I managed to get my hands on a copy of Merrick by Ken Bruen and I very glad I did. I have been anticipating the release of this book for a long time but for some reason it seems stuck in publishing limbo. With a book this strong, I am stunned that it isn’t being gobbled up by a publishing company and put out to the masses. Any fan of Bruen’s work will love this book and it would be a big seller.
Bruen has created two great characters that will carry a great series of books. They have great chemistry and share great dialogue. The book leaves itself open to further additions to the series and I believe the reading public would clamor for more books that feature the characters.
Tommy Ryan is a former Irish policeman who has come to America amid a personal burnout and he is seeking a new life. He has lost his marriage, and thus his son, and he is at a personal crossroad. He enters a bar and happens to meet Merrick, a former policeman turned bartender. The two men hit it off and develop a friendship that is both volatile and rooted in a love for the life of a policeman.
Merrick is a former partner of Moe Prager (a main character from Reed Farrel Coleman’s series of books. Bruen and Coleman have collaborated on a previous novel together) and is searching for a serial killer who leaves him clues to his identity. After establishing a trust with Ryan, he brings Ryan into the hunt and they scour the boroughs of New York in their attempt to stop this killer.
I love dark, disturbing reading material and even I was taking back by the opening of this book. Bruen’s killer is one disturbing individual. The parts of the book that feature him are disturbing on so many levels and they show that Bruen has the ability to elicit emotions from even the most seasoned readers of noir and hardboiled material.
Bruen has created on hell of a great book. The characters are multi-dimensional and jump off the page. As always, he limits his writing to include only the bare necessities and that style plays well in this book. Whatever is holding this book back from being released needs to be rectified. This is the best work from Bruen I have read in a long time.