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A detective novel with a supernatural twist, what more could you ask for! This is exactly how I would describe John Connolly’s books about Maine PI Charlie Parker. Parker’s first appearance was in Connolly’s first novel, Every Dead Thing, in which Charlie Parker’s wife and child are killed and he becomes consumed with hatred and a desire for revenge. He quits the NYPD and gains his private eye license in order to track down his wife and daughter’s killer. This career change sets him on a path that sees him come up against some pretty disturbing people and all sorts of evil.
In Connolly’s latest Charlie Parker thriller, The Lovers, Parker has to delve into his past and dredge up some memories that he would have sooner forgotten, and we also learn alot about his parents and the decisions that they had to make to protect him. I’ve only read a few of Connolly’s books about Parker but I now want to go back and read some of the earlier ones to fill in some gaps. However, you don’t have to have read any of his previous books to understand what’s going on.
I’m not really into crime books that are told from the perspective of police detectives or forensic experts as I find them a little too bogged down in jargon. This is one of the reasons I enjoy Connolly’s books so much as Parker is a PI working on his own and following his own rules, with some help from his acquaintances Angel and Louis. I also find that the feel of his books is similar to Dean Koontz as they’ve got a dark nature to them.
Two different crime series show the seamy or not so-seamy of life in other places. The latest Alexander McCall Smith confirms that this writer is turning into a parody of himself. The detective aspects of his novels have decreased as the series has worn on, whilst the domestic dramas have flourished. Increasingly, I feel like one of Catherine Cookson’s devotees. Not only am I finding myself immersed in the cloying family dramas of Mma Makutsi and Mma Ramotswe, but I eagerly await each new N0.1 Detective Agency Novel; hoping that it will be an improvement on the last. However, my faith is rewarded with disappointment.
In the latest Tea Time for the Traditionally Built the usual cliches exist: the references to Botswana’s achievements (with very little mention of AIDS or poverty), the well worn humour; the references to the fecklessness of the apprentices, the loyalty of her husband, the secretarial college etc, etc. This is a series that has worn out its welcome and one longs for a drug-crazed gang of Zulus to lay waste to the good and oh-so-boring inhabitants of Zebra Drive. Continue reading