I discovered John Connolly when I read "Bad Men" and the experience was extremely pleasant, so I decided that I had to read the books in the Charlie "Bird" Parker series. In this first installment I found a novel that blends the mystery and horror genders in a superb manner and that keeps you guessing on what will happen next. One of the aspects I enjoyed most was that the main character is not one of those good guys you see in most mystery novels, who are always working towards a good cause and have no negative feelings towards others. Charlie is more human than that, and this carries with it a desire for revenge that will not be quenched easily.
Why does he want revenge? Because his wife and three year-old daughter were brutally murdered and desecrated by a man that can only be considered a demon. Related to this event is that we see the author immerse the novel into the horror genre through the use of gory details about the murders by introducing a detail version of the police and autopsy reports. The descriptions are precise and Connolly does not pull any punches, going straight for a knockout of our endurance to take the effects of evil.
Charlie was a cop at the time of the murders and had a problem with alcohol, but after the terrible shock, he left the force, became a private eye, and quitted cold turkey. Seven months later he is working on a case involving dangerous guys, who use bullets that can go through body armor and have no qualms about killing anyone that crosses their path. Concomitantly, Charlie is in constant search of the killer of his family, and the fact that the monster contacts him, gives him greater strength to pursue his desire for revenge.
I like horror, so I have no problems with reading about the gruesome aspects of the murders described in the novel, but I understand that some people may not feel comfortable with these, so be aware of this aspect. The novel that starts this series also has a nice pace, which is helped by the constant switching back and forth between the two cases Parker is involved in. You will also get a few twists that will keep you on your toes until the conclusion. Overall, it is a book that left me eager to keep reading about this fascinating character and move along with this series.