Publication Date: 9th April 2015 from Hodder and Staughton
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.
Find out more here: http://www.johnconnollybooks.com/
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First time? Read first:
Tormented by guilt over the brutal slaying of his wife and daughter, Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker, ex-cop with the NYPD, agrees to find a missing girl. The search leads him into an abyss of evil and he is warned that The Travelling Man will strike again.
Happy Reading Folks!