Emily Bestler Books/Atria, a division of Simon & Shuster, $26.00, 418 pages, ISBN 978-1-4767-0318-3
Can you believe it’s already October? Where did the summer go? Oh well, fall is here now, and that means Halloween . . . which is giving Christmas a run for its money in the popularity department. To commemorate the holiday, all our book reviews for the month will touch on the otherworldly, the supernatural, eerie, weird, creepy and dystopian. So turn on all the lights and lock the doors, grab your silver amulet and runesword, and power up the Barcalounger. We’re off to the nether-regions in search of action, adventure and the ghoulish way.
First up for our month-long macabre-fest is an Irish author who set the literary world ablaze a while back when he began his series of novels featuring a tough-guy private eye named Charlie Parker, in which he combined two separate genres and produced a wholly new one where the ordinary gets tangled up in the paranormal. See, Charlie fits into the traditional noirish gumshoe role—but, well, Charlie’s different. Real different. Although we’re never absolutely positive as readers, we’re pretty sure Charlie Parker is one of the fallen angels who were cast out of Heaven with Lucifer, who became the Devil, ruler of Hades. All the other fallen ones became demons, in league with the Devil. One of their number however, was lost in the flaming descent from Paradise and it has been the object of an ages-old search by both angels and demons. The missing one is hiding in a human body while trying to redeem itself on order to regain God’s good graces and be readmitted to Heaven. Charlie Parker.
The newest installment of the series The Wolf In Winter, by John Connolly is the thirteenth . . . hmmm, interesting . . . of his Charlie Parker novels which, like fine wine, only get better with age. In this installment, Charlie gives up his quest to find and kill the Collector—a self-appointed judge, executioner, and dispatcher of souls . . . ones he’s declared guilty of some grievous sin—when a homeless man reaches out for help finding his missing daughter. Her last known whereabouts; a small town located deep in the Maine wilderness. It’s name is Prosperous and, as the name implies, it’s doing well—and has always done well thankyouverymuch—in a state traditionally bedevilled by economic malaise. All of Parker’s efforts to locate the missing woman are met with stiff resistance from township officials, leaving the detective to conclude that they’re hiding something. Something sinister. It has to do with an ancient church, moved stone-by-stone from the north of England three-hundred years earlier and protected by generations of town residents, dedicated to preserving its secret. In Parker they sense a grave threat, while he will face in the townspeople, his most vicious opponents yet . . . and his life hangs in the balance. Charlie Parker is marked to die . . . so that the town may survive. It’s an edge of the seat thriller, possibly the best yet, from this acclaimed writer and international best-seller. It’s a wild wild ride you won’t soon forget. And hey! If you’re turned on by this character and genre, check out Connolly’s earlier work entitled The Black Angel, my personal favorite. It will leave you sweat-drenched, gasping for breath and howling for more. If you do—be sure to check out the ossuary at the church of Sedlec in the Czech Republic. It’s a life altering experience . . .