John Connolly is back with his twentieth Charlie Parker installment, The Furies. Containing two novels, The Furies is made up of the title story and The Sisters Strange, the serialized story he wrote and released through his website during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. But fear not, even if you had read The Sisters Strange as it was being written, it is worth reading once again as John has expanded it into a full length novel.
In The Sisters Strange, Parker finds himself digging into the lives of Dolors and Ambar (no, not typos) Strange as a former lover – and notorious criminal – by the name of Raum Buker returns to Portland. Approached by another, also former lover of Dolors, Parker is tasked with investigating the erratic behavior of Buker as his sudden arrival brings about cause for concern. Hot on the heels of Buker is a mysterious collector of coins, a man who will stop at nothing to get back what was taken from him.
Then, in The Furies, Parker is charged with bringing about the end of a serious case of blackmail against the widow of a deceased Mafia man. Endlessly extorted by two very evil men, she asks Parker to help her recover something very personal of hers that is now in the possession of her tormentors. As if that isn’t enough, Parker also agrees to assist the daughter of a client who is trapped in an abusive relationship. Oh, and I should mention that this all happens during the early days of the lockdowns in March 2020.
Connolly does it again! While both of these stories are solid entries into the Parker mythos, I found The Sisters Strange to be the stronger of the two. Also, I feel slightly rewarded for holding out on reading the original publication as I knew it would eventually find its way into a future book or collection; I just didn’t expect it to be so soon and also to be expanded.
All the hallmarks of the Parker series are here and in fine form. Louis and Angel, two of Parker’s constant companions, shined brightly (especially so when confronting their peers in organized crime). The Braycott Arms Motel and its seemingly lone staff member in Bonny Wadlin, are excellent additions to Parker’s world. The location and Wadlin himself link both stories together as common elements. I love this as a resting place for some of Portland’s most disruptive presences.
Judging by the fact that Connolly’s first novel is the namesake of my blog, it’s no secret that I am a big fan and with a series as long-running as this it is a wonder as to how John keeps the quality at such an unmatched level. I say this after every novel, but I can’t wait to see what he does next.