A Time of Torment by John Connolly
If you like your crime fiction laced with complex characters, violence, dry humour and a generous helping of the supernatural then this is the series for you. The Time of Torment is the 14th book in the Charlie Parker series and Connolly appears to be going from strength to strength in his latest offering.
The biblical nature of Parker’s destiny, the archetypal fight of good against evil and the nature of his adversaries have an old testament feel, echoing back to ancient times which are evocatively recounted and very satisfying to read. That is not to say that his books are simplistic: one of the best things about Connolly is that he credits his readers with a modicum of intelligence, not dumbing down or over playing key aspects of the plot but allowing things to ferment and develop, with complex interconnecting threads playing out at the same time until the reader comes to an understanding of what Parker is currently up against. He has a rare economy with words, yet manages to pass so much information to the reader that I cannot, at this moment, recall another of his like.
The series revolves around the destiny of Charlie Parker, a private investigator whose wife and daughter were killed by the Travelling Man, which propels him to avenge their deaths and bring evil to account. In this, he is aided by Lois and Angel and occasionally by the Fulci brothers. To say more of these characters would detract from the pleasure of learning about them first hand.
In his latest book Jerome Burnel, a jeweler who carries thousands of dollars worth of diamonds sewn into his jacket lining, is the unwitting hero of a gas station robbery where he kills the thieves and in the process recovers an abducted girl in the getaway van. This act of bravery has dire consequences for Burnel who is soon disgraced and imprisoned and on his release he contacts Charlie Parker for help. The involvement of The Cut (a self contained, inbred criminal community) takes up most of the rest of the book . Its leader Oberon, has lost his heir and finds his authority challenged from within and the survival of The Cut threatened from outsiders, namely Parker and his associates. The result is a 500 page novel that is addictive, thrilling and all consuming.
If you are new to this genre, or wish to try the Charlie Parker series I would recommend starting from the beginning with “Every Dead Thing.”