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by John Connolly
Hodder & Stoughton, June 2003
416 pages
14.99 GBP
ISBN: 0340826177

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In this novel, John Connolly has taken a break from his Charlie Parker series and written a standalone novel, which takes place on the island of Sanctuary, off the coast of Maine. Sanctuary is policed by Joe Dupree, a literal giant, who has had the tales of the island handed down through his family. There is something bad brewing on Sanctuary and Joe knows it. However, can he save the inhabitants from the evil that is coming?

Connolly has always written excellent thrillers and it would make me very happy to be able to say the same thing about BAD MEN,, but unfortunately, the novel is somewhat of a disappointment. Connolly has always used the supernatural as a factor in his books, but here, it controls the story from beginning to end. If you do not mind the supernatural, then it will not be a problem, but I feel it would have worked better as a straight crime novel.

The novel's conclusion comes in a breathless chase across the now-snowbound island, with the supernatural forces in full swing. This is reminiscent of a scene from a Stephen King novel and not something that Connolly would produce. It seems that he has tried too hard to put a new spin on his work.

His characters are interesting, such as the criminal mastermind, Moloch. He is shown as ruthless and is clearly deeper than an average criminal is. The hero of the story, Sanctuary's police officer, Joe Dupree, is also full of potential, but Connolly does not seem to develop him enough.

Overall, BAD MEN, is a fast and exciting novel, yet for me, it is not at the same quality novel as that of his Charlie Parker novels. Increasing numbers of authors are resting their series and writing standalone novels, such as Dennis Lehane, but in this case, Connolly has not altogether succeeded.

Reviewed by Luke Croll, October 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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