Ken Bruen was born in 1951 in Galway, on Ireland’s West coast. He is a teacher for English as a Foreign Language and earned a Ph.D. in Metaphysics at Trinity College in Dublin. He worked abroad for over 25 years as an English teacher.
He has written short stories and then novels, of which over 20 have been published. His novel »Rilke on Black« is set in the night-club scene. Bruen’s stories are always milieu studies, and his dialogues are »harsh and authentic« (The Times). With »The Guards« (2001) Bruen introduced his detective Jack Taylor, who went on to feature in many of his novels. Taylor has been fired from the Garda Síochána, the Republic of Ireland’s police force, and spends his time drinking and reading. He is eventually commissioned to investigate the disappearance of a girl. Bruen repeatedly punctuates his laconic writing with lyrical inserts and quotations from famous poets, which helps to form his unmistakable style. A weary view of life is apparent in Ken Bruen’s books, a fact which the author directly addresses: »I spent a Ph.D. searching for a coherence, an order. There is none. What stopped me from going the same way Jack [Taylor] did is writing. I love it too much to squander it for drugs and alcohol.« In addition to the Jack Taylor novels Bruen has also written a series about the detective Tom Brant, as well as the Max and Angela sequence. This includes, among other titles, »Bust« (2006), written in collaboration with Jason Starr: Max Fisher, a New York businessman, wants to get rid of his wife and replace her with his secretary, Angela Petrakos. Angela introduces him to Dillon, a former member of the IRA, who is to murder his wife for him. As in his other books, Bruen here dispenses ironical blows against his fellow countrymen: »Angela’s mother was Irish through and through: spiteful, bitter and stubborn as a mule.« Bruen’s latest book is called »Once Were Cops« (2008). Michael O’Shea is a policeman in the Republic of Ireland who takes part in an exchange programme with New York’s police department – but his dream of working with the NYPD becomes a nightmare.
Ken Bruen is the outstanding representative of »Irish Noir«, dark Irish crime fiction. In 2003 he won he Shamus Award for Best Novel for »The Guards«, and in 2010 he was awarded the German Prize for Crime Fiction. He lives with his family in Galway.