John Connolly

The only other author who speaks to my darker soul alongside Stephen King. Superb atmospheric writing that digs deep. Work in Progress to complete reviews of all novels. Re-reading joy.

Find out more here: http://www.johnconnollybooks.com/

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Publication Date: 27th October (US)  from Atria. 15th October (UK) From Hodder and Staughton

Source: Netgalley (Atria)

A decade after Nocturnes first terrified and delighted readers, John Connolly, bestselling author of thirteen acclaimed thrillers featuring private investigator Charlie Parker, gives us a second volume of tales of the supernatural. From stories of the monstrous for dark winter nights to fables of fantastic libraries and haunted books, from a tender account of love after death to a frank, personal, and revealing account of the author’s affection for myths of ghosts and demons, this is a collection that will surprise, delight—and terrify.

It’s hard to believe actually that it’s been that long since Nocturnes (reviewed further down this page) – I’m a fan of short stories and novella’s, they fill in reading gaps and can be particularly beautiful and intriguing to read when in the right hands and of course they are definitely in the right hands here.

Night Music contains a selection of short haunting stories and two longer novella’s – one of which, The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository, has become one of my favourite tales of all time. I actually read it twice. In fact I might read it again after writing this review…

The collection definitely has something for everyone, including an essay that gives us some insight into the mind of the author, one of those times I think gosh, he should write some non fiction too – These read very differently to the Parker novels – but in a way are all the more brilliant for it, another string to the bow of an extraordinarily talented writer.

Connolly’s prose is intuitive and absorbing, taking the reader to the dark side and enveloping them in a different world – I am hoping that we don’t have to wait another decade for more like this – a bit of a masterclass in the art of the short story, whilst this author and Mr King are still writing them, I don’t think we need fear the death of the format.

Fantastic. Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 9th April 2015 from Hodder and Staughton

Source: Bookbridgr

Recovering from a near-fatal shooting and tormented by memories of a world beyond this one, Parker has retreated to the small Maine town of Boreas to recover. There he befriends a widow named Ruth Winter and her young daughter, Amanda. But Ruth has her secrets. She is hiding from the past, and the forces that threaten her have their origins in the Second World War, in a town called Lubko and a concentration camp unlike any other. Old atrocities are about to be unearthed, and old sinners will kill to hide their sins. Now Parker is about to risk his life to defend a woman he barely knows, one who fears him almost as much as she fears those who are coming for her.His enemies believe him to be vulnerable. Fearful. Solitary. But they are wrong. Parker is far from afraid, and far from alone. For something is emerging from the shadows . . .

Pretty unbelievable that Charlier Parker is on his 13th outing, seems like only yesterday I picked up “Every Dead Thing” rather randomly and became an immediate and lifelong fan of this author and of this series in particular. 13 may be unlucky for some but not in this case because “A Song of Shadows” has a beautiful quality about it, following as it does the emotional and traumatic events of “A Wolf in Winter”, a book that had me distraught for weeks. In a good way.

A bit of background for anyone who has not yet started these… Charlie Parker is a private investigator, who lost his family to the serial killer known as The Travelling Man. Each book takes Charlie one step closer to the end game (sob, I feel it coming now I really do, one time in my reading life I hope I’m wrong and there are another 20 books on the way) whilst each one also has its own self contained storyline. Even so I would highly recommend that you read these in order without missing a step – the richness and depth of the mythology that John Connolly has created here is pitch perfect both in construction and prose, with each novel leading you slowly towards something I still cannot yet imagine – as such the complete experience is better served as a sequence of events.

Looking at “A Song of Shadows” then, here we find Charlie recuperating from the violent attack he suffered, watched over as ever by the elusive Louis and Angel, he moves to a small town to take the time to heal. Living next door is Ruth Winter and her daughter Amanda – Ruth hides a dark secret with its roots firmly in the past. Of course Charlie gets involved. It is who he is.

I read this in a day, such is the addictive quality of the writing and the story unfolding – often taking time out to take a step back, I’m not sure why exactly but these stories always get right to the heart of me. It may be crime fiction with a twist but it is also poetic, haunting and highly emotional. Always. The sheer wonder of Charlie Parker’s world ends up giving me just as much pain as pleasure emotionally speaking, I am wrung out by the end of them, this one was no different. It is why I love them and will read to the bitter end (please don’t end) because books that touch the soul are rare – and books with this subject matter that do so are even more unusual.

The ongoing mythology of the series takes a huge step with very few words in this instalment – another huge strength of the writing is the author’s ability to get a world of meaning, passion and anticipation into a few small sentences – as well as dealing with Ruth’s issues, Charlie has his own family to consider. This thread of the tale was truly terrific, although of course it also made me mad as all heck that now I have to wait again. I’m really not good at waiting. I don’t like it. It makes me grumpy.

All our well loved characters are back, including a brief cameo from my personal favourite “bad” guy –  the interactions and conversations are electric as ever, the relationships solid and developing. I may take this opportunity to mention that I really hope that Mr Connolly might give us another novel somewhere in there that gives Louis and Angel their own tale of woe (see The Reapers) because these two marvellous men certainly deserve that and I’m sure there is a lot left unsaid for this pair.

Overall this was fantastic. I always think it cannot possibly hit me any harder but each time it does – beautifully written, literary genius and without doubt my favourite series in the history of the world ever. So highly recommended that highly recommended doesnt even cover it. If you have not read these yet you are missing something incredible. Don’t do that. Life is too short.

 

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Publication Date: April 10th 2014 from Hodder and Staughton.

Thank you kindly to Ellie Cheele for arranging the copy via Netgalley. You are now one of my favourite people!

The community of Prosperous, Maine has always thrived when others have suffered. Its inhabitants are wealthy, its children’s future secure. It shuns outsiders. It guards its own. And at the heart of the Prosperous lie the ruins of an ancient church, transported stone by stone from England centuries earlier by the founders of the town . . .
Charlie Parker has been marked to die so that Prosperous may survive.

First things first – if you have not yet started this series then LOOK AWAY NOW there may be minor spoilers ahead for previous novels (very minor but still!) and also – on top of that – if you HAVENT read them then why the heck not? Off you go. Every Dead Thing is where you start..

So we come to “The Wolf in Winter”. At the end of the previous book the murky relationship between Charlie and The Collector  hit dangerous territory..and life for all my favourite characters was about to get more interesting. And deadly. As we open, the aftershocks of previous events resonate and thats before our Mr Parker comes to the notice of the inhabitants of a town called Prosperous…

I find these books quite difficult to review if I’m honest. When I review Stephen King I often want to shout “JUST READ IT its brilliant what else do you need to know?” And I could easily apply that to all the works of Mr Connolly, most especially this particular series. And this instalment has left me traumatised, desperate for more, completely out of breath and absolutely in awe. Of the writing, of the depth of the mythology he has created here, at the sheer stunning emotional resonance of the people that inhabit that world. I have rarely come across such depth of character – so deep that you really do feel you know them all. I often have the feeling, that should somebody evil do something nasty  to me, that Charlie, Louis and Angel would track them to the ends of the earth. That is how real they become during the reading…

Prosperous is a scary place indeed. And once more Charlie and co will encounter the worst that the world has to offer and will not look away. It may be my favourite one yet for pure adrenalin rush – but to get into the plot too deeply is to spoil it indeed and I’m not going to do that. And some of you have a long way to go before you get here..

The supernatural elements aside, there is always more to these than meets the eye, they are terrifically well constructed novels that MUST be read in order to fully appreciate the Russian Doll quality of the the progression…one piece of information leading to the next, past acts echoing through present events..and always right at the heart and soul of it sits Private Detective Charlie Parker. Both his light and his darkness, his morality and his struggle with it. A truly amazing creation surrounded by other truly amazing creations, all making up a truly magnificent reading experience.

I have always said that Stephen King is the best writer out there (for me) and I tag myself as a SK fanatic. Because I am. The Wolf in Winter however means that I am now, officially, a John Connolly fanatic also. No doubt. Does he have an end game in mind for Mr Parker? I don’t want to know lest it destroy me…

Read it. Live it. Love it.

 

 

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A wonderful selection of short stories from Mr Connolly, including one featuring Charlie Parker (The Reflecting Eye) , I re-read these one a night over the last little while and once again was enthralled and delighted by each of them.

There is a great mix here – my favourite being “The Underbury Witches” – I do like a good evil witch story – closely followed by “Some Children Wander By Mistake” which, frankly, freaked me out, anyone who has the clown phobia should beware!

The Reflecting Eye, as well as telling us a bit more about Mr Parker, introduces a villain (hero? I kind of love him!) that those of us who follow the series avidly will come to know well – The Collector – as such it will remain with me until Charlie’s story comes to an end, whenever that may be.

You will also find a fun filled little vampire story and a creepy atmospheric ghost story amongst other things – I will leave you to discover for yourself.

Let me know which one gave you the nightmares!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

Charlie Parker series : Reviewed in Order.

 

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Charlie “Bird” Parker, tormented by the brutal, unsolved murders of his wife and young daughter is driven by visions of the dead. Parker tracks a serial killer from New York City to the American South, and finds his buried instincts — for love, survival, and, ultimately, for killing — awakening as he confronts a monster beyond imagining…

 

The first Charlie Parker novel and the one that got me hooked. Absolutely brilliant. Read this, then all the others. Really there is not a lot else to say. Charlie Parker is a unique “Private Eye” and you won’t find anyone else like him in the world of fiction. His “sidekicks” Angel and Louis you may find you grow even more attached to than you do to Charlie. Either way, his story begins here and now….travel the road. Do it. I’m not giving you anymore for the first book. Because as I did, you will know nothing. Then you will know that you are going to read John Connolly for as long as he is writing. As I will be….

 

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Haunted by the murder of his wife and daughter, former New York police detective Charlie Parker retreats home to Scarborough, Maine, to rebuild his shattered life. But his return reawakens old ghosts, drawing him into the manhunt for the killer of yet another mother and child. The obvious suspect is the young woman’s violent ex-husband. But there is another possibility — a mythical killer who lurks deep in the dark hollow of Parker’s own past.

 

The second instalment in the Charlie Parker series only intensified my feeling that this was going to be one of the best book series ever written. After my reread in order to review it for Mr Connolly’s page here, it was still as involving as ever. I’m forever discovering new things in these books – with the benefit of foresight – so before I forget I should warn readers that this is a series of books that you WILL want to read more than once!

Dark Hollow finds Charlie caught up in two connected cases – that of Tim Purdue, a man behind on his child support, who is involved with people he really shouldnt be involved with and that of a missing girl – his friend Walter’s daughter. Dark men seem to seek Charlie out – and this novel involves a very evil man and one that may give you nightmares – he is tied to Tim in ways that Charlie will discover to his cost. A dark tale to be sure, these always are – but my word, the relationships Charlie forges on his way through these tales are terrific. Light relief can be found in the passages involving the banter between Charlie, Louis and Angel – the killer and the thief – and boy do I wish I had a couple of friends like those two!

Once again there is a supernatural twist to this novel – but Mr Connolly’s use of it is intriguing and unique. Because IS it supernatural? Or is it just Charlie Parker’s psyche – as readers we very much have to decide for ourselves. Such intricate characterisation is very rare in novels of this nature – I would not know which box to put it in. This series tends to be filed under “Crime Fiction” in bookstores but that is very much not what it is at heart despite the mystery and murder elements. It is the tale of a man. The story of his life. I love them and am now very much looking forward to my reread of the next. Keep an eye out for further updates to this page folks. Happy reading!

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When the discovery of a mass grave in northern Maine reveals the grim truth behind the disappearance of a religious community, private detective Charlie Parker is drawn into a violent conflict with a group of zealots intent on tracking down a relic that could link them to the slaughter. Haunted by the ghost of a small boy and tormented by the demonic killer known as Mr. Pudd, Parker is forced to fight for his lover, his friends…and his very soul.

Oh the only thing I really need to tell you about this book is BEWARE MR PUDD. And if you are, like me, a ninny when it comes to all things arachnid, you MAY need to look away often during the reading of this one. From experience I know that this is not the darkest evil Charlie will face but I DO know it is the one that sticks out firmly in my mind…

I find it quite hard to review ANY of these novels without spoilers, the ongoing mythology and intrigue surrounding one of my best loved characters is deepened and further explored here. Along with Louis and Angel – perhaps the best ever “sidekicks” in the history of fiction – once more Charlie is surrounded by the darker side of human nature – drawn to him like moths to a flame.

Because I KNOW a lot of  what is coming I shall leave it there for the time being. But this is once again superbly written, inherently addictive, almost perfect writing that will engage the darkest recesses of your heart.

Happy Reading!

Next Re-Read will be:

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Look out for review soon.

 

 

3 Responses to John Connolly

  1. Anne McLauchlan says:

    Love John Connolly’s books. Charlie Parker is a fabulous character and Louis and Angel are characters that shouldn’t be likeable but they are. Also love The Book of Lost Things.

  2. Joe Dee says:

    I have read all of john’s books and eagerly await Night Music. I have my copy on order from The Gutter Bookshop where I had the pleasure of meeting John at the launch of A Song Of Shadows. What a gent.
    I hope John will forgive me for mentioning someone else’s book but lovers of the short horror story might find the Something Wicked anthologies interesting. Well worth a read.

  3. Amanda says:

    If you haven’t read his short story Wanderer in Unknown Realms you should ! It is so dark and twisted, excellent read !

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