Jack Taylor Books in Order

The Jack Taylor books have become so popular over the years that generation after generation, people keep going back to them.

If you're just starting with it and want a reading list, you're in luck. Here we list out all the Jack Taylor books in order; keeping in mind various factors like the publication year, reviews, its popularity among readers, etc.

It’s always a good idea to read such book titles in sequence so that you don't miss out on the story plot and its discussions in the book clubs.

Publication Order of Jack Taylor Books

The Guards

Bruen, Ken 2001

Still stinging from his unceremonious ouster from the Garda Siochana--The Guards, Ireland's police force--and staring at the world through the smoky bottom of his beer mug, Jack Taylor is stuck in Galway with nothing to look forward to. In his sober moments Jack aspires to become Ireland's best private investigator, not to mention its first--Irish history, full of betrayal and espionage, discourages any profession so closely related to informing.

But in truth Jack is teetering on the brink of his life's sharpest edges, his memories of the past cutting deep into his soul and his prospects for the future nonexistent.Nonexistent, that is, until a dazzling woman walks into the bar with a strange request and a rumor about Jack's talent for finding things.

Odds are he won't be able to climb off his barstool long enough to get involved with his radiant new client, but when he surprises himself by getting hired, Jack has little idea of what he's getting into.Stark, violent, sharp, and funny, The Guards is an exceptional novel, one that leaves you stunned and breathless, flipping back to the beginning in a mad dash to find Jack Taylor and enter his world all over again.

It's an unforgettable story that's gritty, absorbing, and saturated with the rough-edged rhythms of the Galway streets. Praised by authors and critics around the globe, The Guards heralds the arrival of an essential new novelist in contemporary crime fiction.

Ken Bruen's The Guards is a 2004 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel.

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The Killing of the Tinkers

Bruen, Ken 2002

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 on his mind.

So much for new beginnings.Before long he's sunk into his old patterns, lifting his head from the bar only every few days, appraising his surroundings for mere minutes and then descending deep into the alcoholic, drug-induced fugue he prefers to the real world.

But a big gypsy walks into the bar one day during a moment of Jack's clarity and changes all that with a simple request. Jack knows the look in this man's eyes, a look of hopelessness mixed with resolve topped off with a quietly simmering rage; he's seen it in the mirror.

Recognizing a kindred soul, Jack agrees to help him, knowing but not admitting that getting involved is going to lead to more bad than good. But in Jack Taylor's world bad and good are part and parcel of the same lost cause, and besides, no one ever accused Jack of having good sense.

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, a novel of gritty brilliance that cements Bruen's place among the greats of modern crime fiction.

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The Magdalen Martyrs

Bruen, Ken 2003

Jack Taylor is walking the delicate edge of a sobriety he doesn't trust when his phone rings. He's in debt to a Galway tough named Bill Cassell, what the locals call a "hard man." Bill did Jack a big favor a while back; the trouble is, he never lets a favor go unreturned.

Jack is amazed when Cassell simply asks him to track down a woman, now either dead or very old, who long ago helped his mother escape from the notorious Magdalen laundry, where young wayward girls were imprisoned and abused. Jack doesn't like the odds of finding the woman, but counts himself lucky that the task is at least on the right side of the law.

Until he spends a few days spinning his wheels and is dragged in front of Cassell for a quick reminder of his priorities. Bill's goons do a little spinning of their own, playing a game of Russian roulette a little too close to the back of Jack's head.

It's only blind luck and the mercy of a god he no longer trusts that land Jack back on the street rather than face down in a cellar with a bullet in his skull. He's got one chance to stay alive: find this woman.Unfortunately, he can't escape his own curiosity, and an unnerving hunch quickly turns into a solid fact: just who Jack's looking for, and why, aren't nearly what they seem.

The Magdalen Martyrs, the third Galway-set novel by Edgar, Barry, and Macavity finalist and Shamus Award-winner Ken Bruen, is a gripping, dazzling story that takes the Jack Taylor series to explosive new heights of suspense.

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The Dramatist

Bruen, Ken 2004

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 guards have called it "death by misadventure." The dealer knows that can't be true and begs Jack to have a look, check around, see what he can find out. It's exactly what Jack does, with varying levels of success, to make a living.

But he's reluctant, maybe because of who's asking or maybe because of the bad feeling growing in his gut.Never one to give in to bad feelings or common sense, Jack agrees to the favor, though he can't possibly know the shocking, deadly consequences he has set in motion.

But he and everyone he holds dear will find out soon, sooner than anyone knows, in The Dramatist, the lean and lethal fourth entry in Ken Bruen's award-winning Jack Taylor series.

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Priest

Bruen, Ken 2006

Ireland, awash with cash and greed, no longer turns to the church for solace or comfort. But the decapitation of Father Joyce in a Galway confessional horrifies even the most jaded citizen. Jack Taylor, devastated by the recent trauma of personal loss, has always believed himself to be beyond salvation.

But a new job offers a fresh start, and an unexpected partnership provides hope that his one desperate vision--of family--might yet be fulfilled.An eerie mix of exorcism, a predatory stalker, and unlikely attraction conspires to lure him into a murderous web of dark conspiracies.

The specter of a child haunts every waking moment.Explosive, unsettling, and totally original, Ken Bruen's writing captures the brooding landscape of Irish society at a time of social and economic upheaval. Priest is evidence of an unmistakable literary talent.

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Cross

Bruen, Ken 2007

Jack Taylor brings death and pain to everyone he loves. His only hope of redemption - his surrogate son, Cody - is lying in a hospital in a coma. At least he still has Ridge, his old friend from the Guards, though theirs is an unorthodox relationship.

When she tells him that a boy has been crucified in Galway city, he agrees to help her search for the killer. Jack's investigations take him to many of his old haunts where he encounters ghosts, dead and living. Everyone wants something from him, but Jack is not sure he has anything left to give.

Maybe he should sell up, pocket his Euros and get the hell out of Galway like everyone else seems to be doing. Then the sister of the murdered boy is burned to death, and Jack decides he must hunt down the killer, if only to administer his own brand of rough justice.

Ken Bruen's Cross is a suspenseful and deeply moving mystery.

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Sanctuary

Bruen, Ken 2008

When a letter containing a list of victims arrives in the post, P.I. Jack Taylor tells himself that it’s got nothing to do with him. He has enough to do just staying sane. His close friend Ridge is recovering from surgery, and alcohol’s siren song is calling to him ever more insistently.

A guard and then a judge die in mysterious circumstances. But it is not until a child is added to the list that Taylor determines to find the identity of the killer, and stop them at any cost. What he doesn’t know is that his relationship with the killer is far closer than he thinks.

And that it’s about to become deeply personal.Spiked with dark humor, and fueled with rage at man’s inhumanity to man, this is crime writing at its darkest and most original.

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The Devil

Bruen, Ken 2010

America―the land of opportunity, a place where economic prosperity beckons: but not for PI Jack Taylor, who's just been refused entry. Disappointed and bitter, he thinks that an encounter with an overly friendly stranger in an airport bar is the least of his problems.

Except that this stranger seems to know much more than he should about Jack. Jack thinks no more of their meeting and resumes his old life in Galway. But when he's called to investigate a student murder―connected to an elusive Mr. K―he remembers the man from the airport.

Is the stranger really who he says he is? With the help of the Jameson, Jack struggles to make sense of it all. After several more murders and too many coincidental encounters, Jack believes he may have met his nemesis. But why has he been chosen? And could he really have taken on the devil himself? Suspenseful, haunting, and totally unique, The Devil is Bruen at his very best.

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Headstone

Bruen, Ken 2011

Acclaimed Irish crime writer Ken Bruen has won numerous awards for his hard-charging, dark thrillers, which have been translated into ten languages. In Headstone, an elderly priest is nearly beaten to death and a special-needs boy is brutally attacked.

Evil has many guises and Jack Taylor has encountered most of them. But nothing before has ever truly terrified him until he confronts an evil coterie named Headstone, who have committed a series of random, insane, violent crimes in Galway, Ireland.Most would see a headstone as a marker of the dead, but this organization seems like it will act as a death knell to every aspect of Jack’s life.

Jack’s usual allies, Ridge and Stewart, are also in the line of terror. An act of appalling violence alerts them to the sleeping horror, but this realization may be too late, as Headstone barrels along its deadly path right to the center of Jack’s life and the heart of Galway.

A terrific read from a writer called “a Celtic Dashiell Hammett,” Headstone is an excellent addition to the Jack Taylor series (Philadelphia Inquirer)

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Purgatory

Bruen, Ken 2013

Recovering from the severe mental and physical wounds inflicted from his recent past, former cop Jack Taylor has finally found a modicum of peace. He has managed to kick the myriad substances that have had a stranglehold over his painful life, however tenuously.

Yet this fragile existence is threatened when a vigilante killer begins targeting the scum of Galway, signing mysterious notes with the moniker 'C 33'. The killer addresses these cryptic letters to Jack, trying to goad him into joining the murderous spree.

While Jack tries to unravel the mystery and motives of this demented killer, he is also brought into the fold of an enigmatic tech billionaire who has been buying up massive amounts of property in Galway, seemingly in the hopes of offering this downtrodden city a better future.

Yet if Jack has learned one thing living in Ireland, it's that people who outwardly claim to be on the side of righteousness are likely harboring far more nefarious motives beneath the surface.With the help of his friends, former drug dealer-turned-zen master Stewart and dogged police sergeant Ridge, Jack is determined to track down C 33, even if it jeopardizes his livelihood, his friends, and the remaining shreds of his sanity.

C 33 is Bruen at his best: lyrical, brutal, and ceaselessly suspenseful.

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Green Hell

Bruen, Ken 2015

The award-winning crime writer Ken Bruen, called “the best-kept literary secret in Ireland” by the Independent, is as joyously unapologetic in his writing as he is wickedly poetic, mixing high and low with hypnotic mastery. In the previous book in the series, Purgatory, ex-cop Jack Taylor had finally turned his life around, only to be taunted back into fighting Galway’s corruption by a twisted serial killer named C33.

In the new novel Green Hell, Bruen’s dark angel of a protagonist has again hit rock bottom: one of his best friends is dead, the other has stopped speaking to him; he has given up battling his addiction to alcohol and pills; and his firing from the Irish national police, the Guards, is ancient history.

But Jack isn’t about to embark on a self-improvement plan. Instead, he has taken up a vigilante case against a respected professor of literature at the University of Galway who has a violent habit his friends in high places are only too happy to ignore.

And when Jack rescues a preppy American student on a Rhodes Scholarship from a couple of kid thugs, he also unexpectedly gains a new sidekick, who abandons his thesis on Beckett to write a biography of Galway’s most magnetic rogue.Between pub crawls and violent outbursts, Jack’s vengeful plot against the professor soon spirals toward chaos.

Enter Emerald, an edgy young Goth who could either be the answer to Jack’s problems, or the last ripped stitch in his undoing. Ireland may be known as a “green Eden,” but in Jack Taylor’s world, the national color has a decidedly lethal sheen.

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The Emerald Lie

Bruen, Ken 2016

Ken Bruen, the “Godfather of the modern Irish crime novel” (Irish Independent), is beloved for his black humor, verse-like prose, and irascible protagonist Jack Taylor, an ex-cop who is as addicted to trouble as he is to Jameson, pills, and pop culture.

In The Emerald Lie, the latest terror to be visited upon the dark Galway streets arrives in a most unusual form: a Cambridge graduate who becomes murderous over split infinitives, dangling modifiers, and any other sign of bad grammar. Meanwhile, Jack is approached by a grieving father with a pocketful of cash on offer if Jack will help exact revenge on those responsible for his daughter’s brutal rape and murder.

Though hesitant to get involved, Jack agrees to get a read on the likely perpetrators. But Jack is soon derailed by the reappearance of Emily (previous alias: Emerald), the chameleon-like young woman who joined forces with Jack to take down her pedophile father in Green Hell and who remains passionate, clever, and utterly homicidal.

She will use any sort of coercion to get Jack to conspire with her against the serial killer the Garda have nicknamed “the Grammarian,” but her most destructive obsession just might be Jack himself.

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The Ghosts of Galway

Bruen, Ken 2017

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 a bit of 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 ever more 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.

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In the Galway Silence

Bruen, Ken 2018

Ken Bruen has been called “hard to resist, with his aching Irish heart, silvery tongue, and bleak noir sensibility” (New York Times Book Review). His prose is as characteristically sharp as his outlook in the latest Jack Taylor novel, In the Galway Silence.

After much tragedy and violence, Jack Taylor has at long last landed at contentment. Of course, he still knocks back too much Jameson and dabbles in uppers, but he has a new woman in his life, a freshly bought apartment, and little sign of trouble on the horizon.

Once again, trouble comes to him, this time in the form of a wealthy Frenchman who wants Jack to investigate the double-murder of his twin sons. Jack is meanwhile roped into looking after his girlfriend’s nine-year-old son, and is in for a shock with the appearance of a character out of his past.

The plot is one big chess game and all of the pieces seem to be moving at the behest of one dangerously mysterious player: a vigilante called “Silence,” because he’s the last thing his victims will ever hear. This is Ken Bruen at his most darkly humorous, his most lovably bleak, as he shows us the meaning behind a proverb of his own design―“the Irish can abide almost anything save silence.

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Galway Girl

Bruen, Ken 2019

Jack Taylor has never quite been able get his life together, but now he has truly hit rock bottom. Still reeling from a violent family tragedy, Taylor is busy drowning his grief in Jameson and uppers, as usual, when a high-profile officer in the local Garda is murdered.

After another Guard is found dead, and then another, Taylor’s old colleagues from the force implore him to take on the case. The plot is one big game, and all of the pieces seem to be moving at the behest of one dangerously mysterious team: a trio of young killers with very different styles, but who are united their common desire to take down Jack Taylor.

Their ring leader is Jericho, a psychotic girl from Galway who is grieving the loss of her lover, and who will force Jack to confront some personal trauma from his past. As sharp and sardonic as it is starkly bleak and violent, Galway Girl shows master raconteur Ken Bruen at his best: lyrical, brutal, and ceaselessly suspenseful.

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And that's the end of the complete list! Now that you have it - the next step for you is to of course purchase them and dive into reading Jack Taylor books. Worry not, we've done the tedious job for you and added amazon direct book links including AudioBook, Kindle, Paperback and Hardcover versions as applicable.

Happy reading!


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