Every Dead Thing by John Connolly
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I picked this up because the later Charlie Parker books caught my eye, and I like to start from the beginning. If this is any indication of what I'll find in the later books, though, no, thank you. For a thriller, this was awfully tedious.
Charlie "Bird" Parker is a former NYPD cop who lost his wife and daughter to a brutal serial killer. Some months later, he's a private investigator hunting down Catherine Demeter, but still driven to find his wife's killer, who a psychic informed him is called "The Travelin' Man." His search takes him to the dying town of Haven, VA, which is only tangentially related to his personal search. Then it's back to NYC, and down to New Orleans to take in some culture, break up a gang war by slaughtering one of the leaders, and to discover a lot of gruesomely murdered bodies.
Along the way, we meet dozens of people, about half of whom die. By the second half of the book, I'd given up on keeping track of anyone, certain most of them would be dead before the book ended. I wasn't wrong. Charlie, himself, kills almost as many people as the serial killer. The biggest difference is that Charlie doesn't have a grandiose reason for doing so. He pulls a thin veneer of self-defense over it, and that's good enough for the local police.
Despite the needless complexity, I still figured out the killer long before the ending. I never figure out the killer. I couldn't remember the killer's name, granted, but I knew who it was. But then, I don't think Connolly could've made names harder to keep track of if he tried. There were far too many names that sounded similar.
If you're considering reading this book, be warned that it contains some rather graphic descriptions of mutilation, during which most of the victims are still alive. It's not something that normally bothers me, but I'm sure I was scrunching up my face while I read.
I realize this is a debut novel, and that writers often improve as they go. I enjoyed The Book of Lost Things greatly, and I'm going to give his Samuel Johnson books a chance. But I really had to drag myself through this book, and kept going days at a time without opening it.
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