Today I am reviewing A Song of Shadows by John Connolly. I was provided with a copy of the book in return for my honest review.
About the Book (from the publisher): Still recovering from his life-threatening wounds, private detective Charlie Parker investigates a case that has its origins in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War.
Parker has retreated to the small Maine town of Boreas to regain his strength. There he befriends a widow named Ruth Winter and her young daughter, Amanda. But Ruth has her secrets. Old atrocities are about to be unearthed, and old sinners will kill to hide their sins. Now Parker is about to risk his life to defend a woman he barely knows, one who fears him almost as much as she fears those who are coming for her.
His enemies believe him to be vulnerable. Fearful. Solitary.
But they’re wrong. Parker is far from afraid, and far from alone.
For something is emerging in the shadows…
My Review: How do I describe this series to those of you who have never read a Charlie Parker thriller? Somehow, Connolly manages to blend the detective story, the thriller, the mystery, with a hefty dose of the supernatural and it works. I’m not one who tends to read a lot of the supernatural genre, but I make an exception in this case. For it is precisely the way Connolly mixes these genres together in a supremely skillful manner that hooked me from the very beginning. See my review of The Wolf in Winter here.
Charlie Parker is a former policeman who is now a private detective. He has had more than his share of sorrow in his life, including the horrific murder of his first wife and young daughter. There is a basic decency, a deeply felt compassion to Charlie. And there is that about him that attracts those of another world; an evil world, a world halfway between this world and the next. He is fated to fight these forces while solving very real mysteries in this world. He has a heightened awareness of a world that is unseen.
In this novel, we are reminded of the horrific deeds, the wanton slaughter, the almost unbelievable cruelty perpetrated by Nazis during WWII. A body has been found floating in the ocean. The victim is a man whose family perished in one of the camps and who has been conducting an investigation into those who worked at the camp and might still be alive and living in the United States.
How this ties in with the widow, Ruth Winter, and her daughter, as well as the killing of a local family and two murders in Florida is the challenge facing Charlie Parker.
Connolly’s writing, which is often wry and humorous, as well as poetic, evokes a place where worlds intersect. Where there are unseen terrors, specters who appear and disappear, where there is true evil and where there is great humanity. We see terrible things happen. We also see good triumph, but not without wounds, both physical and psychic.
The supporting cast of characters returns in this book; Louis and Angel, Rabbi Epstein, the Fulcis, the Collector. I don’t want to describe them to you. You need to experience them yourselves, but trust me, they make this series rich and frightening and funny and complex.
I find it very difficult to take a break when I’m reading a John Connolly thriller. They are beautifully written, taking us on journey into good and evil, the supernatural, and giving us, in Charlie Parker, a true hero – flawed and complicated and good and powerful. You’ll not soon forget him.
About the author: I was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968, and have, at various points in my life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a ‘gofer’ at Harrod’s department store in London. I studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper, to which I continue to contribute, although not as often as I would like.
I am based in Dublin, but I divide my time between my native city and the United States, where each of my novels has been set.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Atria/Emily Bestler Books for an eGalley of this book.