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Nocturnes Paperback – October 10, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Nocturnes Series

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Editorial Reviews


"In the crowded killing fields of crime fiction John Connolly has quickly and decisively established himself as a unique voice."
-- Michael Connelly, New York Times bestselling author of The Narrows

About the Author

John Connolly is the author of the Charlie Parker series of mystery novels, the supernatural collection Nocturnes, and (with Jennifer Ridyard) the Samuel Johnson and Chronicles of the Invaders series for younger readers. He lives in Dublin, Ireland. For more information, see his website at JohnConnollyBooks.com, or follow him on Twitter @JConnollyBooks

Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Reissue edition (October 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416534601
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416534600
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968 and have, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a "gofer" at Harrods department store in London. I studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper, to which I continue to contribute, although not as often as I would like. I still try to interview a few authors every year, mainly writers whose work I like, although I've occasionally interviewed people for the paper simply because I thought they might be quirky or interesting. All of those interviews have been posted to my website, http://www.johnconnollybooks.com.

I was working as a journalist when I began work on my first novel. Like a lot of journalists, I think I entered the trade because I loved to write, and it was one of the few ways I thought I could be paid to do what I loved. But there is a difference between being a writer and a journalist, and I was certainly a poorer journalist than I am a writer (and I make no great claims for myself in either field.) I got quite frustrated with journalism, which probably gave me the impetus to start work on the novel. That book, Every Dead Thing, took about five years to write and was eventually published in 1999. It introduced the character of Charlie Parker, a former policeman hunting the killer of his wife and daughter. Dark Hollow, the second Parker novel, followed in 2000. The third Parker novel, The Killing Kind, was published in 2001, with The White Road following in 2002. In 2003, I published my fifth novel - and first stand-alone book - Bad Men. In 2004, Nocturnes, a collection of novellas and short stories, was added to the list, and 2005 marked the publication of the fifth Charlie Parker novel, The Black Angel. In 2006, The Book of Lost Things, my first non-mystery novel, was published.

Charlie Parker has since appeared in five additional novels: The Unquiet, The Reapers (where he plays a secondary role to his associates, Louis and Angel), The Lovers, The Whisperers, and The Burning Soul. The eleventh Charlie Parker novel, The Wrath of Angels, will be available in the UK in August 2012 and in the US in January 2013.

The Gates launched the Samuel Johnson series for younger readers in 2009, followed by Hell's Bells (UK)/The Infernals (US) in 2011. A third Samuel Johnson novel should be finished in 2013.

I am also the co-editor, with fellow author Declan Burke, of Books to Die For, an anthology of essays from the world's top crime writers in response to the question, "Which book should all lovers of crime fiction read before they die?" Books to Die For is available in the UK as of August 2012, and will be available in the US in October 2012.

I am based in Dublin but divide my time between my native city and the United States, where each of my novels has been set.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
NOCTURNES by John Connolly is a collection of short fiction. The stories are bookended by two extended tales set in the United States, while the balance of the remaining thirteen tales takes place in Connolly's native British Isles. Of those thirteen, nine are transcripts of stories written for presentation on BBC's Radio Four. All are --- to varying degrees --- a wild, terrifying ride.

"The Cancer Cowboy Rides" opens NOCTURNES. It is somewhat reminiscent of a Stephen King tale --- the story of a being who intentionally spreads a fast-acting terminal cancer by casual contact. This is a terrifying story, one that will have you avoiding the handclasps and bumps of strangers, and the jostle of crowds.

The closing story, "The Reflecting Eye," is a Charlie Parker novella that fills over one-fourth of the book. It finds Parker waiting with Rachel for the birth of their child. Their quiet peace is disturbed when Parker somewhat reluctantly undertakes an investigation at the behest of the owner of an abandoned house, once occupied by an infamous serial killer of children. A photograph of an unknown girl has turned up in the mailbox. It may not mean anything, but Parker can't take the chance, given that there may be someone, or something, waiting within the nether reaches of the house, poised to kill again.

"The Reflecting Eye," as with other Parker tales, flirts with the supernatural, though Connolly perhaps delves deeper into the genre than he has previously. While "The Reflecting Eye" will only whet the appetite of Parker fans --- it is an appetizer, not a full meal --- it does introduce a dark, mysterious character known as The Collector, who may play a role in future Parker novels and is worth reading for that reason alone.
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Format: Paperback
Some authors are made to write short stories, a tighter, shorter format that needs to be told with little expense. Others are made to write longer narratives. John Connolly is one of these authors. His novels (starring PI Charlie Parker) are always a great mix of suspense and the paranormal. The books take you places you've never been before and are written with wit, humour and great style. Unfortunately, the same cannot be applied to Connolly's first collection of short stories.

It comes as no surprise then that the two best pieces in this collection are also the longest one. The Cancer Cowboy Rides is an AMAZING tale of suspense and terror that will leave you biting your nails (One of the best pieces of terror I've read in a while). And The Reflecting Eye : A Charlie Parker Story showcases the author's talent when it comes to blending horror and suspense. The tale is fast-paced, gritty and highly entertaining.

The rest of this collection has its ups and downs. The problem with Connolly's stories is that they are all very predictable and typical. There are no real surprises in these short tales of suspense and terror. The reader isn't left with much to play with.

Yet, there are a few stories worth mentioning. The Erlking takes childhood fears to the very next level. The Underbury Witches (another longer piece) is fun yet a bit too predictable for its own good. And The Shifting in the Sands has a good premise but it is downplayed by a so-so ending.

I am a big fan of Connolly's work, but some author's just aren't made for the short story format. And yet, this collection had me going. I can't wait to read Connolly's newest thriller. I know that I'll be in for a good ride. As it is, Nocturnes is a decent collection with a couple of great pieces and many forgettable ones.
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Format: Paperback
If this is your first time spent with John Connelly, you are not really getting the full impact of what his writing is like. Many of the short stories herein live up to the Charlie Parker series (obviously the novella within), but he branches out into strange and darker waters.
I would recommend this for people that are already familiar with Connelly. But please do yourself a favor and dive head first into the series. Read them in order. If you don't, you will miss out on the way things unfold. Each one is deeper and darker than the next, and dare I say better than the rest. Very intense, violent (but not overbearing), often heart wrenching, humourous and beautifully poetic.
Jump in and leave a light on.

Ps..... the fictional characters Hannible Lecter and Clarise Starling featured in the Thomas Harris novels would enjoy reading about the spooky folks contained in Connelly's pages. Perhaps they too would leave a light on.

(all of the other books would rate at 5 stars, at least)

POSTSCRIPT: as I have reread some of the stories (such as "the monkey inkwell", and "The Underburry Witches" as well as the Parker novella "The Reflecting Eye"), I am inclined to give my missig star back (so 5 out of 5 now). Just keep in mind that Connelly dives more into the supernatural here than what I have been used to, all the while keeping it very real and plausible. This book is to be enjoyed and many of the stories over and over again.
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Format: Paperback
Nocturnes [ by the author of The Book of Lost Things] is the first collection of short stories by Irish author John Connolly. The book consists of 15 stories:The Cancer Cowboy Rides, Mr Pettinger's Daemon, The Erlking, The New Daughter, The Ritual of the Bones, The Furnace Room, The Underbury Witches, The Inkpot Monkey, The Shifting of the Sands, Some Children Wander by Mistake, Deep Dark Green, Miss Froom Vampire, Nocturne, The Wakeford Abyss, & The Reflecting Eye: A Charlie Parker Novella.If you love the English Gothic horror master M.R. James, you'll definitely appreciate the stories here...they are basically supernatural stories, but some have been also given the crime thriller treatment to good effect. Some of my favorites in this collection are "The Uderbury Wiches", in which two Lndon detectives go to a small rural town to investigate a mysterious death, and find links with witch burnings dating back to the 17th century. The last story in the collection ,The Reflecting Eye has Charlie Parker, Pi as its protagonist...he finds himself being hired to investigate an abandoned house that once was the residence of a child murderer. The present owner of the house finds a picture of a young girl in the mailbox, and wants parker to ascertain the identity of the girl, worried that the child is either a victim of the murderer in the past, or a new victim targeted by a would-be copycat killer. Suffice to say, all these stories share an abundance of chills, and are written with great atmosphere, and well-plotted. A must-read for fans of supernatural horror or thrillers.
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