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Every Dead Thing: A Charlie Parker Thriller Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2000

3.9 out of 5 stars 369 customer reviews
Book 1 of 13 in the Charlie Parker Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's a good idea to avoid reading John Connolly's debut novel on a full stomach. His descriptions of mutilated murder victims give him honorary membership in the gore wars club. Every Dead Thing is a fast-paced piece of fiction from an author whose regular stomping ground is as a journalist for the Irish Times.

NYPD detective Charlie "Bird" Parker was busy boozing at Tom's Oak Tavern when his wife Susan, and young daughter Jennifer were mutilated by a killer called the Traveling Man. Consumed by guilt and alcoholism, Charlie soon lost his job, and almost his sanity. Several months on he is sober and ready to get his life back in order. Charlie takes up private investigating. One of his first cases involves the disappearance of a woman called Catherine Demeter. At first this puzzle seems unrelated to the Traveling Man--but Charlie has a gut feeling that the slayer is pulling the strings. "I dreamed of Catherine Demeter surrounded by darkness and flames and the bones of dead children. And I knew then that some terrible blackness had descended upon her."

The search for Catherine takes Charlie on a whirlwind tour of the South. First to the small Virginian town of Haven, where, some 30 years before, Catherine's sister Amy was murdered, along with other local children. But the trail turns cold--until a tip from a psychic leads Charlie to the swamplands of Louisiana. The subplots of Catherine's disappearance, age-old child murders, and the slaying of the Parker family finally unite in the hot, humid terrain. A showdown with the Traveling Man is inevitable.

Every Dead Thing is classic American crime fiction, and it's hard to believe that John Connolly was born and raised on the Emerald Isle. --Naomi Gesinger --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

One serial killer who tortures children and another who steals victims' faces after mutilating their bodies give readers two grisly plots in one darkly ingenious debut novel. New York Homicide cop Charlie "Bird" Parker left the force when his wife and baby daughter were gruesomely murdered (while he was boozing down the block), but he agrees to trace a missing woman as a favor to his old partner. The trail leads from Brooklyn wise guys to a dying rural Virginia town where the shameful secret (children were tortured and killed by wealthy local eccentrics) is linked to the missing woman. Stepping on toes and muscling past stonewallers, Charlie eludes hired killers to flush several villains into the open with the help of two friendly hitmenAa competently lethal gay couple who provide a refreshing change from both stereotypes. Charlie receives a phone call from Tante Marie, a Creole woman near New Orleans whose detailed psychic visions of "The Traveling Man" match the profile of the killer. Scoping out the bayous, Charlie teams up with his old FBI buddy, Woolrich, for more convoluted probing involving a plethora of psychic tips, bodies in the bayou and Creole gangs. A romance with a beautiful Brooklyn profiler who joins the case helps make the New Orleans sequence of the novel sing. The tortuous plot seldom falters and each character is memorable. There are sometimes too many detailsAlike extensive lists of zydeco and Cajun singers on the radioAthat force the Louisiana ambiance, and Brooklyn never does feel right, but the rural Virginia town is petty, bitter perfection: no mean feat for a native Dubliner. The prose rings of '40s L.A. noir, ? la Chandler and Hammett, but the grisly deaths, poetic cops and psychic episodes set this tale apart. Published by Hodder in Great Britain in January, Connolly's gory tale should find an avid U.S. audience. Foreign rights sold in Germany, Japan and Italy.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Charlie Parker (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 467 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; 1st edition (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067102731X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671027315
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (369 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
So much did this novel disturb me that at times when I wanted to put it down (mainly to sleep) I had to read on to find a place in the story line at which I could leave it. If a book, any book has such an effect on me as a reader then it's done its job! Every Dead Thing is written in the first person (not my favourite style to read) and what emerges is a novel that is both individualistic yet somehow collective in that it taps into a variety of common human insecurities: the death of those close to us, the abuse of the innocent and the chill of our personal destiny being controlled by another.
For his first novel John Connolly has written an outstanding thriller that is crammed full of suspense. The plot centres on Charlie Parker, a former police detective as he battles both with alcohol and the horrors that torment him following the violent murder of his wife and child. Parker throughout the course of Every Dead Thing attempts to track down a child killer, while at the same time graduating towards the activities of a serial murderer known as the Travelling Man. It would be unfair to elaborate on the plot in more depth. It is however, realistic to note that Every Dead Thing is at times standard thriller material, a taut page turner, believably frightening and totally engaging while at other times it adopts a more dark and menacing approach that takes the reader certainly beyond what I've previously experienced from other books defined as thrillers.
I recommend Every Dead Thing to you, read it with the lights bright and the doors firmly locked!
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Format: Hardcover
Despite a strong start, I quickly found myself getting bored with Connolly's attempt to create a world of characters that he could build a book series upon. The story starts with our hero attempting to find the murderer of his wife and child, but meanders far and wide before getting back on track in the final 50 pages. Despite my waning interest, the characters of Bird, Louis, Angel, and the mysterious, grisly psychopath "Travelling Man" kept me going until the satisfying, edge-of-my-seat ending. Uneven, but I will give connolly's next book a look. The guy has raw talent.
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Format: Hardcover
"Just when I thought I had figured it out .... he pulled me back in!" This is a great first novel for John Connolly; he out did "Hannibal" by a mile. I liked the 2 in 1 story line and the plot twists - you won't believe the ending. If you start this book be prepared to finish it in one sitting. I can't wait for Connolly's next one!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I discovered John Connolly when I read "Bad Men" and the experience was extremely pleasant, so I decided that I had to read the books in the Charlie "Bird" Parker series. In this first installment I found a novel that blends the mystery and horror genders in a superb manner and that keeps you guessing on what will happen next. One of the aspects I enjoyed most was that the main character is not one of those good guys you see in most mystery novels, who are always working towards a good cause and have no negative feelings towards others. Charlie is more human than that, and this carries with it a desire for revenge that will not be quenched easily.

Why does he want revenge? Because his wife and three year-old daughter were brutally murdered and desecrated by a man that can only be considered a demon. Related to this event is that we see the author immerse the novel into the horror genre through the use of gory details about the murders by introducing a detail version of the police and autopsy reports. The descriptions are precise and Connolly does not pull any punches, going straight for a knockout of our endurance to take the effects of evil.

Charlie was a cop at the time of the murders and had a problem with alcohol, but after the terrible shock, he left the force, became a private eye, and quitted cold turkey. Seven months later he is working on a case involving dangerous guys, who use bullets that can go through body armor and have no qualms about killing anyone that crosses their path. Concomitantly, Charlie is in constant search of the killer of his family, and the fact that the monster contacts him, gives him greater strength to pursue his desire for revenge.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book in about 6 hours and I couldnt put it down. After my disappoinment with Hannibal I was relieved to find someone to take Thomas Harris' place. One of the things that I enjoyed most about this book were the characters of Angel and Louis, who brought a smile to my face during a most chilling tale. I would like to add that I have just today finished John Connollys new book named on my proof copy as Requiem For The Damned but renamed apparantly as "Death Hollow" and for the people out there who loved Every Dead Thing you certainly wont be disappointed with his second offering. To keep me happy it again stars Charlie and his sidekicks Angel and Louis.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Since they're are already some really detailed reviews about the storyline I thought I'd do something different and give you some opinions I had about this book and the subsequent reviews.
I really liked and recommend this book. In response to some of the complaints about it...1)yes there were a lot of characters to keep track of. You see that all the time in a Tom Clancey novel. 2)He didn't develope the main character enough. True, but if you're like me and you try to assign someone you know (actor wise)to a character, then it left the door open for you to jump right into Bird Parker's shoes yourself. As if you are viewing everything first hand. 3)He didn't explain the motives behind the Travelling Man other than the poets told him to. That really mirrors life, where there is no solid reasoning that causes a psycho to go on a killing spree.
This isn't a quick read. It's a complicated thriller that takes a few to comprehend. John Connolly gets a big pat on the back for this one and I really look forward to his next one.
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