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The Unquiet: A Thriller (Charlie Parker Thrillers) Hardcover – May 15, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews
Book 6 of 13 in the Charlie Parker Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this scary, cerebral thriller from bestseller Connolly, his fifth to feature world-weary Maine PI Charlie Parker (after 2005's The Black Angel), Parker is haunted by the ghosts of his wife and daughter, who died under mysterious circumstances that left him guilt-ridden. Parker is drawn again into the darkest recesses of human nature when a new client, Rebecca Clay, retains him to protect her against a menacing stalker, Frank Merrick, who believes Rebecca knows the whereabouts of her father, Daniel, a child psychiatrist who vanished years before. Merrick suspects Daniel knows the truth about the fate of his own young daughter, whom Daniel treated and who disappeared without a trace while Merrick was incarcerated. Connolly is a master of suggestion, creating mood and suspense with ease, and unflinchingly presents a hard-eyed look at the horrors that can lurk in quiet, rustic settings. 12-city author tour. (May)
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From Booklist

Daniel Clay, a psychiatrist alleged to have worked with a child-abuse ring, is missing and presumed dead. His grown daughter, Rebecca, is being stalked by an ex-con whose own daughter is missing. Rebecca hires Portland, Maine, investigator Charlie Parker to protect her and dissuade her stalker, a former contract killer named Merrick who is intent on either finding his daughter or avenging her death. The case leads to a very dark chapter in Maine's rural history and to the still-operational remnants of a syndicate of highly organized child abusers. Connolly weaves elements of the supernatural into a disturbing, very dark tale. Parker is haunted by the specters of his late wife and daughter as well as an ephemeral embodiment of death who offers both advice and warnings as the detective ventures ever deeper into the darkness of the real world and his own soul. The disquieting subject, coupled with Connolly's dark, lyrical prose, will leave unshakable images lurking on the edge of the reader's consciousness. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Charlie Parker Thrillers
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (May 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743298934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743298933
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
John Connolly's "The Unquiet" is a dark and haunting tale with seamlessly blended elements: murder mystery, psychological suspense, and even a tinge of the supernatural. The first person narrator is Charlie Parker, the stereotypical brooding private detective with a tortured past. He has nearly gone mad with grief after the loss of his first wife and child, and is now unhappily separated from his second wife, Rachel, and their daughter, Sam. Charlie's newest client is Rebecca Clay, who wants to deter a stalker from harassing her and her daughter, Jenna. The man bothering Rebecca is Merrick, an extremely angry individual with a question that he wants answered: Where is Rebecca's father, Daniel Clay? Clay was a child psychiatrist who once worked with abused children; he was later accused of mishandling his cases, of being an abuser himself, and of possibly offering children to be victimized by others molesters. Rebecca insists that her father was a good man. In any case, she has not seen him in years, and has recently had him declared legally dead. Merrick thinks that Rebecca is lying.

Parker interviews Rebecca's ex-husband, Daniel Clay's lawyer, a child psychiatrist who disliked Clay and clashed with him professionally, and others who might be able to shed some light on who Daniel Clay really was and what became of him. Meanwhile, Parker, with the help of some hired muscle, tries to keep Rebecca safe, but he soon learns that no one can be shielded from certain relentless individuals who will not be denied their chance for revenge.

"The Unquiet" is an effective horror story that proves once again the truth of Shakespeare's statement: the evil that men do lives after them.
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For the record, I'm a big fan of John Connolly. His mastery of the language is on par James Lee Burke, spinning imagery and atmospherics uncommon in the average thriller. Connolly can take off the gloves off and get as brutal and violent as Dennis Lehane, Robert Crais, or Lee Child, but an undercurrent of Irish melancholy softens the blow with cascading riffs of near-poetic prose. And if that's not enough, Connolly succeeds in weaving a supernatural dimension in private detective Charlie Parker's "honeycomb world", succeeding where so many have failed in striking the difficult balance between credible and creepy.

But for as much as I admire Connolly, I was disappointed in "The Unquiet", a needlessly long and convoluted tale of revenge and retribution that wallows under the weight of overindulgence in that which has made Connolly's fiction so refreshing and unique. In this installment, Parker is retained by Rebecca Clay to protect her from a mysterious stalker seeking answers about the fates of his daughter and Clay's child psychiatrist father, both long since disappeared. What seems to be a simple case of scaring off a bad guy spins by multiple threads into the shadowy and despicable world of child sexual abuse, leading to murder, deceit, and betrayal on that grand scale we associate with Connolly. An already complicated cast of characters and sub plots is further embellished by a mystical dose T.S. Elliot's "Hollow Men", while even managing to find a role for the ubiquitous Russian mob.

We know that Charlie "Bird" Parker is a tortured soul, but Parker's "Unquiet" anguish overpowers plot and setting. Colorful sidekicks Angel and Louis are relegated to nearly inconsequential roles, but are dull and listless even when given center stage.
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If you've never read a Charlie Parker novel, I urge you to quickly open up a search page for Amazon (or run to your fave bookstore, whichever is your preference) and begin reading. I read many books each year, but few stand out in my memory like the Parker novels.

That said, I must admit that the last one seemed a bit of departure to me, with its much broader scope and its heavy-duty philosophical and historical bent. I enjoyed it tremendously, but I enjoyed this one even more because it's much more like the earlier ones I loved so much.

We begin this book with Parker separated from Rachel and Sam, a separation that seems to be inching towards permanence, and one that causes Parker great pain but about which he feels relatively powerless, I think. What separates him from Rachel is something that he can't immediately control or maybe even fully understand because doing so would involve digging very deeply into his own psyche.

In this novel, Parker's forced to confront that psyche, the way his own decisions have led to his isolation from some of the people he loves best, from sanity, even. The ghosts of his dead first wife and daughter continue to haunt him, but his understanding of that haunting changes. I won't give away any major plot points here, but I will tell you that it's good to see Parker becoming more self-aware, not just in the sense that he knows he's flawed but in the sense that he has some control over how his experiences shape him and follow him into his future.

Angel and Louis show up, which is a good thing, as I like them both as characters. They're funny even in their cold-blooded murderous moments. But they're also human, and it's good to see them covering Parker's back as they always do.
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