In March of 2009, I started reading Charlie’s journey through the criminal underworld with “Every Dead Thing”. While having a little supernatural stuff thrown in there, his character reminded me of a “Batman-ish” vigilante. You had the classic story line of a traumatic event happening to an undeserving person which leads into spending their life trying to make amends for what happened. I loved it – I was hooked right away. The first book was full of such anger, he hated the world and wanted justice for the murder of his wife and child.
With Connolly’s “The Unquiet”, we’re six books in and two removed from one of the best Parker novels yet, “The White Road”. In this installment, we find Parker dealing with the separation from the mother of his second child. He picks up a job protecting the daughter of a long since missing child psychologist, Daniel Clay. Daniel’s daughter, Rebecca, is being troubled by a man who believes Daniel is still alive. The man in question, Merrick, desperately wants to find the location of Daniel about some unfinished business. Daniel Clay’s disappearance is linked to a scandal involving a case of alleged child abuse leading to death which had subsequently ruined his career. However, nothing was actually confirmed on whether Mr. Clay had anything to do with the events in question, just that his disappearance seems to indicate his involvement.
Parker’s life is just a huge mess. He can’t seem to make a decision between what he believes is his moral obligation to seek out and help those troubled in life and accepting his role as a father and family man. The novel spends a good chunk of time on the personal life; heavily sinking into Parker’s dilemma. It’s like he’s just sulking around, hoping things will clear themselves up. He seems to have no desire to make any sort of final decision.
Despite my feelings on Parker, his associates Louis and Angel remain excellent. Louis has some of the best lines I’ve read in this series. From his rant on hockey to his explanation of his political views; I just loved him.
I’m a huge fan of Connolly’s wit and sarcastic humor but with a brooding Parker, the novel seems to just fall a little short of what I’m used to. Maybe that’s what Connolly was going for but it’s not something I’m a fan of – at least not this far into the Parker saga. I think the novel also suffered from its length. Finishing at just over 500 pages, I felt it could have been a little tighter. A lot seemed like filler to me.
Despite my overall feelings toward the book, it had a superb ending. Connolly wraps things up well and treats the reader to an epilogue which progresses to the next book nicely. I have to admit, I was intrigued by something hinted at in the final pages – enough to make me pick up the next book right away. Actually, the final 100 pages or so really saved this. If not for some key events occurring before the conclusion, this could’ve been completely forgettable and feel like a less than perfect entry in the Parker series.