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The Killing Of The Tinkers

(Jack Taylor #2)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,780 ratings  ·  215 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
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 23rd 2004 by Minotaur Books (first published 2002)
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Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m not sure what to make of this book. Jack has added cocaine and amphetamines to his diet of alcohol. I think I don’t like him as much this time around. How much further can he sink?

All the literary references don’t mean much to me and some don’t seem relevant to the story. My take is that the author doesn’t have to write them because someone else has, and they make a short book a bit longer.

I’ll read this series until I’m tired of it, if it continues with this formula. I also think I need to
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Ken Bruen wowed critics and readers alike when he introduced Jack Taylor in The Guards; he'll blow them away with The Killing of the Tinkers"

When I first read The Guards, it had been a few years after seeing the TV production - which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The dialogue, storyline, and character is both intriguing and full of despair yet the story totally engaging. When finishing this book it left me eager to continue along with the next book, and to carry on with the whole series.

They will both m
Nov 18, 2014 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 06, 2010 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
K.A. Laity
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Geoff. Lamb
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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'
Shirley Schwartz
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Linda Abhors the New GR Design
I liked this one much more than the first of the series. People who were annoyed by the lists in the first book will be less annoyed; they don't disappear, but they're less frequent. The extremely terse style has been mitigated; there's more than dialogue, chapters are fleshed out, and he actually does a bit more actual detective work, rather than having things fall into his lap.

It's still very Galwegian; shoutouts to employees of Charlie Byrnes' bookstore and other locales in and around Galw
Manuel Antão
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013

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“The Killing of the Tinkers†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. It’s used with the same promiscuity as the snack food industry uses ketchup. I’ve lost count on the number of books I
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael Martz
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Ken Bruen's "The Killing of the Tinkers" in 4 words: good writer, bad character.

Ex-cop (Irish variety) and current PI Jack Taylor is off the wagon, big time, and a local gypsy leader asks him to investigate the seeming serial killing of several young 'tinkers'. He doesn't investigate as much as just meander around in an eff-ed up state during almost the entirety of the novel, thinks he finds the right guy for the crimes, the gypsies take care of the punishment, but then there's the whole thing
Jane Dugger
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I can't say exactly what it is about this series that resonates with me but - boy - it does. Jack is irreverent, snarky, poor choice maker and alcoholic. However, I find him so endearing.
Joe Kraus
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hardboiled-noir
I’m not much given to the idea of detective series. For me much of the fun in a book is getting to meet a new character, and that’s gone if it’s someone we’re seeing again after a first – or a dozenth – earlier volume(s). On the other hand, Ken Bruen writes so well, with so sharp and comically sweetened a hardboiled edge, that I think anything he writes is worth a shot.

I don’t think this one quite reaches to the level of the first Jack Taylor novel, The Guards, but that’s a masterpiece, so it’s
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Mike Sumner
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess Jack Taylor is akin to marmite. You either love him or dislike him. Well, I love marmite, so there it is. Ken Bruen's clipped, staccato writing style pervades a brooding Irish landscape - windswept, rain-lashed Galway where Taylor has returned with a cocaine habit and little else after a year spent in London, apart from befriending Keegan, a DS in the Met, who is not averse to straying into criminal activity if the end justifies the means. Just as well for Jack when Keegan turns up unann ...more
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another ripping great read courtesy of Ken Bruen. It's important to read the Jack Taylor series in order because the character evolves and you don't want to miss anything.

In The Killing of the Tinkers, Jack is hired to find out who is killing members of the Tinker community (aka gypsy). His reputation is catching up with him. There are subplots throughout which will be useful in later books (according to a Jack Taylor reader friend of mine).

Jack Taylor is flawed, but a good man. Jack is a well
Desert Hurricane
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Killing of the Tinkers is a much darker, much more focused Jack Taylor novel than the first book in the series. I enjoyed it a lot more than The Guards. Still quite economical with his wording, there is definitely no wasted space in this book. And I can say with full authority now: The Jack Taylor television show is basically a complete reimagining. The Iain Glenn character is more of a good guy, less impulsive...less... uh... terrible... than the Jack Taylor I just read about. This guy is b ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Exceptionally entertaining. Ken Bruen's version of modern noir is tough and tender and the same time. Tinkers are "Irish Travelers," a gypsy like nomadic culture hated by the "Settled People." Someone is killing them and Jack Taylor takes on the task to find the killer while withdrawing from cocaine addiction. So it doesn't get too complicated, he continues his prodigious drinking. Through the haze of alcohol he solves the crime…well maybe. He's not thinking clearly or taking good advice at the ...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
Ronnie Justice
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Ann O'Connell
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
“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
Liesl de Swardt
Jun 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime
I did not much care for this book. Jack solves the crimes more by chance than real detective work. For once in my life I prefer the TV series to the book.
Jack Heath
Synopsis: he tried to get away from smoking, drinking and drugs but seems to be failing. A big gypsy with a problem pulls Taylor back.
Eva Müller
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
Heidi | Paper Safari Book Blog
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
Daniel Sevitt
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
Agnes Carpenter
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Gave Book #2 a shot as I really wanted to like this series but it's just so-so for me. I like Jack Taylor but there's just not enough of an actual story to keep me interested.
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
While I find here the same flaws I noted in my comments on "The Guards," I liked this second Jack Taylor installment a lot more.

In the initial book, Jack seemed like so many other private investigators. Now he doesn't; he seems
more deeply flawed. He is addicted to almost any substance to which one can become addicted, is constantly depressed and feeling physically lousy (no surprise, based on what he ingests), and he treats so many people badly for no reason (especially women with whom he becom
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add book cover 2 14 Oct 31, 2017 09:57AM  
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Is there actually an ending to this book? 2 13 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

Other books in the series

Jack Taylor (1 - 10 of 15 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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