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by John Connolly
Hodder and Stoughton, March 2002
408 pages
ISBN: 0340821183

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In his latest Charlie Parker novel, Connolly takes Parker to the Deep South. He is asked by an old friend to help investigate the murder of a young, rich white woman, by a poor black man. He claims they were lovers and that she was murdered by an unknown person. However, with the odds stacked against him, his chances do not look good. In the meantime, the bad guy from The Killing Kind, the Reverend Faulkner, is waiting in prison for his chance to get even with Parker. Can Parker survive this case?

This is the first time that Connolly has written a straight sequel to one of his novels, and it is not entirely clear if this sequel has worked, or if it would have been worth introducing someone else. The book does not depend entirely on the Reverend Faulkner, as there are other killers involved, but it seems that Connolly wanted to get some more mileage from this character, somewhat unnecessarily. It may well have been enough for Parker to be tormented by his dreams, as he was by his images of the Travelling Man.

We also get to see some more of Connolly's favourite creations, the killers Angel and Louis. They are just as interesting and humorous as ever, and their appearance is crucial to any Connolly novel. We are allowed to learn a lot more of their history, making them fuller characters. I feel that Connolly could easily write a novel starring just them, and this would work just as well as any Parker novel.

Connolly's usual woo-woo element plays a key role in this novel, but unlike in BAD MEN, it is not crucial to the denouement and the novel remains within the boundaries of credulity. Overall, the book did not feel as tight and sharp as the dark, bleak and fast THE KILLING KIND, but this still makes for an enjoyable, powerful read that serves to cement Connolly's reputation as one of the best thriller writers of today.

Reviewed by Luke Croll, December 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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