PROLOGUEFor the rest, clickety-click here …
I tell myself that this is not an investigation. It is for others to be investigated, but not for my family, and not for me. I will delve into the lives of others, and I will expose their secrets and their lies, sometimes for money, and sometimes because that is the only way to lay old ghosts to rest, but I will not begin to pick and scratch at what I have believed of my mother. They are gone. Let them sleep.
But there are too many questions left unanswered, too many inconsistencies in the narrative constructed of their lives, a tale told by them and continued by others. I can no longer allow them to remain unexamined.* * *My father, William Parker, known to his friends as Will, died when I was sixteen years old. He was a cop in the Nine, on the Lower East Side of New York, loved by his wife, and faithful to her, with a son whom he loved and by whom he was loved in return. He chose to remain in uniform, and not to seek promotion, because he was content to serve on the streets as an ordinary patrolman. He had no secrets, or none so terrible that he, or those close to him, might have been damaged beyond repair had they been revealed. He lived an ordinary, small-town existence, or as ordinary an existence as he could lead when the cycles of his existence were determined by duty rosters, by killings, by theft and drug abuse and by the predations of the strong and ruthless upon the weak and defenseless. His flaws were minor, his sins venial.
Every one of these statements is a lie, except that he loved his son, although his son sometimes forgot to love him back. After all, I was a teenager when he died, and what boy, at that age, is not already knocking heads with his father, attempting to establish his primacy over the old man in the house who no longer understands the nature of the ever-changing world around him? So, did I love him? Of course, but by the end I was refusing to admit it to him, or to myself.
Here, then, is the truth.
My father did not die: he took his own life.
His lack of advancement was not a matter of choice, but of punishment.
His wife did not love him or, if she did, she did not love him as she once had, for he had betrayed her and she could not bring herself to forgive that betrayal.
He did not lead an ordinary existence, and people died to keep his secrets.
He had grave weaknesses, and his sins were mortal.
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The Summer of LOVERS
John Connolly’s latest, THE LOVERS, doesn’t officially arrive until June, but – generous soul that he is – the man has already uploaded the Prologue and Chapter One to his interweb thingagummy. Nice cover, no? Anyhoo, the Prologue goes a lot like this: