Title: A Song of Shadows by John Connolly (448 pp)
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton Atria/Emily Bestler (Sept 29,2015)
Genre: mystery, thriller, suspense, supernatural, Maine
Irish author John Connolly studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, and began working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper. He continues to interview authors, which are on his website, http://www.johnconnollybooks.com.
I will never forget reading the award winning (Shamus) first story, completely hooked by the first chapter. Every Dead Thing (1999), took five years to write. It introduced the anti-hero Charlie Parker, a former policeman hunting the killer of his wife and daughter. Dark Hollow (2000) The Killing Kind (2001) The White Road (2002) The Black Angel (2005). Charlie Parker has since appeared in five additional novels: The Unquiet, The Reapers (where he plays a secondary role to his associates, Louis and Angel), The Lovers, The Whisperers, and The Burning Soul, The Wrath of Angels (2013). A Song of Shadows is the 12th Parker novel.
Other works include: The Book of Lost Things, non-mystery novel, a stand-alone book – Bad Men (2004) and Nocturnes (many read of BBC Radio4), a collection of novellas and short stories Night Music, a second Nocturnes will be published this year. His YA books: The Gates (2009) launched the Samuel Johnson series, followed by Hell’s Bells (UK)/The Infernals (US 2011) The Creeps (2013). He is also the co-editor, with Declan Burke, of Books to Die For, an anthology of essays from the world’s top crime writers in response to the question, “Which book should all lovers of crime fiction read before they die?” This book won both the Agatha and the Anthony Awards for best nonfiction (2012/2013).
This is one of the most impressive crime series, meticulous researched. The writing is superb, every page lyrical and well crafted. The characters are richly detailed, personal and anticipated. I want their stories, their histories, their interactions. You cannot start with this book.
I read the British version seconds after overseas shipping arrived, exceedingly grateful a lovely friend knows my reading passion. I read the Netgalley e-version to savor the story again. I will perhaps never reread the previous novel (Wolf in Winter), having barely survived the first intense reading. The sequence of events is so much more poignant, traumatic, unexpected and unnerving when these books are read in order. I rejoice at this new installment as well as its future promise.
Charlie Parker is gradually recovering from the traumatic injuries sustained in his last case, but is now a man with a mission and a greater understanding of his role in the world. Parker investigates local murders that are connected to a WWII Nazi concentration camp in Lubko. Seven decades have passed but the crimes still haunt and tragically carry forward. I am delighted Louis and Angel still have his back. That his daughters are central to his being. That Parker exists in our world. Connolly is a highlight of my fictional year.
Connolly recommends Ross Macdonald, James Lee Burke and Ed McBain as inspirational.
Opening line: Winter dead, spring dying, and summer waiting in the wings.
One tall and black, the other shorter and whiter, although Soames thought he might have been Latino, or part Latino, or parts lots of things, most of them problematical. (Security consultants, Louis and Angel)
You drive like you got Miss Daisy in the back, said Angel, as they made stately progress west. ….the internal combustion engine is wasted on you.
They (the townspeople) became strangely protective of him…perhaps it was something to do with his past: he was a man who had lost a wife and child, and had suffered grievous injury just for doing his job which, as far as anyone could tell, largely involved putting his mark on the kind of men and women without whom the world was a much better place.
What man offers in heroism on the field of battle, woman equals with unending perseverance and sacrifice (quoting one of Hitler’s maxim)
…beyond (the reach of) any written law, any human justice. But that was not the only Justice.