceral writing and anger (at politicians and clergy) brings a fierce, almost surreal intensity to this mad story of a missing heretical book, stolen from the Vatican, that turns up in Galway.”—Metro News (UK), “The killer thrillers: it’s been a great year for crime novels”

“Bruen’s prose has the immediacy you would expect from a noir novel. Many people are choosing non-genre fiction to help them deal with the current horrific political reality, but books like The Ghosts of Galway, and noir specifically, should really be at the top of their reading lists. Noir is uniquely capable of responding to the intersections of criminality and politics, of sucking the grime to the surface while pulling the seamy superstructure back down to earth. While Bruen doesn’t offer much hope or solutions, there is nothing fake in his unfiltered vision of our violent world.”—Lucas Spiro, Arts Fuse

Praise for Ken Bruen:

“Ken Bruen is hard to resist, with his aching Irish heart, silvery tongue, and bleak noir sensibility—Bruen writes with extraordinary delicacy about a man driven to acts of violence out of wild grief and a fierce sense of guilt.” —Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review, on The Dramatist

“Bruen is an original, grimly hilarious and gloriously Irish.” —Patrick Anderson, Washington Post, on The Guards

“Bruen is a brilliant, lyrical, deeply moving writer who can make you laugh and cry in the same paragraph and whose characters are so sharply portrayed that they almost walk off the page at you. If you like Ian Rankin, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, and the like, Bruen is definitely a writer to reckon with.” —Denver Post, on The Guards

“Bruen’s furious, hard-boiled prose, chopped down to its trademark essence, never fails to astonish . . . among the finest noir stylists of his generation.” —Publishers Weekly, on Calibre

“Bruen’s tommy-gun prose, lacerating dialogue, and hard-boiled worldview combine to provide entertainment of high order in dealing with low instincts.” —New York Daily News, on The Devil

“When I first read Ken’s novels, the nature of his crime really appealed to me, it seems to me to be very quintessentially Irish and he writes great characters and great plotlines . . . Jack’s a very troubled, tortured soul but I always think he’s fundamentally a moral and a good man and he’s willing to take the fight against the powerful and put himself in a line in a way that very few people would or could.” —Iain Glen


Up a shabby set of stairs then knocked on 201. It opened almost immediately. Not sure what I was expecting, probably a whiskey refugee and old.


Young guy, in his early thirties, long brown hair, bland face, dressed in a gray track suit. Then I was falling backward from a punch. He was about to follow through with a kick but I grabbed that and flipped him, then, getting up, I dragged him by his hair into the room, kicked the door shut, said,

“Stay down or I will break your fucking neck.”

The introductions out of the way, I looked round the room.


Thomas Merton would have been comfortable with it. I asked,

“Where is the book?”

Up close he didn’t seem as young. He picked himself up, slowly, watching my boots carefully, asked,

“Are you working for the church?”

I nearly laughed but went,

“I represent the private sector.”

He measured me, definitely found me wanting, but decided further tussle was wasted. Said,

“The book is gone.”

So I did what you do with a stubborn priest; I walloped him.