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The Dramatist (Jack Taylor #4)

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  1,268 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Minotaur Books (first published December 31st 2003)
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The Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettThe Long Goodbye by Raymond ChandlerFarewell, My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerThe Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Best Hardboiled PI & Noir
130th out of 531 books — 661 voters
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonThe Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha ChristieThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Detective Fiction
171st out of 804 books — 939 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,965)
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May 13, 2012 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jacket notes: "The impossible has happened: Jack Taylor is living clean and dating a mature woman. Rumour suggests he is even attending mass... The accidental deaths of two students appear random, tragic events, except that in each case a copy of a book by John Millington Synge is found beneath the body. Jack begins to believe that "The Dramatist," a calculating killer, is out there, enticing him to play...."

As stated several times before, I love this Jack Taylor series by Ken Bruen. This book i
Angele Gougeon
May 24, 2016 Angele Gougeon rated it really liked it
Ken Bruen's 'The Dramatist' easily captured my attention. The main character, ex-guard Jack Taylor, is charmingly frank. The dialogue is fast and terse. There is a sweeping tension that carries the story forward.
I wanted to love the novel.
I ended up liking it.
[Spoilers ahead]
The ending is reminiscent of Jean-Paul Sartre and Peter S. Beagle (A Fine and Private Place in particular). Jack Taylor is sober, clean, and nearly off cigarettes. His life's still a mess but, during the course of the novel,
Jan 06, 2013 Ann rated it it was amazing
As always Bruen packs quite a punch in a small, tight package. I can't say much for fear of spoilers but suffice it to say the book leaves the reader with glimpses into Irish life with a disturbing feeling of growing unease and yet eager to read more about Jack Taylor, a former guard in Galway, Ireland. Jack's demons won't let him alone for long and we can't stop looking ...
(view spoiler)
Jun 01, 2012 Benjamin rated it did not like it
At page 135, I decided to waste no more of my life reading this book, and while taking a huge breath of relief, shut the cover forever. I almost never totally abandon a book in such a fashion, but at page 135 I still was not at all intrigued by the plot and I still felt I could care less what happened to the "epic" Jack Taylor. Additionally the events that had transpired in the book to this point were so dull that between chapters I found immense relief in setting the book down to stare at the w ...more
THE DRAMATIST (Unlicensed investigator-Ireland-Cont) – Ex
Bruen, Ken – 4th in series
Brandon, 2004 – Trade paperback
Jack Taylor is clean and sober and fighting hard to stay that way. A drug dealer, now serving time, hires Jack to investigate the death of his sister. Under her body was a book by Synge, into which the words "The Dramatist" had been written on the title page. When a second student dies with a copy of the same book, it's clear these are not random acts.
*** Ken Bruen's writing is excep
Dan Pearce
Apr 14, 2013 Dan Pearce rated it it was amazing
This isn't really my genre but I'm totally hooked on Ken Bruen. He's often compared to Ian Rankin, a good writer, but nothing compared to Bruen. I would say if anything, and comparisons are usually odious, he's an Irish Raymond Chandler. Jack Taylor is a wonderful creation and so is the dark world he inhabits and I love his literary pretentions and Bruen's literary references. I cannot recommend his books highly enough.
Apr 13, 2012 Jonathan rated it liked it
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. I ...more
Tim Niland
Dec 17, 2013 Tim Niland rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-reads
Galway, Ireland based "finder" and habitual addict Jack Taylor is sober. This is not of his doing, but rather that his dealer has been busted and then sent to prison. Through an intermediary, Jack is called to the notorious Lovejoy prison in Dublin to meet with his former dealer Stewart. He begs Taylor to look into the case of his sister's death. Officials have ruled it "death by misadventure" but Stewart thinks there must be more to it. Taylor is ready to brush it off, but after a terrifying en ...more
Dec 26, 2013 Ctgt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My bromance with Ken Bruen and his Jack Taylor character continues. You know how sometimes there is an author or character that just hits all the right notes? This is mine. Frankly, I could care less about the cases involved in the story, I want to know more about Taylor. There is a case involving the Pikemen, a vigilante group and some quirky things going on with two deaths and books by J.M. Synge but for me it's all about Jack. He is sober throughout the majority of the story and watching him ...more
Mar 18, 2015 Susu rated it it was amazing
WoW!!!!! What an ending! I'm speechless! This series definitely keeps me on my toes.
Mar 14, 2016 Ladiibbug rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-fiction, noir
#4 Jack Taylor - Noir Crime

Read pre-G/R, approx. 2006
Shanti Elliott
Jul 30, 2012 Shanti Elliott rated it liked it
I liked hanging out with Jack Taylor; I'm a sucker for a flawed hero of the talkative variety. He is paralyzed by addiction and remorse, but he doesn't blame others, and that's refreshing. He sits around a lot then all of sudden something possesses him and he moves quickly and dramatically. That rhythm is disconcerting -- feels a lot like life. For awhile I liked all the pop music and literature that weave through every scene, but it got to be too much. I'll definitely be reading another of the ...more
Jul 24, 2016 Carol rated it liked it
The Dramatist by Ken Bruen
Jack Taylor series Book # 4
3 's

From the Book:
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
Feb 04, 2015 Daniel rated it it was amazing

Derek: Can I raise a practical question at this point?
David: Yeah.
Derek: We gonna do Stonehenge tomorrow?

Once you set aside the consideration of others and operate on your own system of values you'll notice that your security is gone. You'll also notice that past success provides freedom but doesn't give satisfaction. So that's why, as part of the daily self-inflicted adversity that I subscribe to, I find time to tell the world that it's talking to me. And, out of habit, I listen. I call it the
Gregg Shoemaker
Feb 10, 2014 Gregg Shoemaker rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 18, 2011 Matthew rated it it was ok
The ending was quite good... brilliant, even, but I had to grit my teeth and listen through (audiobook) Bruen's painfully too self-aware jack Taylor for the first four and a half hours (of a five hour reading).

I know that Bruen's got a shining reputation as a master of Irish hard boiled crime fiction, but I find it too heavy handed, too obviously *written*, to be enjoyable as a story.
Jun 05, 2014 Tripp rated it really liked it
This is book has two reviews. Do you require any of the following: a perplexing mystery; a wise crime-solving character; moral redemption; an admirable hero or happy endings? Stay far, far away from this one.

Bruen's Ireland is like Ellroy's LA, a cesspool of negativity. While Ellroy condemns LA's avarice, Bruen's Ireland is a study in despair. Hatreds reap violence, good intentions go nowhere, no one is saved and the guilty find punishment almost by accident.

So why read it? The writing is tigh
Minty McBunny
Apr 09, 2014 Minty McBunny rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, april-2014
Ken Bruen is a minimalist Irish street poet. My library didn't have book 2 or 3 of this series, but I decided to take a chance that all his books are as light on plot and thick on character and Life as the first book (and Once Were Cops) and skip to this one.

It was a gamble that paid off. I think my reading experience would have been only slightly enriched by knowing details about some prior events referred to here. And it was a rich experience as it was. As with The Guards, the crime (or crime
Alan Korolenko
Dec 05, 2014 Alan Korolenko rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
Jack Taylor is a former member of the Irish Guarda, living in Galway and destroying himself with drink and drugs. In this, the fourth book in the series, Jack is hired by his former drug supplier to investigate the death of his sister. A second case involves the beating and mutilation of a man suspected of murder, which leads Jack to a group of vigilantes known as the Pikemen. This series is a dark as they come. Galway is no place for the faint of heart. But the stories are compelling and Jack i ...more
Kari Hilwig
Sep 22, 2009 Kari Hilwig rated it really liked it
I'm always amazed at how some writers can open up worlds with so few worlds. This is a dark one, but with humor, and the ending knocks the wind out of you.
Felix Zilich
Feb 18, 2014 Felix Zilich rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, irish-luck
Уже полгода Джек Тейлор не пьёт и не потребляет наркотиков. Пять сигарет в день – и только “Silk Cut”. Ломка от этого каждое утро страшная, да и судьба особо не фартит. После первой встречи с новым бойфрендом Энн Хендерсон Джек остаётся на всю жизнь хромым калекой, но из завязки не выходит. У него теперь, вроде бы, есть цель и мотивация. Плюс новая подружка – невольный подарок от лесбы Ридж.

Еще по городу рыскают линчеватели-“пикинеры”, которые тоже неровно дышат в сторону детектива. Мечтают, чт
Nov 25, 2015 Aramys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cáustico, contestón, borde, irónico, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, nuestro hombre que resurge de las tinieblas una y otra vez, y que parece que esta vez se va a mantener a flote. Precario, pero a flote. Siempre, en las novelas de Bruen, lo más importante es ver cómo Jack se destruye y se rearma, se destruye y vuelve a armarse, pieza a pieza, cómo asistimos a esa supervivencia, cómo compartimos esa malograda vida, auto malograda y auto destruida vida

Mar 16, 2015 Josh rated it really liked it
Very few writers can change the course of a book in a single line and that's exactly what author Ken Bruen has done in the fourth installment in the Jack Taylor series, THE DRAMATIST.

As my reread of this excellent quasi private investigator series continued, I was most looking forward to revisiting this book in particular, having faint memories of Jacks cases but being able to recall in vivid detail that moment where Jack once again spirals into a pit of despair.

Early in the piece I was wonderi
Nancy Oakes
May 05, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it
Oh my. After reading this installment of the Jack Taylor series, I am hard pressed to figure out how much worse things can get for Jack. I've long said that making Jack Taylor's acquaintance through reading is like watching a train about to wreck on its know that something terrible is about to happen, but the reality of how bad it's going to be keeps you watching. But frankly, I wasn't prepared for this one.

As the novel opens, Jack's drug dealer (the very well-dressed, erudite young
May 02, 2010 Maddy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2006-reads

Holy capoley! Jack Taylor, one of the most unsalvageable men you could ever meet, has given up alcohol and drugs and is down to 5 cigarettes a day. At times during the previous three books in this series, he's gone straight. But never before has he remained that way for six full months. And, hold on to your hat, he's even going to Mass! Rest assured, however, that he's no choir boy. Life as he knows it will never be days full of sunshine a
A. Mary
Jul 05, 2013 A. Mary rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish-novels
The Dramatist is the fourth Jack Taylor story, and while I planned to read them all in sequence, the third novel was in a box on its way home by the time I was sure I wanted to read them all. I needn’t have worried about whether I would get lost among references to events in the gap. Bruen has constructed each book to stand alone at the same time that it is part of a whole. The novels are thoroughly grounded in their geography and culture, but a reader doesn’t need to be familiar with Galway in ...more
Oct 18, 2007 Peter rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Christina Krieg
A Chilling pulp noir, Bruen's mystery returns us to the damned life of ex Guard Jack Taylor. A Galway book worm thrown off Ireland's statewide Gardai for his alcoholism, Taylor makes multiple attempts to stay sober and avoid the detection racket, but friends, lovers, and even his old drug dealer keep reeling him into rather dodgy situations because their faith in his detecting skills have too often been rewarded with success.

His nominal successes, though, come at great cost to his physical and p
Jan 10, 2012 Cameron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads
This was really good Jack is sober, he's going to Mass, he's even talking about quitting smoking. Of course it's to late for his job in the /Guard which is gone. So he quit using cocaine, of course that's because his dealer got arrested and sent to prison and Jack doesn't know anybody else.
Then he gets a notice that his dealer wants to see him, he's already arranged everything, he's paying his way and paying to put him up in a hotel in Dublin. It turns out, his dealer had a sister and his siste
Oct 01, 2009 Mohammed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, ken-bruen
I finished this book almost in one sitting, not because its 235 pages but because it was so engaging,addictive that I couldn't put it down.

The Dramatist is the darkest,and most profound instalment of the series so far. That's saying a lot when its about this series.
Bruen's writing style,sly,dark humour,his great dialogues,his themes was perfected in this book.
I thought the first book The Guards was unbeatable by the other books in this series but this one is even stronger. Jack Taylor's persona
Rob Kitchin
May 08, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it really liked it
Ken Bruen’s books are dark and brooding affairs, written in a sparse, engaging literary prose. For me, sometimes the text feels a little too sparse, begging for a little more elaboration, but they are nonetheless engaging, powerful, layered tales. His stories rarely have complex puzzles, they are more structured as unfolding. The Dramatist is no different. In it he demonstrates a keen observational eye, capturing the nuances of Irish society, especially the intricacies of inter-personal relation ...more
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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 Killing Of The Tinkers (Jack Taylor, #2)
  • The Magdalen Martyrs (Jack Taylor, #3)
  • 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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