TITLE: Dark Hollow
AUTHOR: John Connolly
BLURB: A young woman, Rita Ferris, and her little son die at the hands of an unknown killer, and the past and present collide violently for Charlie Parker.
Still raw from the brutal slayings of his wife and daughter, and the events surrounding the hunt for their killer, the Traveling Man, Parker has retreated to the wintry Maine landscapes of his youth. But his return reawakens the ghosts of the past, forcing him to join the hunt for Billy Purdue, Rita’s ex-husband and the chief suspect in the slayings.
As the death toll mounts, it becomes clear that someone else is hunting for Billy Purdue, someone who seems to know Parker almost as well as he knows himself, and that the true answer to the puzzle lies thirty years in the past; in a tree with strange fruit; in the troubled history of Parker’s own grandfather; and in the violent origins of a mythical killer: the monster known only as Caleb Kyle.
The second in the Charlie Parker series is every bit as chilling and thrilling as the debut novel. Connolly, rather cheekily some might think, manages to move his hero to Maine and then turn the dial up on the supernatural elements of the tale. Cheeky because the master of horror, Stephen King, based his tales of the unexpected in Maine also. The risk paid off though and this novel holds its own in comparison to anything King has produced.
His sidekicks, Angel and Louis, the gay hitmen-with-a-heart, remain as menacing and likeable as any set of bad guys could possibly hope to be and frankly, these characters add an essential complimentary flavour to Parker’s increasingly dour persona. In fact, they’re so well drawn they are proving to be the perfect collective Watson to Parker’s modern day Holmes.
As good as it gets for this genre and a worthy successor to the Shamus Award-winning first instalment.