In the depths of the Maine woods, the wreckage of an aeroplane is discovered. There are no bodies, and no such plane has ever been reported missing, but men both good and evil have been seeking it for a long, long time. What the wreckage conceals is more important than money: it is power. Hidden in the plane is a list of names, a record of those who have struck a deal with the Devil. Now a battle is about to commence between those who want the list to remain secret and those who believe that it represents a crucial weapon in the struggle against the forces of darkness.So there you have it, and there really isn’t much point in me saying much more. I’m ridiculously comprised in relation to John Connolly’s work, partly because I’ve been a fan for years, but mainly because (a) he launched my own tome last year and (b) he and I have co-edited a title, BOOKS TO DIE FOR, which will appear in August. All of which means that anything positive and/or complimentary I say here about John Connolly can be considered deeply suspect, and perhaps rightly so.
The race to secure the prize draws in private detective Charlie Parker, a man who knows more than most about the nature of the terrible evil that seeks to impose itself on the world, and who fears that his own name may be on the list. It lures others too: a beautiful, scarred woman with a taste for killing; a silent child who remembers his own death; and the serial killer known as the Collector, who sees in the list new lambs for his slaughter.
But as the rival forces descend upon this northern state, the woods prepare to meet them, for the forest depths hide other secrets.
Someone has survived the crash.
SOMETHING has survived the crash.
And it is waiting . . .
Happily, John Connolly needs no such big-ups from yours truly, and would continue to sell books by the freighter-load were this blog to burn down, fall over and sink into a swamp.
What I can say without fear of contradiction is that John Connolly’s Charlie Parker stories combine all the essential elements of a great novel - character, story, style and theme - and deliver them in a unique blend. I won’t be shocked if he doesn’t win the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, because there’s a very strong field on the longlist this year; by the same token, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if he did win, on the basis that he’s as fine a crime novelist as has emerged from these islands in the last two decades.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is yours truly’s two cents.