Broken, but undeterred, private detective Charlie Parker faces the darkest of dark forces in a case with its roots in the second world war, and a concentration camp unlike any other . . .
Recovering from a near-fatal shooting and tormented by memories of a world beyond this one, Parker has retreated to the small Maine town of Boreas to recover. There he befriends a widow named Ruth Winter and her young daughter, Amanda. But Ruth has her secrets. She is hiding from the past, and the forces that threaten her have their origins in the Second World War, in a town called Lubko and a concentration camp unlike any other. 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 are wrong. Parker is far from afraid, and far from alone.
For something is emerging from the shadows . . .
Charlie Parker is back for another adventure but this time things are very very different. As we’ve already seen (above), Charlie is recovering after being shot to pieces and to put it mildly, the private investigator is a little fragile. In A Song of Shadows it’s very much a case of two steps forward and one step back in his recovery. In a lot of pain and discomfort Charlie moves to the relative safety of small town Boreas to reenergise but as with all of John Connolly’s books, things don’t quite go to plan – fortunately for us!
When I read The Wolf in Winter last year I remember being blown away by Connolly’s overall characterisation but it was one character – a homeless man named Jude – that held me captive throughout, even though he was only in the book momentarily. If you haven’t read it then please do, hopefully you’ll take out of it as much as I did, it’s well worth a read.
This time around it wasn’t so much a character that held my attention but the poignant back story of the Holocaust, Nazi supremacy and concentration camps. Stirring stuff, the amount of research that must have gone into this book is mind-blowing, but one thing I can guarantee, it will make you think about the past.
I presented a radio documentary for the BBC in the second half of last year on the Holocaust and children affected by the depravity and interviewing survivors as I did, this book reopened many of those feelings and for me the book is quite an emotive read.
The first half of the book sets the scene with a terrific and free flowing narrative all the while laying a solid foundation for events covered in the second half of the book. There are numerous storylines floating around and it is a complex read, you certainly need your wits about you but one thing Connolly never fails to do is tie up all the loose ends and leave you wanting more when the final page has been read. He’s also quite adept at throwing in the odd red herring and surprise or two along the way.
One thing Connolly does well is balance the book with some well needed humour, Louis and Angel brought me to tears on many an occasion. I couldn’t help but smile each time they appeared and the partnership never fails to entertain and impress, they are without question a terrific duo.
So there we have it, yet another superb read from John Connolly. Haunting and emotive in parts yet humorous and thrilling in others. A well thought out storyline, Charlie Parker can do no wrong and neither it seems can his creator! Bravo!
- Hardcover:448 pages
- Publisher:Hodder & Stoughton (9 April 2015)