Dirty South
by Connolly, John

A latest entry in the best-selling series by the author of A Book of Bones traces Charlie Parker's first case, in which his efforts to bring his wife and child's killer to justice are stymied by corruption. 75,000 first printing.

John Connolly is the author of the Charlie Parker series of thrillers, the supernatural collection Nocturnes, the Samuel Johnson Trilogy for younger readers, and (with Jennifer Ridyard) the Chronicles of the Invaders series. He lives in Dublin, Ireland. For more information, see his website at JohnConnollyBooks.com, or follow him on Twitter @JConnollyBooks.

The year is 1997. Charlie Parker's wife and daughter are dead, and their killer is still at large in Burdon County, Arkansas. Nearly insane from grief, Parker has only one thing on his mind: find the killer and get revenge. But fate has a bigger job in mind for the former NYPD detective. Although most of the county residents refuse to acknowledge it, a serial killer is at work, and it's up to Parker to stop the madness. Readers have waited a long time to hear Parker's origin story; Connolly has hinted at it over the years, but he's kept most of the details hidden away in the shadows. And, although readers always look for different things in an origin story, there's no denying this one is a hell of a tale: dark, haunting, and beautifully told. The Charlie of 20 years ago may be younger and slightly less jaded, but in most respects he's the same guy he is today, sharp of wit and unafraid of confronting evil head-on. For fans of the Parker series, the book is required reading. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

The 18th novel in Connolly's Charlie Parker series takes readers back to the beginning of the ex–New York City detective's career as a private eye, finding him "deep in the Dirty South" helping local police investigate horrific murders. Parker is an unwelcome stranger in a Cargill, Arkansas, diner in 1997. Local cops find him suspicious when he mentions the name of a young black girl whose violent death has been officially deemed accidental. Parker himself has lost a wife and daughter to vicious murders. He's quit the NYPD, and he's on a quest to find the man who killed his family "and tear him apart." The story's mood is dark: The local lake named Karagol has water so black "it seemed to consume light,"and it gave its name to nearby Cargill, a dismal town that seems to consume spirit. The police chief decides to accept Parker's help investigating some obvious murders, to the chagrin of some important, malevolent people. A company named Kovas Industries makes missile components and is considering a major investment in Cargill, which would turn it into a company town and make certain people rich. The last thing they need is publicity about killings, so they just want the fates of two girls to be "obliterate d." The coroner says they are "poor dead colored girls. That's not the same thing" as dead girls, suggesting they matter less. And much of the town is angry at the girls for getting themselves killed to begin with. (Yes, what were they thinking?) If they must be deemed murders, one character opines that "it would be best" if a "Negro" were the culprit. But Parker wants to know if it's the same person who killed his family. This is a story populated with richly described characters, be they honorable or slimy, as well as rich descriptions and dialogue. Fast-moving, witty dialogue helps speed this well-plotted yarn to a dramatic conclusion. A most satisfying read for crime buffs. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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