A Book of Bones

A Book of Bones

The new thrilling installment of John Connolly's popular Charlie Parker series.He is our best hope.He is our last hope.On lonely moor in the northeast of England, the body of a young woman is discovered near the site of a vanished church. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull.Each is a sacrifice,...

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Title:A Book of Bones
Author:John Connolly
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Edition Language:English

A Book of Bones Reviews

  • Karl

    “A Book of Bones” Written by John Connolly is book seventeen about the exploits of Charlie Parker, a ‘righter’ of wrongs, fighting for the better side of good and always battling against evil often with his protectors Angel and Louis.

    This time out, Charlie is on the trail of the seemingly immortal lawyer Quayle and his deadly enforcer, good with a knife, ghastly Pallida Mors who smells of death and decay.

    The story picks up shortly after the previous novel last year’s “The Woman in the Woods”.

    “A Book of Bones” Written by John Connolly is book seventeen about the exploits of Charlie Parker, a ‘righter’ of wrongs, fighting for the better side of good and always battling against evil often with his protectors Angel and Louis.

    This time out, Charlie is on the trail of the seemingly immortal lawyer Quayle and his deadly enforcer, good with a knife, ghastly Pallida Mors who smells of death and decay.

    The story picks up shortly after the previous novel last year’s “The Woman in the Woods”. Quayle believing he had got hold of the complete version of a book of unspeakable evil called ‘The Fractured Atlas’, which would alter the world itself (not in a good way). Its pages had been scattered to prevent it from doing irreparable harm to humanity, but now it appears Quayle is closing in on his objective to open up a channel to other worlds of fearsome creatures and other gods. Now, Parker, Louis and Angel are on his trail.

    “A Book of Bones”, being such a long book, has many new characters introduced. Among them are Sellars, the serial killer, in Northumberland, D.I Nicola Priestman and her team of detectives, including Beatles-loving Derek Hynes. Their exploits add elements of police procedural and thriller into the mix. Never fear, as its all good writing, I believe Mr. Connolly has stretched his muscles as he deftly fleshes out all their characteristics and motivations.

    The book got me through some personal hard times. I had to take frequent pauses, yet I found the book to be exciting, mesmerizing and it never lets me go. One word of caution however, this is not the best place to begin reading the series, which started twenty years ago with “Every Dead Thing”, and as the series progresses, the books get better and better.

    “A Book of Bones” is a more akin to a thriller and structurally very different from his previous novels which many consider ‘crime’ novels. In fact, within the novel, four short stories are cleverly embedded. These stories are described by Mr Connolly in an interview as “kind of short ghost stories”, although their importance to the novel and its plot is absolute.

    Also, perhaps of interest, to those who are interested in knowing more about ‘The Fractured Atlas’ they should seek out a copy of “Night Music – Nocturnes Volume Two” (Published October 15th 2015 by Hodder & Stoughton) wherein will be found a 150-page novella called “The Fractured Atlas –Five Fragments”. Read a wonderful review from GR reviewer Char of that particular book here:

    This giant 707 page hardcover book is the UK edition and the official publishing date is 18 Apr 2019.

    The book arrived with a book/tote bag displaying "Parker Private Investigations" and picturing an angel conquering a demon on one side and a human holding the skin sack of a vanquished opponent on the other. The bag is black print is white.

    The book is signed by John Connolly.

    Thank You to Brian and John.

  • Liz Barnsley

    A difficult book to review this, even if I hadn’t said pretty much every good word available in previous reviews of the series- because there is a kind of end game for a particular story arc here that I need to be careful not to spoil- whilst also getting across how utterly brilliant A Book Of Bones is. Because it is. Utterly brilliant.

    A warning though. If you are not up to date, or indeed have not even started the Parker series, this is definitely not an entry level story. There are various boo

    A difficult book to review this, even if I hadn’t said pretty much every good word available in previous reviews of the series- because there is a kind of end game for a particular story arc here that I need to be careful not to spoil- whilst also getting across how utterly brilliant A Book Of Bones is. Because it is. Utterly brilliant.

    A warning though. If you are not up to date, or indeed have not even started the Parker series, this is definitely not an entry level story. There are various books along the way that you could start or return to the journey with but A Book Of Bones is a culmination of sorts,as such the last few books are must reads.

    If you are prepared then BE prepared. This is an epic tale, dark, realistically creepy and all kinds of emotional. The authors talent for freaking you out and engaging you deep down in the depths of the mind is on full power here, before you know it you’ll be sucked back in to that honeycomb world we Connolly fans know so well yet don’t know at all – where the familiar is off kilter and you never know where you’ll end up.

    Fully committed within moments I read this fast, despite its tome like quality it felt like it went by in an instant.It threw me out the other side unrepentant in its addictive and traumatic quality and I loved every last moment. Even when I was tempted to hide in a cupboard.

    As ever beautifully written, intelligently plotted and wonderfully complex, our very anti heroes get better with age and a treat for us British fans finds them very close to home.

    Magnificent. That is all.

    Highly Recommended.

  • Jannelies

    I've been a fan of John Connolly for ages, and not only because of the Charlie Parker series. However, this series is addictive, and I, like many other fans, can hardly wait till the next one. And I always have to wait a bit longer because I don't buy hardcovers. So, when Hodder & Stoughton approved my request for a review copy on Netgalley, I was over the moon.

    And then I discovered that this story follows the one in The Woman in the Woods... My disappointment on missing out on that title d

    I've been a fan of John Connolly for ages, and not only because of the Charlie Parker series. However, this series is addictive, and I, like many other fans, can hardly wait till the next one. And I always have to wait a bit longer because I don't buy hardcovers. So, when Hodder & Stoughton approved my request for a review copy on Netgalley, I was over the moon.

    And then I discovered that this story follows the one in The Woman in the Woods... My disappointment on missing out on that title didn't last long, because, as the brilliant author he is, John Connolly gives the reader exactly the right amount of information to be able to enjoy A Book of Bones without having read The Woman in the Woods (by the way, I bought this one and will be reading it soon...).

    In A Book of Bones Parker, Angel and Louis travel around the world, because the Atlas they need to find and destroy was scattered over the globe in earlier times. From the US to the UK and even the Netherlands, they follow an intricate trail of otherworldly and not so otherworldly clues and events. They get help from various sources, although it is not always clear what that help is, and if it is freely given or with an ulterior motive.

    A Book of Bones is not an easy read. It is a fat volume with a lot of 'new' characters drawn into the story. You have to keep a sharp eye on what is happening when, and how all the different story lines come together. Sometimes it was not easy to remember where the story was going because of all the characters but eventually it all comes clear.

    Because of how the story evolves, there is a little less information about Parker himself, his daughters, and his friends Angel and Louis than I would have liked. The story was brilliant however, so I'm now looking forward to the next Charlie Parker novel.

  • The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).

    This review can be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek:

    There is something enchanting about A Book of Bones, it is dark, full of depth, at times downright creepy, totally gripping and ticks all of the boxes for a must-read.

    I was very late to the Charlie Parker series only starting with the previous book, The Women in the Woods but I immediately knew that it was a series that I had to continue with. A Book of Bones continues the story started in The Wom

    This review can be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek:

    There is something enchanting about A Book of Bones, it is dark, full of depth, at times downright creepy, totally gripping and ticks all of the boxes for a must-read.

    I was very late to the Charlie Parker series only starting with the previous book, The Women in the Woods but I immediately knew that it was a series that I had to continue with. A Book of Bones continues the story started in The Women in the Woods, the search for the book known as the Fractured Atlas. Likewise, the duo who are searching for the Atlas, the quietly sinister and shadowy English lawyer Quayle and his sidekick the palid-skinned and rancid smelling demon incarnate Pallida Mors also return.

    I would highly suggest picking up The Women in the Woods before reading A Book of Bones. Firstly, it is a tremendous book and secondly, it will give you additional background, some meat to the bones and that little bit of colour that just makes the picture more complete on the search for the Fractured Atlas and on Quayle and Mors. It is, perhaps, slightly hypocritical of me telling you to read the previous book when I, myself jumped head first into the series so late but A Book of Bones is, in essence, the culmination of, the sequel to The Women in the Woods and while Connolly does give you enough recap and backstory to read and thoroughly enjoy A Book of Bones on its own merits. For me, personally, I was glad that I had already read The Women in the Woods.

    A Book of Bones starts with the body of a woman being found in a junkyard in Arizona. Parker is called on by FBI agent Ross to help identify the remains of the woman. The junkyard owner has ties to Mexico and the investigation into the body takes Parker to the Mexican border in search of answers.

    Quayle and Mors are back in London and after many years their search for the Fractured Atlas is nearing its apex, its culmination, its zenith and the dread book will soon be complete. The Fractured Atlas is nearing completion, nearing being whole again and the search for the missing pages has left many dead bodies in its wake over many years. It is an otherworldly book of immense eldritch power, a book that radiates out darkness, a corruption that poisons, that taints those in its vicinity and those unlucky souls who come into contact with it. It is a book that corrupts the world, that tarnishes it, a book that will alter reality, bring about change, death, destruction and the end of our known world.

    In England, bodies of young women are being found on corrupted land, on land that once stood churches but not churches to the Christian god but another, older gods from before, gods to which the Familists prayed, worshipped and revered.

    The first body is found in Northumberland, Northumbria on the Hexamshire Moors and then more bodies, more sacrificial killings all bearing similar aspects are discovered at other locations and sites of religious significance throughout the UK, sites where the barriers between dimensions, between worlds are thinner, are weaker, old places and an old power that is waiting to be awoken. Buildings and the ground remember, memories are buried, in soil, in the dirt, in stone, in bricks, in the mortar, always there, waiting, lurking, lingering. History repeats itself, blood leaves a stain, an indelible mark that abides through time, that endures and that persists over centuries. A subsequent investigation is started by the English police into the killings.

    Parker has some loose ends to tie-up in the US and then he, along with Louis and Angel travel to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in search of information pertaining to the location of Quayle and Mors. Then, with the information that they manage to glean, they travel onto London, England. Parker goes on ahead to London, leaving the duo behind in Amsterdam to continue their own investigation before they rejoin him a few days later.

    Parker is full of a dogged determination, resilience and relentlessness in his pursuit of the duo, hunting Quayle and Mors across countries and continents. He is a fantastic resilient character, a character that is filled between the lines and a character that has had plenty of time to be developed by Connolly. He’s been through so much and yet he still keeps on going, damaged, scarred, weathered, tattered and torn. As are Angel and Louis, the duo of hitmen who are friends with Parker. who help him and who stand alongside him against the forces of darkness and encroaching evil. The trio are like brothers bonded not by blood but by the blood that they have shed and the experiences that they have shared. All three are ageing, father time is catching up with them all making them more vulnerable than they once were. Angel is still recovering from stomach cancer and Louis is still recovering from the wounds that he sustained in the climax to The Women in the Woods.

    In A Book of Bones, we get to see deep into Quayle’s past, deep into his story. Quayle is sinister in an understated way, there is a creepy factor to him and he is evil but it is Mors where the blackness is pitch and where even shadows are scared to dwell. There are inherent evilness and decay to Mors, a fetid and festering stink of corruption that emanates from her tainted soul, that radiates from off the pages.

    Connolly is the puppet master as he pulls the strings and leads his cast of characters on the macabre merry-go-round that is his masterfully crafted and totally absorbing opus A Book of Bones. At times, the supernatural is understated, at others, it is brought to the forefront of the story. Regardless, it always feels right, fits with the story that is being told and never seems out of place. It blends together with the natural, feels organic, two sides of a coin, different but together forming a whole.

    To go along with Parker, Louis, Angel, Quayle and Mors there is a vast cast of ensemble characters (Priestman, in charge of the English police force with Hynes, Gackowska and Uddin, Hood, a sheep farmer on the Moors, the killers, Bob Johnston, an American book dealer and The Backers make a fleeting appearance too, an immensely powerful group with endlessly deep pockets and vast amounts of money) featured in A Book of Bones and Connolly does a stellar job of bringing them all to life and giving them each their own distinctive voice and personality. Some only have minor roles, very minor whilst others are major players but all are given a degree of characterisation and all even if it is only in a small role have a part to play. In lesser hands, it could all get muddled, not with Connolly who has a deft hand and a way of keeping everything moving forward and very clear to the reader. Even with a lot going on and the various characters, Connolly is a proficient storyteller and it is never confusing.

    There is a wealth of detail on display in A Book of Bones, it is a tapestry, a mosaic, like the stained glass window adjourning the cover, everything has a place no matter how small, no matter if it seems disparate from the main story, everything has a place, added occasional history, historical events and accounts and stories told within the main story. It is all used to stitch the fabric of the overall story together.

    Connolly’s writing is very addictive, with a descriptive flair, little turns of phrase that are profound and meaningful and with the occasional inclusion of dark humour, especially with Parker, Angel and Louis, the comments, bite backs, witty retorts and snark that is shared between them. The characters from the English police force that appear in A Book of Bones also partake on the dark humour, banter and retorts too. Hynes, in particular, is very adept with his remarks and comes out with some great comments. The humour is a nice touch, a little bit of light in the darkness of the story.

    Connolly is able to evoke both a sense of atmosphere and a sense of place for the settings where the story takes place. He uses words that I haven’t come across before in his writing showing depth to his craft that bleeds over into his characters and his story too, there is a depth to every component that helps to form A Book of Bones and it is a truly remarkable book.

    The story has many twists and turns and goes down some dark and stormy roads, it is never overly visceral, leaning towards the more cerebral but there are some gruesome scenes depicted throughout. There is a darkness to the story, one that runs throughout the pages, an ominous feeling throughout, malevolent forces, harbingers, portents of things to come, forces beyond our comprehension, an evil lurking, sleeping, biding its time, voices whispering of what once was and of what will be again.

    It is a complex canvas and a clever story, a multi-layered story that meanders, that takes its time in getting to the ending, getting where it needs to and you enjoy every moment of it, savouring each new chapter, each of the characters, each location, each new development and all that comes with it. It is a story that builds, a story that can be traced back with the roots, the foundations laid well in the past both, in the actual story and in the series. I know, I know, as I have mentioned I have only read the previous book, The Women in the Woods but it is a gut feeling that I had whilst reading A Book of Bones that it is the book that the Charlie Parker series, itself has been building towards for a long time and honestly, it is a fitting finale to close of the tale of Quayle, Mors and the Fractured Atlas…but, you never know, the Fractured Atlas might reappear in the future (only Connolly knows) as books are funny things, strange by their nature and even when they are lost, they survive, their heart and the stories that they tell, that want to escape the pages live on.

    A Book of Bones has a rather middling pace to it, it is never overly slow nor is it a fast-paced read. It is a potent kind of pacing, a powerful type that keeps you rapt, that keeps you interested, that draws you in, that immerses you and that keeps your eyes glued to the pages as the rich story unfolds before you. Along with the short and snappy chapters that alternate between character, it is the type of pacing where it feels just right for the story being told, perfect.

    For large portions of the book Parker and by association Louis and Angel are absent and instead, the impetus is placed on the other characters and the developing story itself as the main driving force. Some might take umbrage at the lack of Parker in a Charlie Parker book, I didn’t. Due to this, A Book of Bones, can, at times feel like two books in one. One, the police investigation in the UK and two, Parker, Louis and Angel and their search for Quayle, Mors and the Fractured Atlas. The two stories, which do finally come together, gel well, compliment each other, feel symbiotic, coexist and serve to give the full picture.

    A Book of Bones is a book to be consumed, to lose yourself in, to immerse yourself with and a book that I could have read forever. There is something mesmerising about both the story and the way that Connolly writes and even at 700 pages, it wasn’t long enough for me, it was over far too soon and I wish that it hadn’t ended.

  • Lou

    Many people who read the first books in the Charlie Parker series wrongly assume that by the seventeenth instalment it would be seriously floundering and quickly running out of steam, but I feel strongly that it just keeps getting better and better. It's a difficult one to review without giving too much away, so I'm going to keep it short. This is an intense story in which violence, the supernatural and dangerous characters collide in spectacular fashion. There's never a dull moment with nonstop

    Many people who read the first books in the Charlie Parker series wrongly assume that by the seventeenth instalment it would be seriously floundering and quickly running out of steam, but I feel strongly that it just keeps getting better and better. It's a difficult one to review without giving too much away, so I'm going to keep it short. This is an intense story in which violence, the supernatural and dangerous characters collide in spectacular fashion. There's never a dull moment with nonstop action and plenty of surprises this tomb of a novel passed quickly, much too quickly. I just couldn't get enough.

    As A Book of Bones is the culmination of different plot strands from previous episodes it's pretty much essential to have read the preceding novels to get the gist of things. This is deliciously dark, depraved and intense and is certainly not for the faint of heart. Connolly masterfully crafts a world that is creepy, chilling and oppressive in its claustrophobic nature and there is plenty of unexpected emotion involved too. Exceptionally well written and perfectly paced this is a complex, multifaceted thriller which for crime aficionados is unmissable.

    Like a fine wine this series just keeps on getting better. I'm already pining for the next gripping instalment. Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC.

  • OutlawPoet

    So, if you’ve never read any Charlie Parker books, I suggest you do. They’re a wonderfully dark mix of crime and supernatural and you’ll likely finding yourself wanting to binge read the entire series.

    That being said, they also work wonderfully as standalones and Book of Bones is no exception.

    The read is epic. Within a few pages, I was completely lost in this very dark world. The plot is chilling and I found myself worrying for so many of our characters!

    Honestly, it was a perfect read for me. I

    So, if you’ve never read any Charlie Parker books, I suggest you do. They’re a wonderfully dark mix of crime and supernatural and you’ll likely finding yourself wanting to binge read the entire series.

    That being said, they also work wonderfully as standalones and Book of Bones is no exception.

    The read is epic. Within a few pages, I was completely lost in this very dark world. The plot is chilling and I found myself worrying for so many of our characters!

    Honestly, it was a perfect read for me. I was only sorry when it was over!

    *ARC Provided via Net Galley

  • Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an advance copy of A Book of Bones, the seventeenth novel to feature Maine PI Charlie Parker.

    Parker and his friends, Angel and Louis, are hunting the perpetrators of a series of murders across the United States and finally arrive in England where a series of grisly murders is perplexing the police in various counties.

    I thoroughly enjoyed A Book of Bones which is a long, detailed tale of violence and supernatural beings. I have not sp

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an advance copy of A Book of Bones, the seventeenth novel to feature Maine PI Charlie Parker.

    Parker and his friends, Angel and Louis, are hunting the perpetrators of a series of murders across the United States and finally arrive in England where a series of grisly murders is perplexing the police in various counties.

    I thoroughly enjoyed A Book of Bones which is a long, detailed tale of violence and supernatural beings. I have not spent time recently with the boys, not having read the previous four novels, so I’d forgotten how intense the read can be. I also think I’ve missed something, more detail and background than events, by not having read the previous novel, The Woman in the Woods, as this seems to be a sequel.

    This is a difficult novel to review without spoilers as it covers so much ground and is complex as a whole. It is not, however, difficult to follow once the reader becomes familiar with all the characters. It is told from multiple points of view, each with their own trajectory, mostly in the present with some delves into episodes in the past. These episodes have tangential links to the present and are told from the point of view of the character involved at the time. It is long, sprawling and extremely compulsive. I really enjoyed seeing all these plot lines develop and gradually come together. It is an absolute tour de force of planning as Mr Connolly gradually pulls all these disparate threads together.

    No Charlie Parker novel could ever be reviewed without discussion of the supernatural and it seems very prominent in this novel. It may be my faulty memory but I always thought, at least in the early novels, that there was room for rationalisation. Not here as this is out and out woo woo. I like rational, logical novels so this is rather outside my comfort zone but this is so entertaining and informative I just went with the flow. There is a wealth of detailed research in the novel about small corners of England which I found fascinating and a rich imagination in imbuing these corners with a supernatural meaning. It makes the novel very atmospheric with a sense of danger, menace and uncertainty.

    It is a more encompassing novel than the usual three go mad with guns. Parker, Angel and Louis are not as centre stage as I’m used to. Louis is injured, Angel is tired from chemotherapy and Parker seems content to take a more cerebral role working to bring the strands together rather than precipitating the action, until the denouement of course. I loved the police investigation scenes which has great characters, some fun lines and a great sense of purpose.

    A Book of Bones is a good read which I have no hesitation in recommending.

  • Brandon

    Following the events of the previous novel, The Woman in the Woods, Detective Charlie Parker alongside his friends Louis and Angel travel to Europe to track down a pair of killers and stop them before they can complete and use a book that could bring about the end of the world as we know it - The Fractured Atlas.

    A Book of Bones is meant to be the finale to an arc that began with the twelfth novel in the series, The Wolf in Winter.  In The Wolf in Winter, Parker comes into contact with The Famili

    Following the events of the previous novel, The Woman in the Woods, Detective Charlie Parker alongside his friends Louis and Angel travel to Europe to track down a pair of killers and stop them before they can complete and use a book that could bring about the end of the world as we know it - The Fractured Atlas.

    A Book of Bones is meant to be the finale to an arc that began with the twelfth novel in the series, The Wolf in Winter.  In The Wolf in Winter, Parker comes into contact with The Familiasts, a religious group that fled England centuries ago by traveling to America and founding Prosperous, a village in rural Maine.  In the four books that would follow, Parker would nearly lose his life in an attempt to bring down a vast network of those who seek to procure a book that could bring about hell on Earth.

    This book sees Parker and company travel the globe as they hunt Quayle and Mors, the aforementioned devious duo, that sees our protagonist hit Arizona, Texas, Amsterdam and England.  This is a pretty big change for the series which mostly kept our heroes inside the United States - most notably Maine.  In an interview to promote the book, Connolly said by placing the action in Europe, he was able to explore a much deeper and far richer history than he would be able to do in the US.

    Therefore, due to an emphasis placed on exploring religious folklore, A Book of Bones is one large book, coming in at a hefty 720 pages.  Not only are we following Parker, Louis and Angel, we periodically check in with a handful of English cops investigating the murder of a young woman linked to those looking to finally complete the Atlas as well as a couple of cold-hearted killers contracted by Quayle to leave bodies lying.  Connolly also takes ample time to explore Quayle’s very long and very detailed history throughout his century-long quest to get his hands on the completed Atlas.  So, as you can see, the plot is both intricate as well as sprawling in its nature.

    The consequence of presenting the story in this manner is that we spend a limited amount of time with Parker.  As much as I enjoyed the new characters introduced into the “Parker-verse”, I was craving more of Charlie’s brash behaviour and witty remarks.  That being said, Parker, Louis and Angel are beginning to show signs of age.  All three men have ventured into their fifties and having a difficult time with their evolving limitations.  While I’m not advocating that they all be shipped off to retirement homes - fifty isn’t exactly old (it's the new forty, right?) - but for those in their line of work, they’re certainly no spring chickens.  While Parker is just as determined and stubborn as ever, he has two decades of wear and tear that is finally beginning to catch up with him, same goes for Louis, who suffered significant damage in The Woman in the Woods that a younger version of himself would have never permitted.  As for Angel, he’s battling cancer, so he’s not exactly on the top of his game either.  It’s a stark reminder that Connolly made the decision to have them age in real-time.  Probably best to have them share some of the pages with others.

    Following the book’s conclusion, Connolly pens a brief afterword looking back at Every Dead Thing, the first novel in the Charlie Parker series.  I thought it was entertaining and enjoyed hearing a bit of the history surrounding his struggle to get the novel published as well as his writing process.

    A Book of Bones finishes up present-day Charlie Parker for now as we’ll see Connolly travel back to a period shortly after the first novel but prior to Dark Hollow (the second novel) for a new story next year.  Connolly said there will be no supernatural elements in this one, so I’m intrigued to see Parker go back to his roots.

    A strong entry into the Parker saga - now seventeen novels deep - A Book of Bones helps to further solidify Connolly as a writer at the top of his game producing one of the best long-running series around.

  • Emma

    Even though this offering is just as well written as the rest, atmospheric and macabre, the paucity of time spent with Parker et al means that it just doesn't hit the spot. They're still essential to the plot but are largely absent from it, giving the book the feel of one of those tv crossover episodes in which new detectives about to get their own series are given authority by their interaction with old favourites. Without the focus on the characters we know and love, most of the heart, humour,

    Even though this offering is just as well written as the rest, atmospheric and macabre, the paucity of time spent with Parker et al means that it just doesn't hit the spot. They're still essential to the plot but are largely absent from it, giving the book the feel of one of those tv crossover episodes in which new detectives about to get their own series are given authority by their interaction with old favourites. Without the focus on the characters we know and love, most of the heart, humour, and allure is lost. Connolly's preference for adding depth via short, sharp vignettes from all kinds of alternative POVs is exacerbated to a dull degree, lost to tangents and his own cleverness. It's all interesting enough, but it drags on.

    Anyone who has got this far will probably keep reading until the end of time, but its instalments like this that make me wonder whether the author really has that much more to say.

    ARC via Netgalley

  • The

    (No spoilers.)

    "Butter scraped over too much bread".

    That's the line that springs to mind when reading this, the latest Charlie Parker book. Having read all the other books in this series, I now feel that it has run its course; ran out of steam quite a while back actually, now that I reflect on it. What you've got here is a book 'going through the motions'. A series which rightly focused heavily on Charlie Parker (and his much loved friends) early on, now does little more than sprinkle their names

    (No spoilers.)

    "Butter scraped over too much bread".

    That's the line that springs to mind when reading this, the latest Charlie Parker book. Having read all the other books in this series, I now feel that it has run its course; ran out of steam quite a while back actually, now that I reflect on it. What you've got here is a book 'going through the motions'. A series which rightly focused heavily on Charlie Parker (and his much loved friends) early on, now does little more than sprinkle their names in at opportune times, to maintain appearances and earn the "Charlie Parker series" title on the cover. If you've ever read the Sean Dillon series by Jack Higgins, you'll know what I mean. Most of the chapters in this book are from the viewpoint of the villains, with quite a few chapters from the viewpoint of minor characters. These minor characters offer little or nothing in the way of overall plot, and instead seem to be there purely as filler. Take out these chapters and the book's tedious (very, very tedious) length could have been halved. The characters of Parker and friends occupy very little of the book; there were times I'd even forgotten they were in it at all, so mired was I in the irrelevant details of these other "bit" characters.

    Far too many, and no need at all for them.

    Another point that annoyed me was the overall sense of cruelty and depression in this book. None of the Parker books are light-hearted, they're not meant to be. I get that. It's undeniable however, that these books have become progressively more nasty and unsettling as they go on, and while I'm not averse to baddies being baddies, there's so much overkill when it comes to the nasty stuff that I found myself weary to the point of exhaustion by the time I was finished. If it added to the story in some way, or had a point to make, then perhaps it wouldn't have bugged me so much, but there's only so much cruelty and deaths-for-the-sake-of-deaths that you can take before getting pissed off. For example, and without spoilers, there are many characters in this book which take up a lot of their own chapters and end up getting the chop for no apparent reason other than they were rendered useless by the end stages of the book, and had to be dealt with. Why write wonderfully fleshed out characters only to bump them off? It's stupid and annoying, making the reader invest when they shouldn't have wasted their time. See? MORE filler. The hardcover version of this book is listed at 720 pages, and now you're beginning to see why.

    Moving on to plot.

    Most of the Parker books have a good plot, or so I used to think, but this one spent many hundreds of pages going absolutely nowhere. Showdowns that were long expected turned out to be disappointing and pretty irrelevant, and the incredulity caused by Parker & Co. just showing up in the right place at the right time, when they'd spent most of the book playing catch-up, just ruined my immersion further. It seems that in the last few books, Parker always manages to sail in and save the day, even though he's been behind the scenes for most of the plot, barely able to string the facts together. Perhaps I'm missing something, but the story in this book is so overly complicated that I pretty much coasted along through it all, hoping it would all make sense at the end. It really didn't anyway.

    Things have become so convoluted from the original stories that there's just no way to untangle the mess anymore, and I miss the "simplicity" of the earlier novels, which were much more character focused and less.... well, plot-in-a-blender.

    Summing up. What you're left with now is a series that reached in zenith years ago and is being dragged out and milked for all it's worth, again likening it to other similar series which should have been retired long ago. The sparkling characters are gone, replaced with robotic clones. The simple but gothically gripping plots are gone, replaced with confusing and overly complicated yarns that meander for miles and yet end up nowhere. Miles and miles of words polished over a long career of writing, yet contributing nothing of substance.

    It's a shame, a damn shame, but I'm now officially done with this series of books.

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