One of the best things about my old boss is that we appreciated the same kind of books. We both liked mysteries, and even more than that, we both liked mysteries with a bit of a twist. Cue John Connolly. My boss comes in one day and tells me about a new book his Dad had picked up. His Dad lives out on the Cape somewhere and loves to grab paperbacks from the dump. He would collect a few dozen, read them, and bring them back to the dump for the next person to enjoy. And if they’re really good books, he saves them for his kid when he comes to visit. (Being that the guy lives on the Cape, you already know that summertime is great for visits.) So my boss comes back from one of these trips and tells me about a new find. “Every Dead Thing” by John Connolly. So of course, seeing as how he’s had some great recommendations before, I pick it up at my local (literally across the street, that’s how local it is) used book shop and give it a go.
“Every Dead Thing” is the story of Charlie Parker, a former New York City police officer turned private detective dealing with the murder of his wife and daughter at the hands of a sadistic serial killer. Ok, so far it’s par for the course, right? It gets better though. He enlists the help of a semi-retired hitman named Louis (pronounced Lou-ee, sans the s) and his boyfriend, a semi-retired burglar named Angel. See how we’re embarking on new territory here? Charlie and his band of misfit toys work together (and sometimes apart) over the course of 11 books (with #12 set for release in October) on various cases that often turn personal for at least one of the three main guys. Oh, and there’s a paranormal twists in every book. A good vs. evil theme emerges though the lines are blurred and unsettled. And the good vs. evil is in the quite literal sense of angels and demons featuring prominently. The beauty of his writing is how he works God and the Devil into the story. While the theme is self-evident it occurs alongside the main story which is often gritty and film noir-esque.
As a bonus to the already interesting stories is the humor embedded in the relationship our 3 anti-heroes. Even in the most dire of circumstances, a quip from Angel breaks the tensions and reminds the reader that this isn’t just a book, its real life. For after so many journeys together, from Maine (a primary locale) to Louisiana, and South Carolina to Europe, one can’t help but feel enmeshed in the lives of these familiar friends.
John Connolly has branched out from the Charlie Parker series as his career has grown.
You can learn more about John Connolly at his website and follow him on twitter if you so desire.
Frightful reading, friends!