John Parker is a Graduate-qualified English/Spanish Teacher, owner and director of CHAT ENGLISH, an English Language Centre in Avilés on the north coast of Spain . A voracious reader, he has particularly loved horror fiction for many years.
The 11th Charlie Parker book finds us mainly in the New England woods. Here, a bag of money and a list discovered in the wreckage of a plane that has never been reported missing are going to cause a lot of problems to more than a few people, including Charlie. The money may end up being secondary but the list is wanted by numerous factions. And nothing will stop any of them getting hold of what they seek.
As always, Connolly builds up an intricate plot using characters both familiar and new. His prose is always informative, never boring. He pushes the plot along smoothly. So we are reacquainted with members of the Charlie Parker “family”, and not only Louis and Angel but also Tony and Paulie Fulci and Jackie Garner. Unfortunately for Charlie, we also witness the unwelcome return of The Collector and the terrifying character that is Brightwell (yes, really).
Connolly leads us through a series of events that are sometimes horrifying, sometimes amusing, sometimes intriguing but always mesmerising. As we reach the final chapters, a feeling of dread accompanies us. The woods are very much a part of the novel as they take on an ominous, important element; they are home to… who or what exactly? One of the book’s most hair-raising moments comes just before the end of the novel in a shockingly surprising twist. It is not what you would expect.
While it is possible to read this book as a stand-alone novel, it would really be better to read some of the older novels, particularly The Black Angel. I really think I would not have enjoyed this novel so much if I hadn’t done so. As for Mr Connolly, yes, he comes up trumps again but I feel he has to reveal far more about Charlie’s reason for being some time soon. Much as I love these books, I feel we are due more revelations about his existence. Fallen angel? Or just a man?
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