Charlie "Bird" Parker
Created by John Connolly
"I have learned to embrace the dead and they, in their turn, have found a way to reach out to me."
-- from The White Road
Guilt-ridden for drinking bourbon at a bar while his wife and young child were being murdered, CHARLIE "BIRD" PARKER (not to be confused with Connie Sheldon's detective of the same name) quits the New York police department, and promptly goes off the deep end.
Only to re-emerge months later, relatively clean and sober, but still a little too close to the edge for comfort, setting himself up as an unlicensed private eye. In Every Dead Thing (1999), his impressive, Shamus-winning debut, he's called into service by his former partner, who asks him -- as a favor -- to search for a missing person. But Charlie's investigation soon uncovers a possible link with the suspected killer of his family, a serial killer known as The Travelling Man, who may or may not have supernatural powers.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking.
But it's not what you think. There's more to these books than a little cookie cutter woo-woo. For Connolly, the "unknown" remains unknown, lending an air of menace and tension that's as unrelenting as it is unsettling. Connolly truly understands both horror and crime fiction, and his deft blend of the two makes for a powerful and heady brew, resulting in one of the most potent and emotionally wrenching P.I. series in recent memory. And his characterizations are so sharp they could draw blood.
Charlie's since appeared several times since, his cases sometimes walking an increasingly fine line between crime and horror fiction, as the line between this world and the next have become even more bluurred.
At first the question was: "Is Charlie slowly going off his rocker? Or do dead people really speak to him?" But as the series progressed, the question became, "Does it even matter, with writing as powerful and often chilling as this?"
But as the series has progressed and ventured futher and further into the wild and untamed darkness, it's become clear: 1) Yes, 2) Yes and 3) No.
Connolly's regular gig may have been a journalist for The Irish Times at one point but he gets the States -- particularly his beloved New England -- down pat here. More, please.
-- from The Wrath of Angels
-- Harriet Klausner
-- Kirkus Reviews on Every Dead Thing
No Charlie Parker, as far as I know, but plenty of things that go bump in the night.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. And special thanks to Suzanne Sinclair for pointing out the bloody obvious to me.
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