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 exceptional. It's tight, involving, brutal, funny, and tragic all at the same time. While there is a mystery here, it is really the study of Jack that is the focus. Although I recognized the killer fairly early on, and I saw the end coming just before it happened, it made the end no less shattering. This is not an emotionally easy series to read, and certainly not for the cozy reader, but one I cannot rate highly enough.

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