Dark Hollow

Dark Hollow

Dark Hollow is a masterful second novel from a young Irish writer whose storytelling skills were established with Every Dead Thing. Now his fiery, ingenious detective, Charlie Bird Parker, returns to uncover a legacy of evil that has haunted Maine citizens for decades....

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Title:Dark Hollow
Author:John Connolly
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Dark Hollow Reviews

  • Dirk Grobbelaar

    The success of

    appears to have energized John Connolly, because here he writes with a confidence and clarity that other authors take a lifetime to achieve. If ever.

    A particularly vivid experience, this. You can taste, smell and breathe this book. The opening words, "

    " set the tone of the novel. It is indeed the stuff of dreams. Terrifying dreams.

    The plot involves the hunt for a serial killer, as with

    's

    . You'll have to decide

    The success of

    appears to have energized John Connolly, because here he writes with a confidence and clarity that other authors take a lifetime to achieve. If ever.

    A particularly vivid experience, this. You can taste, smell and breathe this book. The opening words, "

    " set the tone of the novel. It is indeed the stuff of dreams. Terrifying dreams.

    The plot involves the hunt for a serial killer, as with

    's

    . You'll have to decide for yourself which is the most terrifying between the aforementioned and Dark Hollow's

    . John Connolly weaves an intricate tapestry and this book is a joy to read, once again. You'll be forgiven if you're reminded of

    's Odd Thomas once in a while.

    Highly, highly recommended.

  • Paul Nelson

    So the second book in the Charlie Parker series, and my reread mission continues. Hired by a woman to get child support from her ex-husband, Charlie joins a lengthy queue of people searching for Billy Purdue and the alleged funds he's suddenly come into. Pretty soon Rita Purdue and her son are dead, there are mobsters, hitmen and all sorts running round being naughty and Charlie has to wade through it a

    So the second book in the Charlie Parker series, and my reread mission continues. Hired by a woman to get child support from her ex-husband, Charlie joins a lengthy queue of people searching for Billy Purdue and the alleged funds he's suddenly come into. Pretty soon Rita Purdue and her son are dead, there are mobsters, hitmen and all sorts running round being naughty and Charlie has to wade through it all with a little help from Angel and Louis.

    His old boss Walter Cole's daughter comes to visit and then goes missing, everything leads back to Dark Hollow and a chapter of Charlie Parker's history. His Grandfather back in the day, was haunted by a series of deaths, missing women. A killer that was never caught, sure enough someone went down for it but he never believed they'd caught the right man.

    There's some top quality creepy bad guys in Dark Hollow, aside from the usual nasty mafia mobsters, there's Abel and Stritch (or Lurch and Uncle Fester as I fondly remember them).

    Stritch is a completely disturbing individual and his meeting with Charlie is top draw.

    Stritch is small fry compared to a man, a ghost who even has a little ditty sung about him to frighten the children.

    But this was from the time of his grandfather, surely this monster was long dead. The man who everyone said tore those woman apart and left them hanging from a tree.

    Of course the good guys and all those not so good guys, meet up for various picnic and brunch activities. A few knives, the odd firearm and cucumber sandwiches with a few beers, can't go wrong. You know the score, multiple plot lines, fascinating and terrifying characters, delightful prose, the odd bit of humour all make for a tremendous read and series. The supernatural aspect is just starting to peek over the covers, readying to jump out and expand the already massive list of points that have you eagerly awaiting the next release.

    My reread or listen to, are the audios narrated by Jeff Harding who gives voice to Charlie Parker and the gang, quite brilliantly in fact and there are just way too many quotes to include in a review and actually include some opinion (Paul shut the fuck up, you’re boring me), next up is The Killing Kind.

    A 4.5* rating rounded up for the audio.

    Also posted at

  • John Culuris

    In Charlie Parker’s debut,

    , John Connolly introduced a protagonist who had already fallen from grace; a New York City police detective, he was getting drunk in a bar as his wife and young daughter were being brutally murdered. With absolutely no progress made on the case in the months that follow, he falls further, as evidenced in part by his resignation. Only in taking on a different case privately do details emerge that lead to the dead-of-night serial killer that took his fam

    In Charlie Parker’s debut,

    , John Connolly introduced a protagonist who had already fallen from grace; a New York City police detective, he was getting drunk in a bar as his wife and young daughter were being brutally murdered. With absolutely no progress made on the case in the months that follow, he falls further, as evidenced in part by his resignation. Only in taking on a different case privately do details emerge that lead to the dead-of-night serial killer that took his family. In the process Parker manages to alienate or push away what friends and colleagues he has left.

    finds Charlie Parker having abandoned the New York of his recent past for the Maine of his youth, living in emotional solitude. Asked by a family friend to try and collect at least some of the alimony money owed by her ex-husband, Parker’s brief confrontation with the man and the subsequent murder of the woman and her two-year old boy promptly involve him in the case, a case that contains threads as diverse as a long dormant local serial killer and low level mobsters out of Boston (which is only 2 to 3 hours away, depending on traffic around Boston and the severity of the weather as you travel north). Their presence allows for considerably more action than in the previous novel. That is not to say the atmospheric scenes that Connolly excels at creating are absent. To the contrary, the grisly (and graphically described) nature of the local crimes insures plenty of darkness to be uncovered from beneath the snow-white landscape.

    Parker does have two friends left: an ex-thief and a semi-retired hired killer. Both men are tough, fearless, and are lovers. But not clichés. This is the case with everyone we meet, including Charlie Parker himself; they are all fully-rounded characters. Perhaps that’s why these two in particular, people from the other side of the law, are the only ones who could comprehend what Parker went through during his fall and ensuing climb back. They deal themselves into his situation when word of some of what is happening filters down to New York. They are needed, particularly when dealing with open gunplay. It leaves Parker free to oppose a more sinister evil.

    As with the first novel, there is a latent supernatural quality woven into the subtext. In short, Charlie Parker sees dead people. Maybe. Or maybe they are only dreams, remnants of the self-inflicted torture that resulted from the loss of his family. The latter seems more likely as these “ghost” seem to haunt him without providing any kind of help in terms of knowledge or information. And there is certainly nothing supernatural about the solution and the villains hunted are very, very real. So even if the ghosts in question turn out to be “real” as well--and from what I’ve heard about future additions to the series, the supernatural aspect becomes more prominent--in this particular story they can (and should) be accepted as elements of character and atmosphere. It will leave you more open to an engrossing experience.

  • Gary

    It's hard to describe how much I am enjoying this series. I have had several mediocre to bad reads lately, and these last two books by this author have been a dark, refreshing wind. The main character, Charlie Parker, continues to develop and grow. By beginning with the horror introduced in the first book, the author is able to create psychological parallels and foundations that build both plot platforms interpersonally and through the horrific events that seem to gravitate toward the protagonis

    It's hard to describe how much I am enjoying this series. I have had several mediocre to bad reads lately, and these last two books by this author have been a dark, refreshing wind. The main character, Charlie Parker, continues to develop and grow. By beginning with the horror introduced in the first book, the author is able to create psychological parallels and foundations that build both plot platforms interpersonally and through the horrific events that seem to gravitate toward the protagonist.

    There is no doubt that the author is a master of dark psychology. Limiting the perspective to first person increases the suspense and draws the reader further into the plot by creating sympathy for what is becoming an increasingly violent character. Part of what fuels the story is that there seem to be several plot running simultaneously, yet as they weave into one resolution with the common denominator- Charlie Parker.

    It's hard not to like Charlie, but it is equally hard to imagine anyone wanting to be in his life. Part of the tension in the story comes from knowing that anyone close to him could die in a horrible manner at any moment- as a matter of fact,they often do.

    I would rate this five and a half stars if I could.

  • Srividya

    I met Charlie Parker for the first time last year, when I read John Connolly’s first book in the Charlie Parker series, Every Dead Thing. To say I fell in love with him is a mere expression of the tip of an iceberg with regard to my feelings for Charlie Parker; they go definitely deeper than mere love for a fictional character. He is not your usual hero, all swashbuckling and saving damsels in distresses while showing he has no fears or that such events are just a part of his life. Oh no, he is

    I met Charlie Parker for the first time last year, when I read John Connolly’s first book in the Charlie Parker series, Every Dead Thing. To say I fell in love with him is a mere expression of the tip of an iceberg with regard to my feelings for Charlie Parker; they go definitely deeper than mere love for a fictional character. He is not your usual hero, all swashbuckling and saving damsels in distresses while showing he has no fears or that such events are just a part of his life. Oh no, he is dark, really dark and he is gritty, not to mention totally morose and is also capable of violence and is not ashamed to admit it. I have to take a minute to explain here that his violence is not against innocent people but it is to save innocents from those who are out to victimize them or kill them. However, the very fact that one is capable of violence can and often does put people off. I guess I am not one of them because I accept that each and every one of us has a kernel of violence lurking way below all that sophistication and polished veneer that we show to the world. In any case, whatever be the reason, I love Charlie Parker, and therefore entered his world again with absolute joy and I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed at all.

    John Connolly is definitely one of my favourite authors now, especially when it comes to writing dark crime. His absolute grasp over the plot, his characters, their emotions and all the gore that goes with such books is simply amazing. He is an author who delves deep, really deep into the human psyche and brings out both the best as well as the worst that is possible by the human mind. Blood and gore do not frighten him and neither does depravity. He actually embraces it and ensures that his characters embrace it as well, to the extent that it is real and not fiction anymore. He brings it alive in his books and his characters do not remain fictional characters but real life ones, experiencing these events in real time, and you as a reader are in for the ride with them. Oh what a ride it is, full of dark twists, deep emotions, suspenseful moments and at the end, a not so neat ending, although it definitely answers all your questions.

    No character of Connolly’s is straight or rather depicted in black and white, but they are all imbued with different shades. Passion runs high in these books and you are caught up in that passion, so much so that you aren’t a mere spectator but someone actually living the incidents with those characters. Be it the hero or the villain, you are taken into the deep recesses of their minds to such an extent that you don’t really love or hate them but actually understand them. The dark tones that are present in the world building is also present in the depiction and even the growth of the characters. Charlie Parker is vulnerable at his best and is often besieged with such fears and doubts that he wouldn’t really make a great hero and yet it is for these vulnerabilities and doubts that you end up loving him and rooting for him.

    In terms of plot, the author balances the very thin line between right and wrong with aplomb. Charlie’s best friends are ex criminals or even currently wanted because they do take up hits for monetary gains. When looking at it from a rigid point of view, one would say that this is wrong. And yet throughout the book Angel and Louis steal your heart with their sense of loyalty and protection for Charlie. The depth of that relationship, while not explored explicitly, is nevertheless strong for you to accept and relish it. Each book in the series reveals different sides of their characters and it is interesting how the author has developed them. Their interactions are full of fun and mirth, which gives you a chuckle or two, even when it is a really tense moment. This is not to say that the author has made tense moments funny or outright hilarious but it is his strength that he has managed to bring in two different elements without making it feel contrived or out of place.

    The action sequences throughout the book were excellent, except perhaps towards the end, where it had a slight Hollywood touch to it. However, it did not take away any enjoyment I had from the book but it did make me reduce a star. Another problem I had with the book was the ending, it happened way too neatly for my taste. Moreover, it was too clean and somehow the dark tones that were present throughout the book disappeared. There was a certain ambiguity as well to the end, which I quite liked, but would have preferred it to be less neatly tied up than it was. Or maybe I should say that after such a wonderfully dark tone, the end was pretty tame, which kind of made me sad.

    Despite these small disappointments, I truly enjoyed the book and will definitely be reading more of this series as I truly love Charlie Parker. While I gear up to read the next book, why don’t you give the first one a try, am sure you will enjoy it, especially if you enjoy crime thrillers with a dark overtone.

  • Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー

    I don't read many thrillers. In fact,

    I only read a thriller when the mood strikes me

    )

    He really is that weird.

    In "Dark Hollow",

    Ex-detective Charlie Parker takes on a

    I don't read many thrillers. In fact,

    I only read a thriller when the mood strikes me

    )

    He really is that weird.

    In "Dark Hollow",

    Ex-detective Charlie Parker takes on a case which entwines with his past and present; a case whose suspects could ruin the futures of many.

    If you would like to escape your run-of-the-mill whodunnit, this is the book for you.

    The best characters in this book are a gay couple,

    , who

    That being said, I'm glad my uncle hit me over the head and I hope he does it again. Connolly uses a style that is a lot like the stereotypical detective novel

    but there is an underlying uniqueness to his writing.

    "Dark Hollow" is a

  • Fiona

    The great Charlie Parker re-read continues with Dark Hollow, and boy but this one was determined to live up to the name. If these earlier books didn't hold such great nostalgia value for me, I'd be sorely tempted to

    The great Charlie Parker re-read continues with Dark Hollow, and boy but this one was determined to live up to the name. If these earlier books didn't hold such great nostalgia value for me, I'd be sorely tempted to skip to the later books (as with all worthwhile series, each book contains threads of earlier foundations but can be read as a standalone without suffering). That, and the sheer quality of the positively lyrical writing just keep pulling me back in.

    I'm really not exaggerating the darkness in this one. We kick things off with the murder of a young woman and her young son, segue into a Mafia plot that increases the body count dramatically, and ends with the kind of

    that inspired the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Oh, and for those who need a warning about animal deaths -

    .

    need a warning about animal deaths, so it should absolutely be a sign of just how good the

    of this book is that it still gets four stars.

    Louis and Angel continue to delight - they're much less labelled in this second book, though still firmly an interracial couple of hitmen, and from memory the most stable relationship of the series. The writing positively sings - John Connolly might show us ugly, ugly things, but they're made in the kind of writing that paints pictures in your head and sings with soul and positively outrageous talent. It's as though the lacemakers of Chantilly decided to recreate the black paintings of Francisco Goya.

    In short, if you like your criminals and killers ruthless, your heroes tortured but soulful, and surrounding settings and characters that will stay with you for years, this series should work for you.

  • mark monday

    . I am hopeful but realistic. I treat books like I treat people. am I prepared to "like" - i.e. 3 stars - a person right off the bat? well yeah, why not. but am I prepared to "really like" - 4 stars - a person, automatically? I don't think so, let's get to know each other first.

    Dark Hollow is a solid 3 star book. I liked it. haunted former police detective Charlie Parker is embroiled in his second crime mystery, this time involving an array of rep

    . I am hopeful but realistic. I treat books like I treat people. am I prepared to "like" - i.e. 3 stars - a person right off the bat? well yeah, why not. but am I prepared to "really like" - 4 stars - a person, automatically? I don't think so, let's get to know each other first.

    Dark Hollow is a solid 3 star book. I liked it. haunted former police detective Charlie Parker is embroiled in his second crime mystery, this time involving an array of repulsive villains including a pair of repulsive hitmen, a repulsive serial killer, and a repulsive mafia guy. also involved is a repulsive sheriff who holds a grudge against Parker and a repulsive man-on-the-run who is at the center of the mystery. quite a repulsive cast! but the novel itself is not repulsive, for several reasons.

    item 1: Connolly excels at creating atmosphere. the first book in this series captured various parts of the Southern U.S. perfectly. the atmosphere was rich and intensely flavored. the same goes for this novel, where we are placed in the cold and eerie backwoods of Maine. Connelly is absolutely top-notch when it comes to conveying how a place really feels. it may be his primary strength.

    item 2: our protagonist's closest friends - a thief and an assassin who are also lovers - are as delightful as they were in the first book. I would like to open up a delightful bed & breakfast with this delightful duo, one that caters to snooty rich types. the thief can steal their pretty jewels and the assassin can kill the ones that particularly annoy us. what a pleasant life we'd lead!

    item 3: our haunted hero Charlie Parker is not just layered, sympathetic, and genuinely interesting... he is literally

    . so there's that. Like! Parker is a modern noir hero: moody and occasionally violent, thoughtful and surprisingly kind, and he really respects women. what's not to like?

    unfortunately Connolly throws too much into this intriguing mix. there are way too many repulsive villains and the result is a book that felt a bit weighed down with all of its various plot threads, which of course have to come together in the end. also, Parker's romances are a bit eye-rolling at times.

    so Dark Hollow is quite enjoyable but it has flaws that annoyed me. 3 stars. I liked it, but I'm not going to marry it. I'm not sure I'd even date it. but hey, we can go out for drinks or something.

  • carol.

    I ordered this from the library with ambivalence; though I enjoy Connolly's writing, I didn't find the first book of the Charlie Parker series particularly

    (body count was a little high for me). However, book 8,

    was engrossing and well done, so I thought it was worth finding out more about Parker's timeline. Also, his Samuel Jackson series is excellent. I found a rather solid mystery-thriller, peppered with the descriptive passages I've come to love.

    The plot centers around

    I ordered this from the library with ambivalence; though I enjoy Connolly's writing, I didn't find the first book of the Charlie Parker series particularly

    (body count was a little high for me). However, book 8,

    was engrossing and well done, so I thought it was worth finding out more about Parker's timeline. Also, his Samuel Jackson series is excellent. I found a rather solid mystery-thriller, peppered with the descriptive passages I've come to love.

    The plot centers around Parker doing a pity-favor for a old childhood acquaintance. She'd like child support from her husband Billy Purdue so she can take their son and head out of state. Billy thinks he's gonna make good if his latest plan works: only trouble is that it means stealing from a desperate mob boss. Billy and the money disappear, Rita and her son are killed, and everyone's on the hunt for the money. Parker is ready to let it go when the ghosts of the dead start haunting him. As he works to find Billy, Parker runs into a local horror legend and the case that haunted his grandfather back in his policing days. Like good friends do, Angel and Louis come to keep an eye on Parker's exposed back.

    That's the rough set-up, frequently peppered with conflict. The body count is high: about 2/3 through when I realized we were in double digits of witnessed deaths, not counting stories about people who have been killed (seriously--it was easily in the 20s). I'm unsure why many of these were necessary to the story, as they don't particularly bring added suspense. The mob plotline seemed a little bit... I don't know. Extraneous? Dated? Passe as a villain, although Parker certainly recognizes that's why they've become so desperate. On the more positive side of the body count, Connolly he doesn't seem as absorbed in the details of the deaths as in the first book, which made them easier to tolerate or skim over. And why skim over? Because tucked into the thriller is a clever mystery, even if I did figure it out, as well as Connolly's engaging writing. There are beautiful passages of description creating both the love for the Maine area and the acceptance of its old and bloody history.

    Parker continues to evolve emotionally as he faces the one-year anniversary of his family's death. Connolly avoids wallowing in angst and starts to take it to the next step. Angel and Louis play significant roles, and part of the enjoyment in the story is the dynamic between them and Parker. There are moments where they each open up about their own darkness to Parker, and I absolutely got the sense of connection and of friendship between a trio who have started to morph into avenging angels.

    Overall, it's worth my time to continue checking it out, although my problems with the genre mean it isn't one I'll devour back to back.

  • Lyn

    Dark.

    To describe a book entitled Dark Hollow by decidedly dark fiction writer John Connolly and starring the most definitely dark protagonist Charlie “Bird” Parker seems a bit redundant, but that’s the feeling left after having read Dark Hollow … that it is dark.

    Parker is dark because he is still haunted by the brutal slayings of his wife and child, as described in the equally dark first novel in the series, Connolly’s dark 1999 novel

    – which does not contain the word dark, but

    Dark.

    To describe a book entitled Dark Hollow by decidedly dark fiction writer John Connolly and starring the most definitely dark protagonist Charlie “Bird” Parker seems a bit redundant, but that’s the feeling left after having read Dark Hollow … that it is dark.

    Parker is dark because he is still haunted by the brutal slayings of his wife and child, as described in the equally dark first novel in the series, Connolly’s dark 1999 novel

    – which does not contain the word dark, but does mention “dead” and except for a certain lively band usually means dark also. Bird has travelled north (alluded to dark origins in the text) to get away from dark New York and the dark goings on there. To little avail, up in cold dark Maine, trouble finds him again – this time in the dark tale of a dark serial killer who provided a dark history for Parker’s DEAD grandfather.

    Dark is the skin color of the most compelling and enjoyable character in this second novel, Parker’s friend Louis. Besides being of African descent, Louis is also an assassin (a dark trade). Connolly may have introduced Louis and his lover Angel into the series for something akin to comic relief, but Louis is a showstopper, scene stealer and deal breaker by virtue of his dark and DEADLY martial abilities. If I were casting an actor in this role, I would select the dark and handsome British actor Delroy Lindo.

    So a good book, action packed, enjoyable, page turning and … dark.

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