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The Killing Of The Tinkers (Jack Taylor #2)

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,814 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews
When Jack Taylor blew town at the end of The Guards his alcoholism was a distant memory and sober dreams of a new life in London were shining in his eyes. In the opening pages of The Killing of the Tinkers, Jack's back in Galway a year later with a new leather jacket on his back, a pack of smokes in his pocket, a few grams of coke in his waistband, and a pint of Guinness o ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Minotaur (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,842)
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Jan 30, 2015 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Continuing on from THE GUARDS, my rereading of Ken Bruen's penultimate series continues to bare fruit with THE KILLING OF THE TINKERS being another top read.

Jack progresses from mere alcoholic with a good natured if somewhat destructive personality to a full blown drug addict - coke the poison which pumps it's devilishly smooth disguised death in his very veins. It adds another affliction to the already well afflicted - and that's part of the charm isn't it? Jack's not meant to be a nice man, h
Aug 23, 2010 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So he's now addicted to coke (just finshed the first chapter). I'm so happy I'm not Jack Taylor.

So he has now lost most of his teeth and his balls are black and blue - I refer you to my previous sentence.

Finished it now. Not sure about these. Its great that the investigations aren’t solved with the precision of a CSI investigation. But that said I’d like a little more detecting from Jack. And it always good to have a hero that is flawed but there are limits to the level of Jack bashing I can enj
Dec 26, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book in Bruen's "Jack Taylor" series (following the Shamus-winner THE GUARDS) picks up with ex-Garda Taylor returning from London in even worse shape than when we last saw him (hard to believe) and asked to help find out who's been murdering Galway's gypsies. THE KILLING OF THE TINKERS is literate, darkly poetic, melancholy, and absolutely brutal. You can almost wring Irish Whiskey out of its pages.
K.A. Laity
Jan 03, 2013 K.A. Laity rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The latest Bruen I’ve read is actually the second Jack Taylor book, after The Guards. For those keeping score at home, this is when Taylor loses his teeth (mark that on your Jack Taylor Injury Scorecard, a big 50 points). I can’t really explain why I haven’t tried to read them in order; I suppose it’s because if I made a deliberate effort to put them all in order I would read them through in one great orgy of words until they were all done and then where would I be? Probably standing on the stre ...more
Shirley Schwartz
Oct 08, 2015 Shirley Schwartz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Noir at it's Irish best! Ken Bruen is an author of few words. His Jack Taylor books are short, succinct and directly to the point, and let me tell you, a lot happens in between the covers of his books. Jack Taylor is my new favourite anti-hero. He's a hard drinking, hard-scrabble and surprisingly literary PI who lives in Galway, Ireland. This is the second book in the series and Jack is coming back to Galway after a year in London. He left because his life was in a real mess and he had many peop ...more
May 11, 2015 Ammar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jack Taylor is back. Back from London with a leather jacket. A new man on coke. one line after another. The burden of the past in The Guards the 1st book gives the background to this sequel.

A new case. tinkers are being killed. Tinkers or gypsies. Clans that move between grounds. Someone is targeting them.

The narrative mixes flashbacks from London with the present of Galway. Bruen uses the same techniques as he did in the Guards. A lot of references to books and authors. I do enjoy a fictional
Felix Zilich
Jan 30, 2014 Felix Zilich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, irish-luck
В первой книге Джек Тейлор бухал по-черному, во второй - он еще и на кокс подсел. Вернулся из Лондона домой в Голуэй абсолютным изгоем, конченым джанком и еще… женатым человеком. Новая жена Джека – немка с научной степенью по метафизике – по ходу сюжета приезжает в Голуэй, но уже на следующий день (и двадцать страниц спустя) сбегает в неизвестном направлении. Если кто не в курсе, степень по метафизике у самого Кена Бруэна, поэтому не сразу и проссышь кто кого в книге выебал: писатель своего люби ...more
Aug 24, 2010 Johnny rated it really liked it
Finally. The book where I finally get what the big fuss is about. The two other books by Ken Bruen that I've read, I either didn't like (AMERICAN SKIN) or was a little underwhelmed (THE GUARDS: good but not great).

This novel finds a balance between character and setting. The tone, details, and humanity shine from the gutter. The unapologetic approach to the hero is exactly what hardboiled writing is all about.

And to top it off, Bruen has thankfully limited the amount of pop culture and music ref
Heidi Gonzalez
What do you know another drunk detective...but unlike Harry Hole, from Redbreast by Jo Nesbo Jack doesn't go on the wagon. In fact he is so deeply under the wagon I'm surprised he functions. Every time he wakes up without a hangover he is stumped. Fast paced, hard hitting and dark this Irish mystery can leave you scratching your head if you don't know or can't pick up some of the slang. I'm really trying to like Jack but its difficult, he is almost beyond redemption in his spiral downward. Even ...more
Perhaps I shouldn't have read this book so quickly after the first one because that made it really obvious how similar the basic plot in both books is. The only differences were that in the first book he was drinking too much and now he's drinking too much and doing coke (he also messes much more things up...)
I wrote in my review for the first novel that I hope that the novels turn in a slightly more conventional crime-novel because 'watching how Jack self-destructs via alcohol' makes a good rea
Feb 02, 2013 Geoff. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The term 'procedural' has, for some, a taint to it. Routine, churner, etc. Not so the Jack Taylor stories written by Ken Bruen. Jack is a former (read dismissed) Garda, often submissive to the demons drink and drugs. Jack has a keen eye for trouble, his own and that of others. Unlike so many fictional 'tecs, Jack is well-read. Every Jack Taylor story interweaves books and music that inform his life.

Some authors are 'name droppers', slipping the names of authors, poets, singers etc as 'evidence'
Daniel Sevitt
Apr 28, 2016 Daniel Sevitt rated it it was ok
Slightly less coherent than the first Jack Taylor with some genuinely bizarre choices. Bruen gives generous shout outs to other writers that he admires name-checking McBain and Lawrence Block and nodding to George Pelecanos at least 3 different times in the book. Oddly, though, every time he mentions Pelecanos, he spells it differently. This is not one of the characters spelling it badly, its the narrator. This may well be the worst edited book i have ever read. In many ways it feels completely ...more
Ronnie Justice
Jul 06, 2014 Ronnie Justice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read three of these now and each one has a plot, but that'll be ignored. Each one has a hero, but he'll be hopelessly flawed. And there will be gritty violence, but it's as necessary as trim on a muscle car.

Jack Taylor is a well read drunk who makes for a good read. With as many literary allusions as T.S. Elliot and some of the poetry, Bruen crafts a story of alcoholic suffering into rambling journey as pleasant as a bicycle ride on a sunny day
Dec 04, 2013 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those of you with little experience of good hard-boiled mystery fiction, this is the book for you! Jack Taylor is recovering from being a recovering alcoholic, drug user, woman-chasing former member of the Irish Guarda - the cops. He is also in perpetual mourning for his best friend, for the librarian who tried to teach him about life and words and for the life of peace and domesticity he can't bring himself to lead. In Killing of the Tinkers, Jack tries and tries to solve the murders of you ...more
Ken Bruen

Jack investigats the murder of tinkers.

I read the first three of Bruen's books together: The Guards, The Killing of the Tinkers and The Magdalen Martyrs.

I found myself needing to read these books together to see what would happen with Jack. There are references in them I know I didn’t quite understand, being American, but I could feel my Irish friends nodding in the background The character of Jack may not be particularly likeable, but he is compelling, a
Jun 28, 2014 Fanficfan44 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just recent read the first in this series and enjoyed it so much that I picked this one, The Killing of the Tinkers, up from the library. In this outing of the series, Jack Taylor is more messed up (if you can believe that is possible) than he was in the first book. Jack has decided to add a side of cocaine addiction to his already rampant alcoholism on his path to self destruction. On top of the drugs and alcohol he also is burning through women, including a wife he picked up in London. Now t ...more
May 19, 2014 Cate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 28, 2016 Suzy rated it really liked it
Dark, dark protagonist with serious self-destructive addictions. He bungles his investigation (I use the term investigation loosely). While well written in a stacatto style, it's difficult to deal about the lost hours and days and damaged relationships surrounding Jack Taylor. To wit: "In London, I tended to hang with the fallen. My aura of eroding decay was a beacon to those travellers of the road less survived. The drunks, dopers, cons, losers, dead angels. Come to me, all ye who are lost, and ...more
Aug 29, 2013 Velvetink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Read in one sitting last night. Loved it. Not to mention all the books mentioned by the main character. ha ha more to add to my to read pile. It's also nearly all dialogue. Quite refreshing for a change, Bruen manages to set the scene with minimum waffle - there are no long winded laboured sentences here.

1 of 20 books for $10.
Steve Scott
Mar 27, 2015 Steve Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Dark, gloomy "Dublin Noir". This was the first time I'd read a Jack Taylor novel. Like Spenser and Longmire, he's highly literate, sensitive, vulnerable. Unlike them he's much more flawed. He's struggling with alcoholism, a coke addiction, personal relationship issues. There is nothing lovable about him. At times you think there might be something admirable about him…but that it struggles to get to the surface.

If I were to have taken on this series and I read the above, I would conclude I wouldn
Ann O'Connell
Mar 01, 2012 Ann O'Connell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“There'll be times when the only refuge is books. Then you'll read as if you meant it, as if your life depended on it.”
― Ken Bruen, The Killing of the Tinkers
Dec 30, 2014 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
01.) The Spellcasters

It was Nicholas Nickleby that once said "Any friend of Lorem Ipsum is a friend of mine."

02.) The Jewelled and Cruel Pastors

This is one of Ken Bruen's quotes, albeit not from this very book:

"Max couldn't believe he'd fallen for her. If he'd just had a thing for flat-chested women none of this would have happened."

This is one of my pointless childish diatribes:

Sell the Overcoat and Keep the Dignity

Hurry up and have your kid and sod off to the suburbs.

*drops mic*
Manuel Antão
Jun 08, 2016 Manuel Antão rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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âœThe Killing of the Tinkersâ is a lonely book.

I used to read a fair amount of crime fiction. A lot, actually. In the last years I've found myself reading less of it, and in the last years I find that the novels I give up on the soonest are crime novels. Why? Well. For several reasons. For starters the term "noir" is being used today as something of a buzzword. Itâs used with the same promiscuity as the snack food industry uses ketchup. Iâve lost count on the number of books Iâve gi
Nov 25, 2015 Aramys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No es que el libro sea un thriller, ni por asomo, es que Jack se mete en tu cabeza, lentamente, como una apisonadora. A cada página Jack se va apoderando de ti y te hace sufrir sus vergüenzas, sus perdidas, sus frustraciones. Es como si alguien te inoculara un veneno con una larga jeringuilla, un veneno que poco a poco se extiende por todo tu cuerpo y que te hace ser Jack Taylor. Y no puedes dejarlo.

A club in England. Burnt out ex-Guard Jack Taylor stares at an obnoxious English cop named Keegan at the far side of the room, and is reproached by a Jamaican man - "Yo no be messing with dat man."

I was a rum past caring...

"Looks like a fat fuck to me."

This is Jack Taylor...

Jack Taylor is back in town with a coke habit to coincide with his alcoholism. He's not long back in Galway when he is approached by a traveller named Sweeper who, on behalf of his people, requests the help of Jack in invest
Jul 27, 2013 Ctgt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am falling hard for Ken Bruen and his Jack Taylor series. I will admit I have not read any other titles from Bruen so I don't know if his style is the same for all his books. I know the detective/ PI genre is littered with sad sacks but is there anyone more self-abusive than Taylor? He has returned from London after the debacle that was the ending of The Guards with a new vice, cocaine. He is hired to find out who is killing young tinkers.
Although, for me, the case is really secondary to the
Nancy Oakes
"Killing of the Tinkers" starts with the return of Jack Taylor from London. If you've read The Guards (the first novel in the series), then you're aware that at the end of that book, Taylor had sworn off drinking and had gone to London for a change. Well, now he's back, and has fallen off the wagon. He is commissioned by the head of the clans (the tinkers), a guy named Sweeper, to find out who is killing off other tinkers, then mutilating the bodies.

As in the case of The Guards, the mystery is
Kathleen Hagen
The Killing of the tinkers, by Ken Bruen, B-plus, narrated by Gerry O’Brien, produced by Isis Audio, downloaded from

This is the second in the Jack Taylor series. And he continues to be the anti-hero he was in the first book. He leaves Ireland after the disgrace of the first book and goes to London for a year. But he has Ireland in the blood. Besides he has been hearing that a bunch of “tinkers” (people on the bottom rung of society, like gypsies) are being killed one at a time and t
Jan 20, 2013 Nanou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A la fin de Délirium Tremens, Jack Taylor quittait Galway pour aller se réfugier à Londres, se faire un peu oublier et bien décidé à ne plus toucher à l’alcool. Après plusieurs mois d’exil, il revient dans sa ville natale, buveur conscient comme il l’avoue et dépendant à la cocaïne. Il retrouve ses vieux amis, Jeff, tenancier du Nestor’s et Cathy, qui attend un bébé. Première soirée à Galway, première fiesta et première gueule de bois le lendemain, les habitudes sont vite reprises. Jack fait la ...more
Manchmal treffen Zeit, Ort und der Mensch, der man gerade ist, mit genau dem richtigen Buch zusammen und es hinterlässt etwas Besonderes, Einzigartiges.

Vor einigen Jahren in Irland, entdeckte ich am Bloomsday in einer größeren Buchhandlung "The Killing of the Tinkers". Der Autor Ken Bruen war mir schon ein Begriff, doch die Reihe mit dem Privatdetektiv war noch nicht ins Deutsche übersetzt. Am nächsten Tag zockelte ich in einem Bus von Dublin nach Galway und begann es zu lesen. Perfekte Synchron
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Ken Bruen, Not My Favorite Author 3 13 Aug 23, 2013 02:02AM  
Is there actually an ending to this book? 2 11 Jan 11, 2013 11:55AM  
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Ken Bruen, born in Galway in 1951, is the author of The Guards (2001), the highly acclaimed first Jack Taylor novel. He spent twenty-five years as an English teacher in Africa, Japan, S.E. Asia and South America. His novel Her Last Call to Louis Mac Niece (1997) is in production for Pilgrim Pictures, his "White Trilogy" has been bought by Channel 4, and The Guards is to be filmed in Ireland by De ...more
More about Ken Bruen...

Other Books in the Series

Jack Taylor (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Guards (Jack Taylor, #1)
  • The Magdalen Martyrs (Jack Taylor, #3)
  • The Dramatist (Jack Taylor, #4)
  • Priest (Jack Taylor, #5)
  • Cross (Jack Taylor, #6)
  • Sanctuary (Jack Taylor, #7)
  • The Devil (Jack Taylor, #8)
  • Headstone (Jack Taylor, #9)
  • Purgatory (Jack Taylor, #10)
  • Green Hell (Jack Taylor, #11)

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“There'll be times when the only refuge is books. Then you'll read as if you meant it, as if your life depended on it.” 38 likes
“And so evil flourishes and spreads because decent people don't want to make a fuss.” 3 likes
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