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Bad Men: A Thriller (Connolly, John) Hardcover – 15 Mar 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; 1st Atria Books Hardcover Ed edition (15 Mar 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743487842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743487849
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.6 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,060,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Connolly was born in Dublin in 1968. His debut -EVERY DEAD THING - swiftly launched him right into the front rank of thriller writers, and all his subsequent novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers. He is the first non-American writer to win the US Shamus award. (For Every Dead Thing). In 2007 he was awarded the Irish Post Award for Literature.

Product Description

Amazon Review

John Connolly writes dark, streetwise thrillers that pull no punches when showing human cruelty. Bad Men blends noir crime with supernatural horror as murderous gangsters invade an island whose ghosts have a special way with bad men.

Dutch Island, once known as Sanctuary, lies off the coast of Connolly's regular stamping-ground, the US state of Maine. A gory prologue relates dreadful doings there in 1693. Now it's a sleepy, only slightly spooky haven, easily policed by a single cop--the literally giant-sized "Melancholy Joe" Dupree--plus a mainland deputy.

Joe knows something of Sanctuary's history and the forces that seem to cleanse it of toxic human elements. Following two deaths in a tragic car crash, the old ghosts seem restless, as though waiting for something. They're waiting for a man called Moloch.

Moloch, amoral and appalling, is doing time as a major criminal organiser. His beautiful, cruelly treated wife Marian took her chance to cut loose before Moloch killed her, betraying him to the police and escaping to Dutch Island with their son, a brand-new identity and a small fortune in cash.

When Moloch's team of picked killers seizes a long-awaited opportunity to free him, reunion with his wife is the next priority. Working their way through her friends, relatives and contacts, they leave a chilling trail of death and mutilation. The emotionless assassin Shepherd is bad enough, but irascible Tell has a hair-trigger temper and kills unnecessarily (eg: a bystander talking too loudly on his mobile phone), while the eerily beautiful young man Willard does it lingeringly and for fun. Even Moloch, who coldly and effortlessly dominates this awful crew, is unnerved by Willard.

When all these (and more) reach Sanctuary, a freak snowstorm rages, power and communications fail, and unknowing locals standing between the hitmen and Marian are easy meat. Two quick bullets should deal with Joe Dupree and his current deputy, a female rookie cop from Portland. But something else, as we know from many portents and Moloch's own dreams, is waiting.

Bad Men is a standalone novel despite the brief, superfluous appearance of Connolly's regular PI character Charles Parker. It's a suspenseful, compelling read, hypnotic in its orchestration of brutality and mayhem; readers are likely to wince frequently and even involuntarily shut their eyes. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"John Connolly superbly melds crime fiction with the supernatural for an intriguing darker-than-noir series."

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Mar 2004
Format: Paperback
Bad men are coming to the island of Sanctuary. Bad men, led by the vicious Moloch, are coming, to seek out and punish Rita, his wife, who before running away to hide from him on the quiet, insular island, stole two important things from Moloch: his son and a substantial amount of cash.
Sanctuary has a bloody history; in 1693 a group of settlers on the island were betrayed to their enemies and slaughtered. Since then, the island has rested in three hundred years of peace. But, now the Bad Men are coming, the Bad Men with their malintent, and strange things are starting to happen on Sanctuary. The inhabitants can sense them, sense the changes. The island is waking once more. It is restless, and it will not tolerate the shedding of blood any longer. And still, the Bad Men are coming.
Clearly, this supernatural novel is a departure from Connolly’s normal work. But is it? Well, actually, not really. His books have always been smattered with supernatural happenings among the violence, ghostly goings-on, and they have worked to brilliant atmospheric effect in his Charlie Parker novels. However, this one is a full-blown supernatural thriller. He takes the horror and mystical elements and puts them all in one book. Obviously it is a risk for any author to depart from their norm. The important question is: does it work? The answer, mostly anyway, is yes.
Without any doubt, Connolly writes with lyrical brilliance, as exemplified marvellously by the opening to this book: “Moloch dreams. In the darkness of a Virginia prison cell, he stirs like an old demon goaded by memories of its lost humanity,” and nothing can take that away from him. Bad Men is a pleasure if only for the ethereal, vivid prose which bathes the descriptions in a sunset-like glow.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kentspur VINE VOICE on 5 July 2004
Format: Paperback
The author has already become a best-seller with crime novels with vague supernatural tweaks (which I didn't like much - the supernatural bits) and here he departs for Stephen King Island with a fully fledged 'there's something weird, and it don't look good' out in the woods opus.
This is an engaging read, but I feel some of portentuous prose builds an expectation that the plotting and denoument do not deliver upon. The 'Bad Men' - the villains are imprecisely drawn and I had to keep checking back to see which one was which. The more interesting criminals seemed to meet unsatisfyingly dull endings and there was some sub Tarantino dialogue grafted on that jarred hugely.
The ghosties didn't do enough. There was no real interaction with them like you get in excellent horror thrillers, so, while it was atmospheric, I didn't get the sense that the supernatural elements could be 'taken on' in any way hence the subtraction of tension.
On the plus side, the book maintains a good pace and has a couple of characters who actually care about, which adds to some of the punch at the end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marmaduke Gentle on 16 Jun 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The previous John Connolly novels have been convoluted, bloody, and yet entertaining, but the departure here from the familiarity of Charlie Parker does not work. All that Connolly is trying to achieve has been done before by other authors who are better at the mystery/ghost/horror genre than he is. The premise is creditable however you cannot help but feel as though there was a more complete story to tell and that what we are given is a rushed attempt at something different to appease the publishers. The ghostly island and the freakish characters fighting for both good and evil are unoriginal and given little scope for growth.
Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed Connolly's previous work but this fails to emulate the trials and tribulations of Charlie Parker.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By OEJ TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Jan 2007
Format: Paperback
Following on from the critically acclaimed Charlie Parker series Connolly presents us with his first stand-alone creepy thriller based in his favoured state of Maine, but off the mainland and on the fictitious island of Dutch (sometimes Sanctuary). Moloch is a man on a mission: after breaking out of prison in Virginia he sets off in search of his wife, who did a runner with their young son and his ill-gotten gains a few years earlier - but it's really only the cash that Moloch is after.

And that just about sums it up. Compared to the Parker series, this was a far less convoluted tale in which the baddies were not, ironically, particularly bad - at least not when you think of the other evil characters Connolly has created in the past - and we are left wanting for a truly interesting or exciting hero once we have got to know the island's police chief Joe Dupree. He's big in stature, at over seven feet, but he's not known as Melancholy Joe without good reason. Of course, there's a little more to it than all this, because the tale might not have been told at all but for the horrors that took place on Sanctuary some three centuries earlier. In essence, the ghosts of Sanctuary's past are here to wreak vengeance on Moloch and his associates as they close down on their prey one snow-filled windswept night in January.

If there's one familiar gripe I have with Connolly's style, and it's one I share across all of his preceding novels, it's his near exclusive use of guns as a tool of retribution against the bad guys, despite the recurring theme of the supernatural and contact between living and dead. In Bad Men, even the ghosts use guns! That I found plain silly, in what I considered to be a generally weak and hastily-written conclusion.
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