In his eighth Jack Taylor novel, Ken Bruen pulls out all the stops. After being denied entry into the US, Taylor comes face-to-face with what appears to be the ultimate nemesis—the Devil himself. Taylor washes his anxieties down with healthy doses of Jameson and Xanax. However, it seems the Devil may have it in for the beleagered protagonist, because people Taylor cares about start dying in gruesome ways. After a time, not even booze and drugs will ease his pain. The book revisits many previous stories in the series, so reading them first may help. However, even if references are lost on novice readers, the story's compelling plot and Taylor's biting anguish and wit will pull them in. As Taylor gathers more evidence that he is, in fact, facing off with Lucifer, the suspense builds as he realizes he must stop him. The question is, how can he defeat the Devil?
Bruen writes choppy, terse prose that can read like poetry. Taylor's pain is masked with bleak Irish humor—sometimes laugh out loud funny. Fans of the series will find this familiar territory, although Bruen has raised the stakes considerably by bringing Old Scratch into the picture. The question of why the Devil would pick on Taylor in particular is raised throughout the book. The satanic character claims Taylor is cramping his style. So why not pick on the Mother Teresas of the world? In an early chapter, the Prince of Darkness says he'll plague Taylor merely for "a spot of diversion." However, could it be that like God, the Devil has a plan and Taylor isn't playing his part? It's one possible interpretation. As such, The Devil goes beyond suspense and noir conventions into the realm of the philosophical.