The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker Thriller) by John Connolly
|The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker Thriller) by John Connolly|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: Prosperous is a small town with a dark secret that pulls many in, including private investigator Charlie Parker. Unlike the others, he may survive… or not… Great tension from a master thriller writer who will put you off small towns for life!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 448||Date: January 2015|
|Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks|
|External links: Author's website|
Private investigator Charlie Parker is surprised when Jude, a bum he's befriended and worked with in the past, is found hanged in a basement. It looks like suicide but Jude has been looking for his daughter Annie to rekindle their family relationship and has just raised over $100 to help find her. Odd time for suicide? It becomes an even odder prospect when Annie herself goes missing after heading for the small Maine town of Prosperous. Charlie decides to drop in on the good citizens of the small town and starts poking beneath the respectable veneer. It doesn’t take him long but there is a downside: this investigation may have a body count that includes Charlie.
This is the 12th novel in the Irish thriller writer John Connolly's Charlie Parker series (or 13th if you want to count the novella). Charlie is dogged and loyal, two qualities that get him into frequent trouble alongside his erstwhile sidekicks and ex-contract killers Angel and Louis. Indeed, these aren't 2-D thriller heroes but flawed people with pasts that are played out in both their presents and presence. You may not want to take them home to mother but, when trouble hits, you'll want them on your side.
The other joy of this novel is the atmospheric pall that Connolly spreads with his usual panache. This time it hovers over Prosperous in deepening ominousity. The mode and reasons for death may be different but the feeling is very much reminiscent of the movie epitome of small town evil, The Wicker Man. The residents are people with a secret, although not all keep it willingly, causing us to side with baddies at times and adding a certain raggedness to our finger nails as a consequence.
As in the case of any of the Charlie Parker series, the books work as stand-alones as well as alluding to past moments and back stories as a bonus nod further rewarding we fans who are eagerly in for the long haul. For instance we begin Wolf with a continuation from the last novel as Louis and Angel continue to pin down the elusive and sinister Collector, subtly acting as an advert to entice new devotees.
Talking about teasing, John is actually the king of the tease line. Who can fail to double-take on lines like The next time I saw Macy I was dying.?
The pages are densely packed with print but still manage to fly by as the world of the pillars of community clash with that of the homeless in a gritty, bloody way much beloved by followers of Jeffery Deaver-type authors. This is not delicate asepticism but that just adds to the authenticity. We're with them down on the streets, not reading about it in the media.
If you're still wavering over whether this is worth a read, there's more. John Connolly was the first non-American author to receive the US Shamus award, the first Irish author to receive an 'Edgar' and has caused The Independent newspaper to proclaim the Charlie Parker books to be the finest crime series currently in existence. Now that is the sort of stuff that makes you feel your balance tipping isn't it?
(Grateful thanks due to the folks at Hodder for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: Of course any Charlie Parker book is well worth the recommendation for further reading, however The Reapers is especially interesting as it fills in the pasts of Louis and Angel.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker Thriller) by John Connolly at Amazon.com.
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