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Luckily, the rumors of Jack Taylor's demise were greatly exaggerated. There was talk that Ken Bruen had ended one of the blackest of noir series with the bitter Galway investigator. However, he is back and greeted with a world just as dark as the two cases he takes on.

The book reintroduces us to Jack as he wakes up from a coma. lasting from a couple of years after a stabbing, taking him out of the front part of Covid. Raftery, who operates the true crime podcast Galway Confidential saved him, recognizing him from come of the crimes he covered. Jack finds himself getting used to a social distanced Glaway that has hit the pubs hard.

He is approached by an ex nun who was friends with his deceased confidant, Sister Maeve. Two nuns have both been separately bludgeoned to death and the sisters would like him to help find the killer. With Rafferty's assistance he goes on the hunt. Later on, he is asked to go track down two psychopaths setting fire to their own. Jack also has to contend with alcoholic priest Father Pat's up and down sobriety and even another coma.

The book roughly covers three years in Jack's life and Galway's and our own as well. The Rip Van Winkle POV that Jack gives us, shows how much the world changed in a couple of years as he moves through the half lock down Galway on his case. His need to be a witness has him following the invasion of Ukraine, its refugees coming to Ireland, disasters, crazed politicians, and other bleak events in the news. When he can't pay in cash for a ticket to Nope in cash, he thinks about how the cashless society is creating a new strand of poor. He reflects, The whole fabric of how we lived had changed, but not improved.

Bruen often examines a word in the book's title and does here with confidential. He examines the idea of secrets shared and the relationship between those who share them. He shows how either the secret itself rots or causes rot to at least one on those involved in the bond.

Jack Taylor fans will be happy with our hero's return. Even out of a coma, he is still his cynical, hard drinking, anti-social self. We've learned it's a part of the gate he needs to survive with the deep feelings he has for his people, city, and even the world as all grow more endangered.


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