A Game of Ghosts

A Game of GhostsA Game of Ghosts (Charlie Parker, #15) by John Connolly
on January 1st 1970
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three-half-stars

A Man is a very small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.
– Lord Dunsany

Charlie Parker has been asked by Edgar Ross, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to locate a private detective, Jaycob Eklund, who has vanished. Eklund has been investigating a series of homicides and disappearances which have been linked to hauntings. Those who are not familiar with John Connolly’s paranormal mysteries may be scratching their heads and saying “huh?”. Connolly is a master of writing mysteries with paranormal elements that make sense, are chilling, often eerie, and yes, haunting.

As Charlie Parker, Angel and Louis begin to search for Eklund, his personal life continues to unravel, and he has been served custody papers by his ex, Rachel. Their daughter Sam is still young and has a special “gift” which we see more of in this book. She continues to have contact with Jennifer, Parker’s daughter who was viciously murdered along with her Mother (Jennifer’s Mother/Parker’s First wife.) The vicious murder of his first wife and daughter continue to haunt him. Parker is no stranger to pain and suffering. His daughter, Jennifer, continues to watch over him and provides what protection she can. Also looking over everything is The Collector. Series fans will enjoy seeing this character again.

Along with Louis and Angel, Parker meets with “Mother” and her creepy son, Phillip who had ties to Eklund. Eklund was hired by them and after he failed to make his monthly contact, they became “worried” and are interested in Eklund’s whereabouts. Parker is on their radar and he is on theirs but just how do they tie into the Brethren?

aaah yes, the Brethren with their sick and twisted relationships. They are in this world and in the next. It’s the plight of their family and their deepest secret which they want to remain a secret. Parker is getting close, what will they do to keep their secret(s) safe?

This book is the 15th in the series and I would not advise reading this as stand-alone novel. Of course, one could do that, but the beauty of this series is the character development/evolution of characters, the ongoing personal issues of Parker and the continuation of his story. I would advise those interested in this series to go back to the beginning. It’s worth the time of effort. My first Charlie Parker book was “The wolf in Winter” and I have been a fan ever since. After reading that book as a stand alone novel, I read some of the earlier books and have continued to be a fan.

I do not feel that “A Game of Ghosts” was the best book in the Charlie Parker series, but it is a nice addition. As I previously stated, I think John Connolly is a master at writing mysteries with paranormal elements. His books are well written, well thought out, perfectly paced and entertaining. Connolly often has various plots going at once, there is great character development, and dialogue. His books are eerie, chilling and dark while at the same time being intelligent, witty and entertaining.

As long as Connolly keeps writing this series, I will keep reading!

three-half-stars

Every Dead Thing

Every Dead ThingEvery Dead Thing (Charlie Parker, #1) by John Connolly
Published by Pocket Books on July 1st 2000
Pages: 467
ISBN: 067102731X
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This book is the first in the Charlie Parker series. I have read some of the other books in this series but not the first so I decided to go back to the beginning.

The book opens as Charlie “Bird” Parker has come home to find his wife and daughter dead. They have been murdered and left for him to find by a serial killer known as “The traveling man”. The traveling man has killed before and continues to kill as Parker desperately tries to hunt down and stop him. Parker is full of guilt as he was out drinking as his wife and daughter were being murdered. He has lost his job, is an alcoholic and works as a private detective hell bent on revenge.

He is hired to work a case of a missing young woman. At first he sees no similarities between this missing woman’s case and his families murders but he feels like “the traveling man” is behind things. The search for the missing woman takes him to the deep south were an old woman who cannot see seems to “see” into people’s pain and can sense when the traveling man is coming. Parker is aided by two career criminals who are bound to Parker and a beautiful psychologist. They find a town where terrible things have happened to children, where old murders are tied to current ones.

Connolly doesn’t disappoint. It was nice to go back to the beginning. I can definitely see the character development that has taken place since the beginning. He tends to mix his stories with elements of the supernatural. He writes characters who do not always do the right thing..the law is taken into their own hands and they never seem to suffer any consequences for this. There is a lot of violence so not for the faint of heart.

The Black Angel

The Black AngelThe Black Angel (Charlie Parker, #5) by John Connolly
Published by Pocket Star on January 1st 1970
Pages: 576
ISBN: 0743487877
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three-stars

This is a dark book. Charlie Parker’s friend/associate Louise has a family member missing. She is a drug addicted prostitute so private investigator Charlie Parker, his associates Louis and Angel go looking for her. He does this knowing that his relationship with Rachael (wife/Mother of his daughter) will be negatively affected. He has been trying to put his life back together and this investigation may prove to push their relationship over the ledge so to speak. When Parker, Louis and Angel find a room/sculpture of bones they realize there is more going on here. The story mainly takes place in the present but does have a back stories in the past: church of bones in Europe, a massacre at a french monastery. Mysterious deaths, a creepy corpulent man who does not appear to age and is in photographs from various times..myths of a Black Angel, etc. This is pretty dark with elements of mystery, paranormal, thriller, etc. Like some books I have read recently, I wish this book would have been 50 pages less. It seemed to drag a little in the middle. This book also does not do a good job of informing the reader of who the key players are (Louis and Angel). Had I not read a previous Charlie Parker book, I would have wondered how they knew Parker. This book just throws them into the action without much of a mention as to why/how they know Parker.

three-stars

The Wolf in Winter

The Wolf in WinterThe Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker, #12) by John Connolly
Published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books on October 28th 2014
Pages: 432
ISBN: 1476703183
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three-half-stars

I received this book through Goodreads first reads giveaway.

This was the 12th book in a series and I had not read the previous books, but I found this book did a good job as a stand alone book for me. There were parts/Characters in the book where it would have been nice to have some background information (the hunt for the Collector, Cambion, more on Parker’s deceased wife and daughter, etc.) yet even without the background information the book was good. This book had a mix of mystery, horror (mild) and the supernatural. Charlie Parker is a private detective who is investigating the disappearance of a missing girl and the death of her father, a homeless man who occasionally provided help to Parker on his cases. The Town of Prosperous sets the stage. A small town in Maine that has deep, dark secrets. The setting of the book initially reminded me of books by Stephen King – small town(s) in Maine with creepy people doing creepy things.But this is where my comparison ends.

I really enjoyed this novel by Connolly. I thought the story enfolded at a nice pace although I would have liked more on the history of Prosperous. I hesitate to say more about this as I don’t want to give away the plot. I think this book would appeal to many types of readers – those who like mysteries, those who like crime novels, etc. This book is perfect for this time of year. This book did peak my interest in this book series and I would be willing to go back and read some earlier books in the series.

three-half-stars

A Time of Torment

A Time of TormentA Time of Torment (Charlie Parker, #14) by John Connolly
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on April 7th 2016
Pages: 480
ISBN: 1444751573
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three-stars

Charlie Parker is approached by a recently released convict, Jerome Burnel, who wishes to tell Parker his story. A sad, twisted story of a broken and tormented man. A man framed for a crime he did not commit and suffered brutality at the hands of his tormentors. Then Burnel disappears. This, in addition to Burnel’s story, peaks Parker’s interest.

Soon Parker along with his fellow investigators/friends, Louis and Angel begin to investigate the Cut. An area that is protects it’s own and has its own rules and ways of living. They are brutal and carry out their own justice. They serve the Dead King. Who!?! What!?!

Charlie Parker is a man with a past. This is the 14th book in this series but this book does stand up very well as a stand alone novel. One could very easily pick up this book and enjoy it without having read the previous books in this series. Having said that, the previous books in this series set the stage and give us history into Parker and his own sad past. He has a dead wife. A dead daughter and one living daughter (one very interesting living daughter). As always there are paranormal elements to this story. Connolly is a unique Author, in that he can make a fan out of those who aren’t fans of Paranormal books. Mainly because the paranormal elements are not the main players in the Parker series. They play an important and key part but yet they do not over power any other aspects of Connolly’s books. Connolly continues to have very good character development. I believe this is where the Author shines. His character development. He fills his books with interesting characters. The book was a little slow in the beginning but not boring. It slowly builds the tension as the reader is introduced to life in the Cut, the local sheriff, and Parker’s investigation.

I enjoyed this book. Solid storytelling.

three-stars