Thursday, 2 January 2020


What a great choice this John Connolly collection of short stories turned out to be, for my Christmas holiday read. Felt in the mood for some scares, some more fireside scares,the particular ones you only get before an actual crackling fire, which is to be found in the house I was staying in over the Christmas holidays. I have had this book sitting on a shelf filled with John Connolly books, mostly his Charlie Parker books,waiting for the moment to really get my teeth into it, so to speak, then the stars aligned and I got a chance to sample this feast of pleasing terrors. It really looked the part, how a collection of possibly antiquarian stories, would look, sitting on a post-Edwardian book shelf.a lovely understated little volume containing fourteen short stories and a really gripping Charlie parker novella. One that contained something of a seismic event in the troubled life of Charlie Parker. It is no play on words to describe this collection as a haunting anthology and John Connolly wears his influences lightly, sprinkling the various texts with the most lovely little nods and winks. He homages but never mimics, his own voice being such a strong one. it always feels modern but boy can he deliver when it comes to telling tales in the grand old school way of an MR James or an Edgar Allen Poe. He commits to the short form as intensely as he weaves dark epics in the long form, although this distinction blurs as the reader comes towards the end of this collection and the charlie Parker novella that patiently sits at the back of the bus, awaiting disembarkation; The Reflecting Eye.
           Charlie parker is surely America's smartest and wittiest private investigator, although the events which shaped his character are truly horrific. For me, Charlie parker embodies the spirit of a fictional Anrew Vachs, a real life champion of lost children. Another who sees every child born as another chance to get things right.
The tragic events that drive, and haunt, Charlie Parker are pretty harrowing and his creator does not shy from articulating in almost poetic prose those horrors. Not perhaps for the faint hearted but beautifully rewarding.