John Connolly

The Whisperers

"...quite simply one of the best thriller writers around..."


The border between Maine, USA and Canada is leaky. Almost anything can be smuggled across it: drugs, cash, weapons, people...

Now a group of disgruntled former soldiers has begun its own smuggling operation, and what is being moved is infinitely stranger and more terrifying than anyone can imagine. Anyone, that is, except private detective Charlie Parker, who has his own intimate knowledge of the shadows that reside in men's hearts.

But the soldiers' actions have attracted the attention of the solitary and sinister Herod, a man with a taste for the bizarre and dangerous. And where Herod goes, so too does the shadowy figure that he calls the Captain. To defeat them, Parker must form an uneasy alliance with a man he fears more than any other, the killer known as the Collector...

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The release of a Charlie Parker novel is one of my favourite times of the year. John Connolly is quite simply one of the best thriller writers around. He's the kind of writer who not only opens the door to his imagination, he pulls up a chair and plumps up the cushions first. Just don't get too comfortable because you are in for a thrilling, unpredictable and at times chilling ride. I just love the way Connolly brings the supernatural into the thriller genre. He does this with a suggestion of demonic forces and with the creation of really, really bad men. The kind of men we spook our children with, while simultaneously scaring ourselves. The better novels often have elements other than a straightforward narrative and, clever man that he is, Connolly uses The Whisperers to discuss the effect of war on soldiers. Being a very, very clever man he does this without lecturing. We get the information in digestible chunks that makes us assimilate the detail, wonder at how people could be treated in such a way, but never at any time are we at a remove from the story. The Whisperers is quite simply an excellent addition to the man's oeuvre. As always the prose manages to be both muscular and lyrical, the plot deals with the macabre and the emotional and the characters are as finely drawn as any you'll come across in literature. My only complaint was that at times in the beginning of the book there was a wee bit too much exposition - you know, the bits you skim over - but this could have been sorted with some judicious editing. In any case John Connolly can get away with this sort of thing, where lesser writers might not, because everything else is just so on the mark. This is me counting the days till the next one.

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