John Connolly was born in Dublin in 1968. His debut -EVERY DEAD THING - swiftly launched him right into the front rank of thriller writers, and all his subsequent novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers. He is the first non-American writer to win the US Shamus award.
In private detective Charlie Parker's fourth installment (after Every Dead Thing), Connolly continues the disturbing saga of the mentally and physically bruised Parker, who is a magnet for the most evil villains imaginable. Connolly, who lives in Ireland, depicts an America that chills to the bone. Here he interweaves America's brutal history of racism with today's white supremacist movement to create a backdrop for psychotic criminals whose territory includes the supernatural, as well as Maine and the swamps of South Carolina. The wounds of our racial history (for example, lynching), which most Americans would prefer to consider historical anomalies, are presented as evidence of an epic evil that must be confronted if yesterday's and today's victims are to rest. And once again, Charlie Parker is forced to confront his inner demons and those who seek to hurt his loved ones, including his tough and resourceful pregnant girlfriend. Parker still wrestles with his tendency toward moral absolutism, which is, thankfully, not exhibited by his two intriguing friends, Louis and Angel, a gay couple who stamp out evil in their own no-holds-barred fashion. Connolly's other titles in the series should be read in order, as villains reappear in them or are related in unpredictable ways. Recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/02.]-Lisa Bier, Southern Connecticut Univ., New London Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"I have learned to embrace the dead and they, in their turn, have found a way to reach out to me." It's becoming increasingly clear from pronouncements such as this that PI Charlie Parker is hardly your garden-variety mystery protagonist. In Connolly's latest spine-tingling opus (after The Killing Kind), readers gain further insights into the soul of this tormented man-a hero of uncommon depth and compulsions. We also learn more about Angel and Louis, Parker's longtime cronies (and gay Odd Couple) who function as Greek chorus, avenging angels and their buddy's conscience. Angel resembles "the runway model for a decorators' convention, assuming that the decorators' tastes veered toward five-six, semiretired gay burglars," while Louis possesses "six feet six inches of attitude, razor-sharp dress sense, and gay Republican pride." (Note to Connolly: how about a spin-off novel for these two idiosyncratic supporting players?) Parker's description of his newest case-"dead people, a mystery, more dead people"-exemplifies his bluntness; true to form, he's never far from a cutting remark or casual wisecrack (hearing that an especially odious character has "found Jesus," Parker observes, "I figure Jesus should be more careful about who finds Him"). When a former colleague who's practicing law in Charleston, S.C., asks for Parker's help on a racially charged murder case, Parker reluctantly leaves his Maine habitat. The South that he encounters is found in no guidebook: it's a pernicious locale where the good old boys are far from good, where country music speaks "of war and vengeance" and where one soulless individual "smelled of slow burning... like the odor left after an oil fire had just been extinguished." Adding eerie overtones to Connolly's intricately plotted tale are more of Parker's musings on the concept of death and the nature of evil-soliloquies often accompanied by spectral visions. The malevolence here is almost palpable (even more so than in Parker's earlier outings). 25-city author tour. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
. . . brilliantly entertaining . . . Connolly is a gifted writer who leaves you like a hungry kid begging for more. - Voyeur (Australia)Darkly atmospheric and menacing tale - Irish TimesShocks galore keep the pages flying. - Deadly PleasuresOne of the most distinguished practitioners of US crime-writing. The book synthesises literate, poetic writing with scarifying grue. - IndependentWhat makes Parker intriguing is precisely that, though a crusader against evil, he has a dark side: he is haunted by the past, his capacity for violence and guilt. - Telegraph MagazineConnolly has honed the private eye's instincts into a sensibility of palpable evil that makes a strong core to this intelligent thriller. An assured, sophisticated tale . . . exciting but bittersweet. - The Timesthe delicious equivalent of being carried along a really top-class ghost train ride . . . one of the fastest-paced and most complex thrillers that you are likely to read this or any other year. Cyrus Nairn [is] the kind of villain who makes Hannibal Lector seem like a traffic warden. A cracking read from an excellent and highly original writer. . . pacy, blackly humorous and with a nasty edge. - Ferdia Mac Anna, Sunday Independent, DublinThis book is truly chilling . . . secures Connolly's status as a star in the new wave of crime writing. His best so far . . . nerve-wracking