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Aoife

Witty Little Knitter

I read fantasy, crime, true crime, lgbt-romance and books written by my favourite comedians. List not necessarily complete.
Sometimes I write for Bibliodaze

Currently reading

Stephen and Matilda
Jim Bradbury
Progress: 52/262 pages
Krieg und Frieden
Michael Grusemann, Leo Tolstoy
Progress: 579/1024 pages

Review: The Guards (Jack Taylor #1)

The Guards  - Ken Bruen

Are you searching for a proper crime-novel? One where the main character gets a case, starts investigating it, finds clues and in the end solves the case. The main character may be slightly distracted by marital or other relationship troubles and/or a traumatic past but the main focus is clearly the criminal investigation. In that case this is not the book for you.

However, if you don't mind a protagonist who spends most of the time drinking, quoting various books (divided – in my case – into 'by authors I have never heard of' and 'by authors I have heard of but never read'), drinking a bit more, not really investigating the case, drinking a lot more, finally investigating the case and using methods that are not only slightly questionable from a legal standpoint, while quoting more classics and drinking a lot more then this is the perfect novel for you.

Perhaps only a third of the book is actually dedicated to Jack investigating the crime, the rest he spends...well failing to stay sober, thinking about his complicated relationship with his parents and talking to his friends (a singer, he once rescued from her violent ex-boyfriend, a pub-landlord, a Northern Irish artist and not-so-small criminal and a homeless guy who loves books as much as Jack does). I thought they were much more interesting then the case anyway. (How well that works for a series is another question. From the blurbs of the future books it seems like they focus much more on the crime part. I appreciate this because as much as I love reading about Jack drinking, after book five that might become a bit dull).

The book is set in Galway (not the most obvious choice for your Philip Marlow-type private eye) and the author manages quite beautifully to integrate it in the story without it feeling like he's trying to hard (as some authors do...and by some authors I mean 9 out of 10 German Lokalkrimi writers). It's not quite Inspector Morse (where Oxford almost feels like the third main character) but it is hard to imagine the book being set anywhere else.

What really carries the book is the main-character. Jack is incredibly likeable and I say that as somebody who has gotten somewhat bored with crime-novel protagonists fighting their alcoholism. Somehow Jack is the first in a long time that makes me relate to his struggles and suffer with him instead of being annoyed by it.

 

Ein Wort zur Übersetzung: übersetzt hat Harry Rowohlt (wie macht man ein Buch in Deutschland zum Bestseller? Man nennt es Übersetzt von Harry Rowohlt) der auch hinten ein paar Phrasen und Begriffe erklärt die dem Deutschen Leser vielleicht entgehen weil er sich mit der Irischen Literatur oder generell den Irischen Sitten nicht ganz so gut auskennt. Das ist toll. Leider ist in meiner Ausgabe (dtv) kein Hinweis im Text, dass diese Begriffe am Ende näher erläutert werden. Auch gibt es kein Vorwort o.ä. das auf die Existenz dieses Verzeichnisses hinweist. Ich bin nur zufällig darauf gestoßen als ich schon fast mit dem Buch durch war und verzweifelt nach hinten geblättert habe in der Hoffnung dort das in Dialogen ständig wiederkehrende arrah übersetzt zu bekommen (zwei Semester Irisch und ich kann noch 'Da ist ein großes schönes Huhn' sagen...). Das steht übrigens nicht in den Erläuterungen (Google musste aushelfen: es entspricht unserem 'ach' oder 'oh').

Gut, man verpasst nichts, wenn man jetzt nicht weiß welcher Text von Robbie Burns in der Bierwerbung verwendet wird aber da solche Anmerkungen ja irgendwie doch beim Lesen helfen sollen hätte man das sinnvoller lösen können.