As in the best noir, the violent events that propel the plot of Connolly’s grim but compelling 14th novel featuring PI Charlie Parker (after 2015’s A Song of Shadows) are triggered by a seemingly innocuous choice. Jerome Burnel, a jewelry store manager, in the middle of an armed robbery at a gas station outside Portland, Maine, manages to kill the criminals and save the intended victims. Two months later, someone frames Burnel by planting child porn in his house. During his subsequent imprisonment, Burnel is violated repeatedly by a sadist who says that he works for an entity known as the Dead King. After Burnel’s release, he hires Parker to look into who set him up so he’d go to prison, only to disappear soon afterward, leaving the sleuth another mystery that takes him down some extremely mean streets. Connolly again displays his mastery at combining the hard-boiled with the supernatural. Eloquent prose is a plus (“A man driving on a dark fall evening, a gas station appearing in the distance: to stop or go on. On such decisions were lives saved, lives ended, and lives destroyed”). Agent: Darley Anderson, Darley Anderson Literary (U.K.). (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2016 Release date: 08/02/2016 Genre: Fiction
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