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 hitmen--a 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 details--like extensive lists of zydeco and Cajun singers on the radio--that 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. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1999 Release date: 05/01/1999 Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 469 pages - 978-1-4447-0468-6
Hardcover - 978-0-684-00878-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 480 pages - 978-0-671-02731-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 467 pages - 978-1-4165-9598-4
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