|John Connolly’s Dark Hollow|
Connolly should be ranked at the top of his field. His work with his American crime-fiction franchise and his iconic anti-hero at the center is even more impressive due to the fact that Connolly himself, is an Irishman.
His ability to create a chilling atmosphere is only second to his top notch character development. Parker returns alongside friends, Louis and Angel in Connolly’s sequel to 2001’s Every Dead Thing, Dark Hollow. In Dark Hollow, PI Charlie “Bird” Parker returns to his old stomping grounds of Portland, Maine, alone, to heal his wounds following the events of the last year as well as the brutal murder of his wife and child. As Parker begins to restore a home he had inherited from his grandfather, he takes a small job on the side – collect child support from a deadbeat dad for a longtime friend. However, what started as a simple job soon throws Charlie in the middle of a prominent mob boss’ business, the disappearance of said deadbeat dad and the re-appearance of a man long thought to have vanished or never to exist at all. While dealing with all this, Charlie comes to grip with the sudden loss of communication with friend, Rachel Wolfe, the reappearance of former disgruntled partner Walter Cole AND meeting up with an old flame, who happened to be married, and still is, at the time of their initial affair.
You’d think that having this much going on at once would be overwhelming but Connolly maintains control throughout. I never felt lost at any point throughout the novels 500+ pages and never felt that anything was unnecessary. Connolly often rewrites his books, sometimes in excess of 20 times so he makes sure his novels are tight. Further development is given to Parker’s accomplices Louis and Angel. The nature of Louis’ employment puts a strain on his relationship with Parker for the first time. We also get a glimpse into how Angel became intertwined with Parker in the first place. This excites me as Louis is given a more central role in a Parker novel down the road and his character is already interesting by the 2nd novel – I can only guess what Connolly has in store for the next few outings.
Dark Hollow focuses a bit more on who these central characters are, their backgrounds and Charlie’s reason for continuing down this road. Connolly should be praised for his ability to write thrillers this good but nothing is better than proper character development, it keeps the series interesting.