Ah, you never forget your first.
When I was surfing around on the interwebs trying to find a new book to pick up, someone suggested John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things. I nabbed it shortly thereafter and upon finishing it, I knew I had just read something special. I immediately needed more Connolly and upon realizing he had an entire mystery/thriller series featuring a private detective named Charlie Parker, I was filled with optimism and excitement.
Former New York City cop, Charlie Parker, had his wife and daughter taken from him after their brutal murder. To make matters worse, Parker had been boozing it up following a particularly nasty argument with his wife, leaving them alone when the tragedy occurred. Unable to cope with his day job, Parker left the force and became a private investigator. In Every Dead Thing, Parker is tasked to track down a vicious serial killer that will lead to a confrontation that will test the his physical and ultimately, his moral, limits.
The plot of Every Dead Thing is out there. Tracking down a serial killer who removes the skin of his victims and leaving them in various poses is certainly an exercise in brutality. Not only that, throw in the fact that Parker eventually succumbs to seeing visions of the dead while using them as clues in his investigation. Who would hire a private detective that uses ghosts to solve cases? As crazy a plot as it sounds, Connolly packs it with such rich characters that you can forget about how insane everything is and just go with it.
There are aspects and events in this book that had me on the edge of my seat. In fact, the opening action scene alone is enough to win most people over. The violence is brutal and the dialogue, filled with razor sharp wit and humor, is exceptional. If you’re reading the Parker series and you’re starting with book one (and let’s be honest, you should), you can rest assured that Parker, Louis and Angel continue to have some of the best chemistry in any mystery novel you’ll read.
Every Dead Thing is a fantastic start to a long-running series. While the series certainly has it’s ups and downs (as with most lengthy series’), it only gets better with age.