The Nameless Ones

The Nameless Ones (Charlie Parker #19) – John Connolly.

Longtime friends and associates of Charlie Parker, Louis and Angel, travel to Europe following the brutal murder of a friend at the hands of a pair of ruthless Serbian brothers, The Vuksans.  Not content to return home until all those who are responsible for his friend’s murder meet their maker, Louis seemingly has to overturn every rock on the continent to track down his adversaries.  Along the way he’ll have help, but the Vuksans are far from vulnerable.  In their possession, they have someone who can not only see the future, but can also communicate with the dead.  But what will happen when this person runs afoul of Charlie Parker’s long since passed daughter, Jennifer?

I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.

While The Nameless Ones is the 19th book in the Charlie Parker series, it is only the second one to feature Louis and Angel as the focused characters.  While I’m just as content to read another book following the series’ titular detective, I welcomed the shift and the opportunity to focus on two of Connolly’s strongest characters.  Angel, having just overcome cancer, continues to deepen as a character and Louis, having to once again confront mortality through Angel’s battle with the deadly disease, becomes even more meticulous when approaching a job.

The book takes Louis and Angel all over Europe as they’re hot on the heels of a pair of gangsters with their own troubles, those which Connolly is more than eager to explore.  In his author’s note as well as afterword, Connolly detailed the amount of research that went into developing the book’s central villains – both born out of the Yugoslavian war and the bloodshed that followed.  I will admit, I did struggle at times trying to keep track of the history, the locations and a few of the characters.  But by the end, I was OK.  It surprised me just how much of the book’s real estate Connolly gave to developing the Vuksans and their associates – it seemed to be on par to what he offered up to Louis and Angel.

As always, the violence is on full display.  Much of the death here is extremely graphic and one of the early instances had me wincing.  This isn’t a complaint, mind you – it’s what I expect from this series.  It helps to set up the absolute barbarism and savagery on the part of the novel’s villains.  The Vuksans are two guys you absolutely want to see Louis put in the ground.  

I loved getting to hang out with Louis and Angel more than usual.  Their back-and-forth created more than a few laugh-out-loud moments for me.  After nineteen books, these two are so well-developed and feel so realistic that I could probably read a novel where Louis keeps his gun holstered and the pair go on vacation.  Also, it’s worth noting that Parker isn’t entirely absent here – he has a few scenes here and there – so longtime fans will be happy to check in on how he’s doing.  There’s also a tremendous scene featuring the Fulci Brothers that nearly had me cheering.

The Nameless Ones did not disappoint.  It is another solid entry in an already strong series.  It baffles me that John is able to continue this insane schedule of a book-a-year, especially when each novel requires a staggering amount of research, while also building and building to a seemingly never-arriving climax.  I know John has an ending in mind when he decides to retire Parker and company, but I hope it is still a long way off.

John Connolly’s The Nameless Ones is scheduled for release on July 08th, 2021 in the UK and October 12, 2021 in North America.

One thought on “The Nameless Ones

  1. Can’t wait to get my copy. Connolly has become my favorite author. I binge read his books which probably says something about my having too much time on my hands and/or a lack of social commitments. But the way I can cringe then laugh as the stories unfold keep me in the fan club.

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