- 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: 451 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Every Dead Thing: A Charlie Parker Thriller Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2000
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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 the Paperback edition.
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 the Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
Family members of the books protagonist, NYPD detective Charlie “Bird” Parker, are victims of the Traveling Man and Parker's search for the sick perp, as he attempts to assuage his personal feelings of guilt, has led him to undertake an unsolved thirty year old case. The ultimate resolution of that case gives Parker the impetus to once again pursue the Traveling Man.
Author John Connelly skillfully juggles the large cast of unusual and interesting characters he has created, not the least of which are Angel and Louis, a couple of gay hit-men. In addition to brutal murder, this novel also offers some exploration of “second sight”, psychic episodes and thought transmission, as well as a plethora of interesting facts concerning cannibalistic cultures and regression therapy while also presenting Parker with a bit of romance in the person of criminal profiler, Rachel Wolfe.
This is one of those books that scrutinize subject matter that you love to hate. You are appalled by the explicit descriptions of brutality but find yourself engrossed in the individual personalities of the characters and drawn in by the drama, conflict and cynicism contained within the narrative.
By Bob Gelms
In the last issue I wrote about the 14th and latest Charlie Parker thriller by the great Irish writer John Connolly. I mentioned that if you hadn’t read any previous Charlie Parker books this one was a hum-dinger, but it would be well worth your time to go back to the first book in the series and give it a try.
Every Dead Thing is the first Charlie Parker thriller and there are a few things that amazed me. I should say that I read it when it first came out about 16 years ago and read it again a few weeks ago. The re-read confirmed all of the elements that impressed me when I read it the first time.
The book is stunning. It is very visual. The writing is, at times, almost poetic, especially when describing the condition of the murdered people. Mr. Connolly burst on the scene with this, his first novel, while he made his daily living as a writer for the Irish Times in Dublin, Ireland. Unusual for a new novelist, he shows up out of nowhere as a fully developed, lavishly gifted writer. In the same vein, all his characters, most notably Charley Parker, jump off the page as living breathing people. Sometimes I got the feeling I knew somebody like them. The book is so vivid and well written that I forgot very little in the 16 years that passed between my first and second read.
Parker tracks down two serial killers. They are the most heinous killers I’ve ever read about. I will tell you that if you made it through any of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter books you should be able to get through Every Dead Thing, even on a full stomach. It is compelling and eminently readable. I did nothing for two and a half days but read it. I even put off lunch on the second day.
Just prior to the opening, Parker and his wife have a bad argument. He’s already half in the bag so he leaves and walks to the neighborhood tavern where he really ties one on. The drinking was getting to be a problem even at work. He’s a detectivefor the New York City Police Department. He weaves his way back home and there he discovers the thing that nightmares are made of. His wife and daughter have been brutally murdered by what, on first blush, looks to be a deranged, twisted psycho killer.
Parker continues with the booze and starts to have mental problems brought on by guilt driven remorse. He finally loses his job and becomes sort of a private detective without a license. One of his police buddies throws him some work. It’s a missing persons case. He takes the job thinking he could use some cash to go after his family’s killer and gets clean knowing he will need all of his finely tuned faculties to catch the guy.
The missing person is Catherine Demeter. It is in the simple act of looking for her that he uncovers some very disturbing evidence which puts Parker on the hunt for a serial killer. His investigation takes him south to Virginia and ultimately to Louisiana where he gets a tip from an old woman who “sees” things. She hints about Demeter and then tells Parker that the man who killed his family has a name. He calls himself the Traveling Man and he is close by.
Parker wraps up the first case and it makes headlines all over the country. He heads to the swampland of the Bayou to look for the Traveling Man. Mutilated bodies start showing up and Parker knows that the Traveling Man knows he is looking for him. That’s when Parker calls in the cavalry.
These two friends are sometimes on the wrong side of the law. Parker has helped them out of a few jams so they are returning the favor. Louis and Angel are two gay guys who happen to be partners. They live on adrenaline. They can become very lethal when needed. They are almost fearless. They are killers. They are a hit and show up in subsequent Parker thrillers.
This part of the novel is electric with live current on every page. Echo’s of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett will softly come to mind. Parker reaches into his soul and sees that he too can become a killer for revenge protected somewhat by the law. Is Charlie Parker entirely a good guy? You’ll have to answer that for yourself. Every Dead Thing is one of the finest novels I have read in the last 16 years. Don’t miss it.
It is difficult to say too much about the story without spoiling it...... and, as I still have another 100 pages to read, I guess I couldn't spoil the ending too much.
But, suffice it to say, if you have never met 'Bird" Parker, you'll love him.
His wife and daughter are brutally murdered, and Every Dead Thing leads you through Bird's quest to find their killer.
There were a few moments when my eyes started to cross and my mind started to wander. Thankfully, those were very few. For the most part, I found this book to be very edge of my seat. The suspects for the "Traveling Man" were many and my finger pointed at a lot of them. Some of the time when I was reading the book, I was wondering, "how the heck does this tie in?". Then at the end when the author put in the red arrows and the blinking lights along with the sirens, I was like I would have never figured that out.
The story took me from New York, up to the East Coast, to Virginia and down to the Big Easy. Charlie Parker provided many chuckles as well as his friends, Louis and Angel. So basically, the author added everything. Entertainment, mystery, suspense, gore, action scenes, scenery, high speed chases, the "don't go into the basement scenes", a few swampland scenes and some good ole Bayou voodoo. Not to mention the Cajun delicacies enjoyed by the characters.
This was a great story and definitely held my interest. This was one serial killer you did not want to meet in a dark alley.
Thanks to Atria Books for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.