Dark Hollow by John Connolly – Review.

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About the Book

Still raw from the brutal slayings of his wife and daughter, and the events surrounding the capture of their killer, The Travelling Man, Charlie Parker retreats to the wintry Maine landscape of his childhood. By following in the steps of his beloved grandfather, Parker hopes to heal his spirit and get through the bitter anniversary of Jennifer and Susan’s murder. But the echoes of the past that await him are not all benign. In a gruesome re-enactment of Parker’s own nightmares, another young woman is killed with her child and his brief involvement in their lives impels Parker to hunt their vicious murderer. As the death toll mounts, Parker comes to realise that the true answer to the puzzle lies thirty years in the past, in a tree with strange fruit, in his own grandfather’s history, and in the perverted desires of a monster incarnate – Caleb Kyle.

My Review

Dark Hollow is the second book in the series that features Charlie Parker. It is quite a while since I read the first one but it didn’t take me long to pick up on the ongoing personal story and the relationship between Charlie, and his wonderful friends Angel and Louis.
The book is quite dark, Charlie is obviously still mourning the death of his wife and daughter and is putting all his energy into making his Grandfather’s old home habitable. When he is asked to try and get child support from an old acquaintance he is placed yet again in danger.
I enjoy the supernatural elements in these novels. I just wish there more of them. They add a different slant to a storyline that some of which if fairly common. That of various gangs causing havoc for anybody who is unlucky enough to get too close. But there is also a less common storyline of a killer who has been in operation across generations. This was the story I was much more interested in and it was very sinister.
I love the relationship that Charlie has with Angel and Louis. The banter adds light heartedness to the creepy and often violent storylines. I hope that they continue to appear in subsequent novels.
This is a series that I need to catch up on. I’ve only read two of them, I think there are fifteen so I have a few to go. Many of them I don’t know the synopsis but the last two I have seen sound amazing. I have been reliably informed that they need to be read in order so I better get on with it.

A Time of Torment- John Connolly: Charlie Parker’s Music

All this week, Liz from LizLovesBooks has been running a feature on John Connolly and his series of books featuring Charlie Parker.
The features have appeared here:

The Mythology of Charlie Parker at LizLovesBooks

Anti- Heroes at Northern Crime

Creating The Villains at Grab This Book

Charlie Parker’s World at espresso coco

I am delighted to welcome them both to my blog today.

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Q/A – Charlie Parker’s world through music.

Can you talk a little about what made you name your main protagonist after a famous musician and how that feeds into the stories?

If I remember correctly – and it does seem like a very long time ago – it was the nickname that attracted me. Parker was known as “Bird”, and there was something about a man like Charlie Parker (the PI version) having a nickname associated with flight, and perhaps spirituality, while being so earthbound and mired in mortality. But as the books progressed, “Bird” came to be used less and less in association with him, and that was very deliberate. I didn’t want people to think it was a gimmick, and now I actually wince a little when writers or journalists refer to him as Charlie “Bird” Parker. In my mind, that’s the musician, while Parker is just, well, Parker.

There’s maybe also a small in-joke in that Parker ends up accidentally named after a jazz musician, as it’s made clear in the books that his parents didn’t listen to jazz at all. Also, Parker doesn’t really listen to jazz. I do – a little – but I always wonder a bit at the number of detective characters who seem to listen only to jazz and blues. Does nobody listen to the music of the eighties apart from me?

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You can read more about Charlie Parker on the website

Charlie Parker

Music obviously inspires you – the CD’s that come with the occasional special edition are full of gorgeous tone and atmospheric sense – how do you discover the artists that DO inspire?

Gosh, often by accident. It’s funny, but in terms of books and music I find myself going back, not forward. I do listen to new artists, just as I read new writers, but I’m very conscious of the gaps in my knowledge of both books and music; it may be a function of my age. I’m reading a lot of classics, and less in my own genre, as I think, or hope, that I’m pretty familiar with it by now. As for music, ABC to XTC, the weekly radio show that I host, focuses on the late seventies to the mid-eighties, which is the era of my teens. I thought I knew a lot about the music of the period, but the deeper I delve, the more I realize that I actually missed a great deal. It’s become a very pleasurable process of musical excavation.

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When it comes to the music on the Parker CDs, though, it’s often lyrical touches that catch my attention, and then it’s mood. Actually – and you’re the first person to be told this – I’m just putting the finishing touches to a limited edition (a long one!) that has music as its primary focus, using the songs on the CDs as a starting point for discussions of the novels, or writing, or sometimes simply the artists themselves. We’ll be giving people information about that at the end of April. So there: an exclusive!

If the books were to be turned into a show for television (if wishing made it so) which one piece of music or song would you imagine as the title sequence ran?

Gosh, that’s a hard one to answer! I suspect that I’d just leave it up to those involved. After all, I don’t think anyone would immediately have associated The Handsome Family with a detective drama until True Detective used their music – although they’ve always had a pronounced gothic streak.
One track that I never tried to license, even though it was hugely influential on Every Dead Thing, is Something I Can Never Have by Nine Inch Nails. It has one use of the f-word, and I always try to be careful about that with the CDs, as stores sometimes like to play them over their PA systems. But the mood of that song might be appropriate.

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You can read more about Nine Inch Nails on their website

Nine Inch Nails

That question is going to bother me now: I’ll end up obsessively going through the CDs on my shelf.

You can read more about John Connolly on his website

John Connolly