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"THE KILLING KIND" IS ANOTHER HOME RUN FOR JOHN CONNOLLY!!
on 31 July 2001
Since last January, when I read John Connolly's first novel, EVERY DEAD THING, I've quickly become an avid fan of his. His second book, DARK HOLLOW, confirmed my belief that here was an extremely talented writer who deserves a much larger "fan" base. Now, having read his third novel in the "Charlie 'Bird' Parker" series (since this hasn't been published in the United States yet, I had to purchase a British edition), I know that this is an author who's destined for the "bestseller" lists. He's simply that good! In THE KILLING KIND, Charlie Parker returns to investigate the death of a young college student, Grace Peltier, and her connection to a religious organization known as the Fellowship. It seems that she was writing a thesis on small group of religious zealots, the Aroostook Baptists, and their mysterious disappearance during the year of 1963. Her search for information led her to the Fellowship and its founder, Carter Paragon. Shortly there after, she was found in her car alongside a dirt road with a revolver in her hand, a bullet in her head, and a Bible at her side. Neither Grace's father, Curtis, or Jack Mercier, a friend of the family, believe that she committed suicide, and they want our New England P.I. to find the killer. As Charlie begins his investigation, however, a mass grave containing the skeletal remains of the Aroostook Baptists is accidentally discovered along a riverbank in northern Maine, and this also seems to be tied in somehow with the Fellowship. When Charlie starts to probe a little too deeply into the workings of this supposedly religious organization, Mr. Pudd (a man who's evil in every sense of the word and loves to kill his victims with deadly spiders) and his mute, female assistant are sent to warn him off the case. Since Charlie has never been one to heed the warnings of other people, he continues to plow ahead and soon people start dropping dead like flies around him. Even when Louis and Angel arrive to offer their help, they prove to be barely a match for our illusive Mr. Pudd and his mute partner in death. THE KILLING KIND delivers in much the same manner as Mr. Connolly's first two novels did. It has several plot lines coming from different directions that joined together into a very smoothly written, utterly satisfying ending. Both the familiar and new characters in the book ring true to the ear, especially the evil Mr. Pudd and the Jewish assassin known only as the Golem. Mr. Connolly has a remarkable skill in being able to create killers that stand out in ways other authors can only dream about. That's one the things that make this series so much fun to read. Another aspect is the main character of Charlie Parker. This is a unique individual trying to make amends for the life he's lived by righting the wrongs done to other people. It also helps that he has friends like Louis and Angel who aren't afraid of a little killing, if the situation calls for it. As the series continues to develop, Charlie and the love of his life, Rachel, are drawn closer and closer to each other, and there's a wonderful surprise on the last page of this novel that makes me eager to read THE WHITE ROAD when it's finally published. All in all, the three novels in the "Charlie Parker" series are fabulous reads that leave you wanting more. I suspect that like THE KILLING KIND, I will purchase his next book in a British edition, rather than wait one-to-two years for it to be published in the United States. The superb quality of his writing makes it well worth the trouble.