Tormented and racked with guilt over the brutal slaying of his wife and daughter, Charlie Parker, ex-cop with the NYPD, agrees to track down a missing girl. It is a search that will lead him into an abyss of evil.
At the same time, he is warned by an old black woman in Louisiana that "The Travelling Man" is about to strike again. Multiple strands converge with a horrific confrontation in which hunter and hunted are intimately connected by guilt.
©1999 John Connolly (P)2003 ISIS Publishing Ltd
This is the first in the Charlie Parker series and I'd listen to this before listening to any of the others as it's story is often referred to in the other books. The story is very much in the style of the Phillip Marlow books; lots of hard boiled patter and tough guy philosophising. This gives it an old fashioned feel so it just depends on whether you like your detectives macho and just a tiny bit cheesy; I do and so loved this book. It's also worth noting that the murders are truly gruesome so if you've got a weak stomach I'd avoid this title. Turns out I'd read this title years ago and remembered who the murderer was half way through listening but this didn't lessen my enjoyment. It does on the other hand make it difficult to assess the effectiveness of the red herrings and eventual twist but as I said before even knowing who did it didn’t spoil my enjoyment. The narration really fits the story; an inspired choice of reader
John Connolly writes as though he knows his characters and has seen what they see, and felt what they feel. He has an insight that makes me wonder how much of what he writes comes from personal experience, being able as he is to set the scene in minute detail, enabling us to really see, hear and smell what we need to in order to live the words he writes.
The story of a man struggling with his addiction to alcohol when his wife and little daughter are taken from him is laid bare for us as if written through he grieving. Then Parker makes it his mission to bring to his form of justice the killers on his way to finding the root of this nightmare.
The narrator, Jeff Harding, is an absolute talent and was perfect for this read.
I am only glad John has written so many books in this series!
I stumbled onto this after wanting to read 'The Wrath of Angels' but felt I should do the groundwork and start Charlie Parker's story from the beginning. I'm glad I did, this is a great book and the narration by Jeff Harding is spot on. As other reviwers have mentioned the level of detail covering the Travelling Man killings is prety horrific but helps to set up Charlie Parker's character and motivations in later books. The hardboiled gumshoe thing is heavier in this book than later ones but suits the overall tone. Listen to this and then listen to all the other books in order. I did, and can thoroughly recommend all of them.
Where do you start with this one? Jeff Harding's reading is clearly the best feature of this audiobook: his gravelly voice lends some credence even to the most hackneyed prose and he is surprisingly good at female characters (also in Lee Child adaptations and Carl Hiaasen books). But even he cannot rescue this.
The book is far too long and rolls two barely connected stories into one. Or rather, you get one story about gruesome child killing and torture at the end of which everyone is left dead and then another one starts that involves live flaying and arranging of corpses into positions depicted in obscure Renaissance studies of anatomy. Their only connection is an improbable link between two different sets of perpetrator. Both are equally risible stories that might have had a semblance of originality before Patricia Cornwell and Thomas Harris wrote their books. And I do resent that nothing in the short plot synopsis on audible prepares you for the sheer salaciousness of the violence.
Do listen to this if you have low expectations of prose; if you fancy endless descriptions of guns and gun battles; if you don't mind spotting the killer three hours before the ploddy reveal; if your murders must be serial, horrific, involve children and women, torture and gratuitous detail; if you haven't yet had your fill of cliches in terms of melancholic, haunted ex-cops, pathology lab-speak, outlandish violence, cardboard serial killers with zero psychology and metaphysical twaddle about the nature of evil.
If I hadn't been on the longest motorway journey ever with the only alternative being a series of uninspiring radio programmes, I would have stopped. On reflection, Gardener's Question Time on a loop would have been less torturous than this. Awful.
Two separate stories barely connected. Must be first of a series as sets scene and characters. Does not spoon feed and once or twice needed to rewind and listen a bit harder.
Nothing new or different to other books in this genre, but if that's what you like, it's one for you. I'll definitely be getting others by this author.
I downloaded Every Dead Thing after a friend gave me the full collection of The Charlie Parker novels. Being unable to stay awake when reading anymore, I decided to listen instead.
I'll put no spoilers or synopsis and just say how I found the production and story. If I have any criticisms they are more to do with my tastes in stories than any problems with the book itself.
I don't read crime fiction very often so gave this a go on the recommendation of a friend who told me that it wouldn't be what I thought. Once engaged in the story I found that to be true with some, what I hope to be foreshadowing, of the tone of the stories to come.
The story is good, with some interesting twists and turns and the reveal at the end is well handled. It's tone, I felt, was very 'Film Noir', but that might have been coloured by the style of narration. It really put me in mind of a Spillane-esque PI and his shady associates.
It seemed quite cliched in characterisation at times. Although a small gripe, I actually enjoy that style, I'm just not sure that's what the author was going for.
There are a lot of characters and some location hopping which had me re-listening to some parts so that I remembered who was being referred to.
The narrator reads it well though his style, as I've mentioned, makes it sound like a Phillip Marlowe story at times.
All in all a good story that held my attention until the end, which doesn't happen much these days. I've downloaded the next in the set to see if the stories head in the direction I hope...
This remains one of my favorite books. The story lines, there is more than one, the characters, the language and the depth detail make this book a compelling listen. I was a little dubious about the lack of originality with the alcoholic private eye but such a description would not do Charlie justice. The humor in some of the foul language and occasional crudities contrast nicely with the viscera on show.
This isn't a very good first book, this is simply a very good book first or otherwise.
As with all the Parker books the listening is much augmented by the narration of Jeff Harding. Thanks Jeff..
5 stars, easy.
I really wanted to like this as the crits have been so good. But.... the author can't seem to control his need to describe every person crossing the path of the protagonist - in detail. I completely lost the plot on all the sub-characters and what part they played. I know he also probably wanted to set up Bird's character in this first novel of the series - but we got WAY too much back-story. Also - the two threads of the story really didn't connect for me at all. Very frustrating, as the primary story itself, when he forgot to get sidetracked by all his sub-plots/characters, was quite good. I had guessed who the baddie was by about half/two-thirds through the story which gave an element of 'just get on with it' as the marathon progressed towards an eventual conclusion.
I love Jeff Harding's narration - he could read the phone book and I'd listen! However, I couldn't decide if Bird's character was a little reminiscent of Reacher's (Lee Child), or if it was just that I now associate Reacher with Harding's voice - it was a little distracting at times.
Normally if I'm not sure about a series, I'll try a 2nd one to check. This time - nah, not sure I will.
Being half the length
I wish the review by "Petra" had been available before I purchased this book. I agree with every word.
A story addicted curmudgeon swimming in a sea of wonderfully crafted words.
labyrinthine, baffling , compelling.
The workings of the characters minds
Jeff Harding makes the work live...without his masterful characterisation of the characters voices it could collapse into tedium. You need a voice to carry the plot along and that's Mr Harding's talent.
Triumph emerging from the depths of a resident evil.
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