The Lovers progresses the Charlie Parker character in a way that has not been done since The White Road. In his last two outings, excluding The Reapers, we’ve been given small advancements here and there in Parker’s fledgling relationship and his continued haunting by his deceased wife and child – but nothing major.
In the final pages of The Unquiet’s superb ending, Connolly alludes to something being covered up in Charlie’s childhood. One of Parker’s more recent associates (The Collector), who lightly dances on the line of good and evil, hints at Parker’s lineage. The circumstances surrounding his father’s death have never really been explained or investigated in the Parker series until now. The Lovers dives deep into Parker’s history and subsequently throws the entire series upside down establishing the foundation of why Parker is who he is. Forcing the reader to jump back and forth from the present to the past, we come to realize that Parker will be forever surrounded by evil.
It might seem like I’m telling you that Connolly reveals all, but truly he knows better. Why spoil the fun? Clearly he has ambitious hopes for the character as he continues to write more and more novels. He’s careful to leave just enough out to keep us all interested.
I blew through this book rather quickly. Not quite as swiftly as The Reapers but it was pretty enthralling. As with every Parker book, it’s really hard to maintain an opinion that this is fantastic from start to finish as he usually bogs down in character development; which has its advantages but on some occasions can feel tiresome. That being said, on a good note, the flashback scenes and the character histories are a little lighter.
I was a little disappointed in the fact that Louis and Angel are rarely in this one. However, as having just starred in their first stand alone novel, Connolly seemed to feel that he could keep them at bay as this was a case strictly to do with Parker and his family. I was a little wary at first but it all worked out for the best. Parker’s estranged girlfriend and daughter are kept at a minimum, only surfacing once or twice to continue an acknowledgment of their existence. Basically, they seem to be there so Parker can get rid of his dog.
All in all, while not as good as The Reapers, it’s still a solid entry that I enjoyed more than The Black Angel and The Unquiet. I may have had some critical things to say about The Lovers but my Connolly fandom will always shine through. Maybe I’m just analyzing a little closer than I’m used to due to my overwhelming appreciation for the series.