Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Nobody Move, This Is A Review: The Unquiet by John Connolly

The Unquiet was my first foray into John Connolly territory, and while it might not be the ideal novel to get started on due to all the extant back history of PI Charlie Parker and his coterie of associates, the plunge was well worth the initial icy splash. With the deaths of his first wife and child haunting him, Parker is called to the Maine home of Rebecca Clay, whose father, Daniel Clay, a child psychiatrist who worked at a centre for abused children, vanished seven years earlier in the midst of a sexual abuse scandal. Several of his patients had, whether by coincidence or not, been victims of an organised child sex abuse ring whilst under his care. The lapse of time since Dr Clay’s disappearance, by suicide, murder or a voluntary change of identity, means that he’s been declared legally dead by his daughter, Rebecca, but she’s being harassed by Merrick the Revenger, a man fresh out of prison who insists that he has unfinished business with Clay and is convinced that Rebecca knows more about his whereabouts than she’d care to admit. Ghosts populate the novel at every turn, on both a literal and allegorical level – Parker’s personal ghosts dog him throughout the investigation; meanwhile, the shadows and wraiths of the case itself and of the society that Parker dissects - the ‘Hollow Men’, as well as the ‘Unquiet’ of the title – hum urgently through the narrative right to its chilling close. A delightfully unsettling read.– Claire Coughlan

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