Customer Reviews: Dark Hollow: A Novel (Charlie Parker Book 2)
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on July 4, 2001
John Connolly's Dark Hollow is a prime example of bringing two genres together. The thriller and horror genres collide in the second installment of the cases taken on by Charlie "Bird" Parker and his backup Angel and Louis. This time around Parker agrees to help an old classmate Rita and her small son find her abusive ex hushand Billy Purdue. Billy is in over his head with some serious ****. Also thrown into the mix is a case Parker's grandfather could not close over thirty years ago. if you see Caleb Kyle you better run a mile! Something watching in the woods of Dark Hollow, stolen money, an old romance, a body count to numerous too mention, and enough scenes of out and out horror, make this my favorite book so far this year. Note: Read Every Dead Thing from John Connolly, the first Charlie Parker novel! I'm sure you can get it here at
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Connolly's books are a kind of hybrid: the mystery/horror novel. Every Dead Thing's hero, Charlie Parker, returns in Dark Hollow in pursuit once again of a singular force of death and destruction (with a few peripherhal malevalent forces to be dealt with, as well). Charlie "Bird" Parker, who has nothing whatever to do with his musician namesake, is the adult equivalent of the child in The Sixth Sense (he sees dead people.) It is to the author's credit that the reader is able to take this seriously, primarily because of the oddly lyrical descriptions of the horrors that face the hero at almost every turn. Connolly's continuing theme is of lives and loves lost to horrific violence, and in Dark Hollow he takes us on a wretchedly cold trip through the upper reaches of Maine, in pursuit of Caleb Kyle who may or may not be the mythical, local equivalent of the bogeyman.
With the help of his two wonderfully well-conceived sidekicks, Louis and Angel, Bird sets out to accomplish several tasks: to find the missing daughter of a former police officer friend, to locate the missing Billy Purdue (and the millions in payoff money he may have intercepted with the result that quite a number of villains are on his trail), and to find the killer of Billy's estranged wife and son. There are many killings, all linked in some way or another to Caleb Kyle.
This is compulsive reading, highly recommended for those not faint of heart.
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on December 9, 2002
When John Connolly wrote Every Dead Thing, he created a wild ride that was different from all the other suspense novels out there. I'm more than glad to say that his first novel wasn't a one-time hit. Because with Dark Hollow, Connolly raises the stakes even higher, brings even more suspense to the page and establishes himself as one of the strongest voice in modern suspense ficiton.
It's hard to be "Bird" Parker. First, nearly one year ago, he lost his wife and daughter to the sadistic Traveling Man. Now, after a move to Northern Maine, Parker finds himself thrown in the middle of yet another investigation, one that will leave a sky-high number of dead bodies and that will induce a lot of pain for all involved.
The case starts when a young woman and her infant child are murdered. The prime suspect is her ex-husband. But Parker thinks different. He knows that the mob is somehow invloved in this. And he can't understand how a sadistic killer called Caleb Kyle - one Bird's grandfather tried to catch five or six decades ago and who's name has now become a legend in Dark Hollow - fits into all of this. But it's only when the daughter of an old friend of Parker's disappears in the Maine countryside that Bird can start putting the pieces of the puzzle back together. Only, time is more than an issue and Parker has very little of it.
Connolly is a master at mending two/three storylines together into a coherent whole. What seems to be two separate cases in the beginning become entagled in surprising ways, and the outcome is never predictable. His characters never take the easy way out, nor are they blown out of proportion. Most of them are anti-heroes, people who fall into the role reluctantly, unwillingly. Parker's just a regular guy who keeps finding himself put in awkward situations.
Reading DArk Hollow is like being on a roller-coaster ride. Every time you think the suspense can't go any higher, every time you think the stakes can't possibly go higher, every time you think the suspense will finally let up, you're thrown in another loop. This book would make an amazing film!
And with this book, Connolly creates an amazing villain, one of mythical proportions. And the way all the different people involved in the story (the mob, cops, assassins) and the way Bird's personal life is portrayed on the page makes this book one of the best suspense novel I've read in a long time.
Simply put, Dark Hollow is a masterwork of suspense that you won't soon forget. One of the best novels of the year!
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on July 2, 2001
In John Connolly's newest novel, DARK HOLLOW, the character of Charlie "Bird" Parker returns to track down a serial killer that his grandfather once hunted. It began thirty-six years before when six women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two disappeared in northern Maine during the months from April to October. Charlie's grandfather, Bob Warren, helped in the search for the missing girls, but to no avail...that is until a stranger stepped into a bar one night and told him to look in the Sebec Lake area. Five of the women were found there, hanging naked from the same oak tree. The stranger's name was Caleb Kyle, and he was never seen again. Three decades later, Charlie Parker is asked by Rita Ferris to help collect some back child support from her ex-husband, Billy Purdue. A few days later, Rita and her infant son are found brutally murdered, and the police think that Billy did it. It sounds like an open-and-shut case. The only problem is that Billy has taken off, and it seems like everybody in New England is after him. The local and state police want him for murder. Tony Celli, a member of the Boston mob, thinks that he stole two million dollars from him and will do whatever it takes to get the money back. Next in line are two very evil, cold-blooded assassins who want to get their hands on the missing money so that they can retire in style. Last, but not least, is Charlie Parker. Charlie thinks that Billy is innocent. In fact, his gut instinct tells him that Caleb Kyle is behind the deaths of Rita and her child, not to mention the many killings that will soon follow. The real questions are what is the connection between Caleb Kyle and Billy Purdue, and why has Caleb Kyle started killing once again? Charlie will eventually find himself up against the most vicious murderers he has ever encountered, and Death will be around the corner, waiting for him to make a mistake. Even with the help of his friends, Louis and Angel, he may not survive the cost required to find the answers to his questions and to finally finish what his late grandfather wanted to do-kill Caleb Kyle! In DARK HOLLOW, Mr. Connolly has written a truly magnificent follow-up to his first novel, EVERY DEAD THING. It's been almost a year since "The Traveling Man" murdered Charlie's wife and daughter. The emotional pain and guilt are still there for Charlie (not to mention the fact that he's able to see the dead and hear their cries for retribution), but now he has a new purpose in life. His one desire is to fight for those who are unable to do it for themselves; and, thereby, to make amends for the death of his family and for the violence he has inadvertently brought to those closest to him. Charlie understands that there can be no salvation for him, but possibly...just possibly he might be able to bring about reparation by helping the weak and innocent and killing those who would prey on them. Charlie "Bird" Parker is a richly drawn character that boldly comes to life and quickly draws the reader into his world of sorrow and revenge. No super hero, he gets beat up and tortured and barely survives as he bull-headedly plows ahead for the truth. The truth, however, isn't always what we think it will be, and it always has a price. The characters of Louis and Angel are just as strong. Though criminals in their own right, they also have a moral code of honor and are more than willing to put their lives on the line to help Charlie because they know he's doing the right thing. Like the author, Thomas Harris, Mr. Connolly also knows how to create killers who reek of pure evil and can cause goose bumps to rise on the arms of the reader. Most people would not survive a chance encounter with someone like Caleb Kyle, or the assassin known as Stritch. These characters are the personification of evil and match Charlie's goodness deed for deed. DARK HOLLOW is a powerful, multi-layered novel that will literally chill you to the bone. That it works successfully on a number of different levels is a credit to Mr. Connolly's talent as a writer. He's able to juggle several plot lines without slowing down the pace of the novel and then have them converge into a suspenseful, electrifying ending that leaves the reader wishing that the next "Charlie Parker" novel was already out. John Connolly is a new voice on the horizon and he definitely deserves to be heard. If you haven't read either of his two books, buy them now and then, like me, you'll eagerly be awaiting for the third book in the trilogy to come out.
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on February 15, 2012
I have begun working though the entire backlist of John Connolly. I read book 11 of the series and absolutely loved it. Book one was a rambling mess that really should have been two books at a minimum. Here with book two Connolly has narrowed down his plot to tell one story instead of many, but it really is a little too wandering to get there. Essentially this book could have used a lot more tightening to tell the story in much less time.

So it is great strides over book one, but nowhere near the quality of book eleven. That is good though because I am getting a lot of back-story of the characters I was missing before. Plus I love the built in guarantee that each book I read is just going to be better than the last one. Jon Connolly is a writer who has mastered his craft through hard work. Work that we get to enjoy.

So read this book to understand the characters and stick with the writer knowing your reward is coming.

Thanks T Steven for this review
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on March 19, 2004
With this, the second novel in the Charlie Parker series, Connolly comes fully loaded, and he lets the reader have it with both barrels. He says he rewrites his books about forty or fifty times, and the effort shows, as he writes with a precision that gives the scenes cinematic clarity. Parker, a PI who has visions of the dead, must hunt down a man who has stolen a small fortune from a minor mob figure, setting off a chain of events that lead to violent encounters between various mob hitmen, freelance assassins, and an almost mythical serial killer that leaves piles of bodies like multi-car smash-ups at a foggy urban intersection with a broken traffic light. There is hardly a false note in the whole book; most crime writers-- hell, most horror writers-- can only dream of writing stuff this dark and disturbing. In lesser hands, some of Parker's philosophical ruminations would surely win some kind of Bulwer-Lytton award ("It was a dark and stormy night . . ."), but here they give added depth to the pervading sense of evil and chaos. Believe it or not, his third book, THE KILLING KIND, is even more dark and evil, and makes Thomas Harris look like Dr. Seuss. He's already made the short list of my favorite crime writers.
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on September 22, 2001
In his second outing John Connolly has shown that he has what it takes. Parker returns and this time we find ourselves in a mystery in Maine. We find out more of Charlie "Bird" Parker's past, and get a deeper look into his head. And as if Parker isn't enough reason to read it, Angel and Louis are back as well. ( I would love to see a book with them in the lead!)
Connolly's books are dark, and have a bit of supernatural feel to them, but they are engrossing, well written and well researched.
Turn on the lights, and be ready to stay up all night!
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on April 20, 2016
John Connolly is another author that I just discovered and love his Charlie Parker series. They are unlike anything I have ever read. Charlie has a couple 'friends' that are quite original as characters - Angel and Louis. What I like most about this series is the undercurrent of spirituality and the paranormal. I am now reading the Black Angel and the first couple of pages made me want to weep. Connolly has such an empathic tone. I now plan to download the whole series. They are quite amazing. The author is also a good writer.

The other thing that is interesting, Charlie Parker is seemingly a regular guy - not a superhero and no magic tricks up his sleeve - he has to get out of situations on his own or through his friends and fate.
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on January 28, 2004
Dark Hollow is the second book in a series of detective novels following a particularly interesting character, Charlie "Bird" Parker. Parker's an ex-cop whose wife and daughter were horribly killed. He left the department as a result, and after flirting with alcoholism gave up the bottle. In the aftermath of that, he became a private detective, and these first two books describe what came of that, so far.
In this particular story, Parker has moved to his ancestral Maine to live, trying to get away from the city. He's asked by a friend to find her ex-husband, and see if he will cough up some child support, but the money that the ex gives Parker turns out to be connected to a bizarre three-way shootout on a nearby beach that happened a few days before. Someone wound up with two million dollars that the mob thinks is theirs, and they're not going to stop looking for it. Meanwhile, the ex-wife and her toddler son are killed in a bizarre fashion, a pair of crazed hit men show up bent on some strange sort of revenge against Parker, and in the background somewhere there's a ghost from the past, a killer half-spoken of, half unseen for more than thirty years. Add to this mix Parker's two friends, ex-burglar Angel and his gay lover semi-retired hitman Louis, and an old girlfriend of Bird's, and that's just the beginning of the book.
Connolly apparently has this as a pattern or style now. These books have murky, dark plots, laden with atmosphere. I think he could make Hawaii look dark and forbidding if he wrote something set there. There's connections to crimes past, interesting characters intermingled in a bewilderingly complex plot, snappy dialog, and a body count that makes the Battle of Stalingrad look like a tea party. I enjoy this sort of thing, and enjoyed this book a great deal. Be warned though: enter at your own risk.
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on April 12, 2003
I found myself wondering if I truly wanted to read DARK HOLLOW, the second book by John Connolly featuring Charlie "bird" Parker. After all, how could he possibly write another book as well-crafted and entertaining as EVERY DEAD THING. I thought that maybe I was only going to be disappointed by a "not-so-great follow-up novel". Boy am I glad I was wrong! With DARK HOLLOW, Connoly is once again able to present his nightmare world of flawed heroes, lost souls, and killers reaching mythical status. Parker, still haunted by visions of his wife and child along with a host of other lost souls seeking a reckoning, tries to piece his life back together having barely survived, both physically and mentally, his battle with the Traveling Man, only to be swept into yet another dark maze of madness and murder. This time, the killer is a locally fabled "bogeyman" monster that goes by the name Caleb Kyle. Once again, his faithful sidekicks Angel and Louis are by his side. Mobsters also join in on the fun, as well as a pair of sadistic killers-for-hire, all of whom are hunting a treasure of money. Now that's one heck of a side-plot! As with the first book, the writing is crisp and poignant,at times humorous, and always poetic. The action is fast and plentiful, and the body count again reaches the stratosphere. And if that wasn't enough, Connolly also found time to elaborate more on the nature of Angel and Louis' relationship and loyalty to Parker. Nice touch. But what I found most refreshing about this installment was the sense of peace given to Parker at the end of the novel. After having experienced the guilt and pain of continually being tormented by memories of his lost family in both the first book and this novel, it was touching to finally have Parker possibly at peace with his past. Once again, this book left me truly satiated and very much exhausted, but I can't wait to hear again from this wonderful writer. If nothing at all, DARK HOLLOW has proven that irishman John Connolly is a genuine talent and a pleasure to read. SUPERB!!! CRIME NOVELS DON'T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS !!!
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