Recent years have seen a flurry of horror writers crossing over to the mystery genre--Peter Straub, Dan Simmons and Kristin Kathryn Rusch are three--but little movement has occurred in the opposite direction. Mysteries are where the commercial action is. When John Connolly, an Irish journalist, burst upon the scene in Great Britain in 1999 with the bestselling Every Dead Thing
(it later won the Shamus award for Best First Private Eye Novel when published in the States), it would not have been unfair to describe what he was offering as "horror". However, "shock noir" is probably a better way of describing such a grab-you-by-the-eyelashes thriller, with its high body count and inventively grisly methods of dispatching hapless victims.
Connolly--who seems unconcernedly to be trespassing on Stephen King territory in Dark Hollow, with its Maine setting and echoes of background atrocities--actually brings to mind a slightly different hybridisation of horror and mystery: you might say it's Wilkie Collins re-tooled by James Ellroy. Lurking in his pages is more than a faint whiff of the Victorian triple-decker, with all its gothic complexities, while, at the same time, punctuating the plot are grotesque and excessive acts of sadism of a wholly modern sort that will cause some readers indignantly to close the book.
The trouble is, by doing that they miss a richly ripe, closely textured tale. Connolly's series character, ex-NYPD detective Charlie "Bird" Parker, is a man with a lot of pain to surmount--his wife and child were murdered in Every Dead Thing--but he's also a dogged knight errant attuned to the pain felt by others. In Dark Hollow, his quest for the truth is a twisty one, but he stays the course, and so should you. --Otto Penzler, Amazon.com
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Classic American detective fiction . . . and of a very high order (Bernard Cornwell, Mail on Sunday
Connolly's evocative prose and sharp one-liners make it oddly akin to poetry (Independent
Despite the gore, this second novel is subtler and more complex than the best-selling EVERY DEAD THING. Connolly's lyrical language and occasional mystical passages are reminiscent of James Lee Burke. His hero . . . is developing into a credible and sympathetic personality (Sunday Telegraph
. . . a dark sense of foreboding from the opening pages should will and chill Connolly's considerable fan-base through this second novel at great pace. . . Killer imagery is his secret weapon (Sunday Business Post
DARK HOLLOW is a frightening, disturbing and brutal tale interspersed with great moments of dark humour (Yorkshire Evening Press
Connolly is not an easy author to pigeonhole. He is his own man: an original and exuberant story-teller, as he proves once more with this enjoyable book (Scotland on Sunday
Atmospheric, compulsive and deeply upsetting, [DARK HOLLOW] mark(s) the appearance of a writer whose star is most definitely in the ascendancy (Manchester Metro