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Dark Hollow: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 2
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2007
Charlie Parker isn't a lucky man. A simple job of getting child maintenance for a client turns into a hunt for a killer that's linked to an old lady's fear of a man called Caleb Kyle and pile of money that a lot of people are eager to get there hands on. It's a mess that Charlie can't avoid stepping in.

Connolly puts you in the action from the very first page as he sets up the events that snowball throughout Dark Hollow. The plotting is tighter than a washing line on a windy day. Just when you think you know what is going on the action snaps in another direction.

Added to that, Connolly is a well read and intelligent writer who doesn't shy away from the details and doesn't dumb down for the reader. This can make for a challenging read, not because it's complicated in anyway, it's more the depths of darkness he descends as he explores the more disturbing parts of human nature.

Parker's world isn't one you'd see on your average cop show on TV. It's one where you kill or be killed and that's another thing that is different about Connolly's detective. He isn't pure and greater than the criminals. He's only just about on the right moral side.

This first person-tale is well worth reading. I'd suggest reading Every Dead Thing first as it explains why Parker is so haunted by the dead and what fuels his actions.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 December 2005
With an opening line signaling devilish doings, "I dream dark dreams," Irish thrillersmith John Connolly launches his second suspenseful tale featuring New York policeman turned private investigator Charlie Parker. Connolly copped the 2000 Shamus Award for his debut, "Every Dead Thing." "Dark Hollow" assures readers that he deserved it.
Unable to set aside the murders of his wife and daughter, a haunted Parker returns to his hometown of Scarborough, Maine. Rather than finding solace in the northeast woods Parker is faced with a series of seemingly unrelated mysteries and a terrifying sociopathic mobster, Tony Celli.
Oddly enough the current series of murders are remarkably akin to 40-year-old killings - crimes that Parker's grandfather spent most of his life trying to solve. What is the connection between today's violence and killings almost half a century old?
Author Connolly pulls out all the stops with this highly readable, almost surreal tale involving mysterious forces lurking in the wilderness, and a long buried past seemingly rising from the grave. Connolly's an ace at creating menacing characters and shiver producing climes.
- Gail Cooke
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2010
This book has much going for it - atmosphere, a fairly good plot, gruesomeness, characterisations, good writing. The pacing is quite good and were it not for this, I would have abandoned the book half-way. The book needs to be heavily edited, there are numerous self-indulgent cul-de-sacs in areas where Parker, the hero, has loved and lost and thus we are regaled with this annoying wallowing in regret which is not related to the plot - needless focus on the love interest - two paragraphs would have sufficed, but there areas where about ten pages go into exhaustive detail of a failed love affair.

The rest of the book, well; what can I say, it's a great thriller.

Let me make things really clear, I enjoyed the book; but there were points when I felt like throwing out of the window of the bus on which I was travelling.

Another point worthy of note is that this book predates Wallander by almost twenty years; another detective plagued by personal demons and who only finds relief in unravelling a gruesome crime. I am hooked on Wallander and I guess that is the reason why, at the end of the day, I like this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2001
I actually stumbled on to this book and author by mistake as I was looking for Michael Connolly and picked this up in haste. Boy, am I glad I did!!! I was immediately hooked by John Connolly's style of writing and the interwoven humour reminded me of one of my favourite author's, Sue Grafton. His content is much darker but still has a great style to it and an ease of reading that I look for. I'm now half-way through "The Killing Kind" which has my heart racing as I read it. I must go back and read his first novel "Every Dead Thing" as I am now completely hooked. I simply don't know how I'm going to wait until the release of his fourth novel!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2011
"I dream of a figure moving through the forest, of children flying from his path, of young women crying at his coming. I dream of snow and ice, of bare branches and moon-cast shadows. I dream of dancers floating in the air, stepping lightly even in death, and my own pain is but a faint echo of their suffering as I run. My blood is black on the snow, and the edges of the world are silvered with moonlight. I run into the darkness, and he is waiting.

I dream in black and white, and I dream of him.

I dream of Caleb, who does not exist, and I am afraid."

Charlie Parker, almost a year after the murder of his family, is trying to find peace. He has returned to Maine where he spent his youth and has moved into his Grandfathers old house in Scarborough with the intention of doing it up. Unfortunately he doesn't get very much done as before long he is drawn into the hunt for the killer of another mother and child. The obvious suspect is the woman's violent estranged husband.

But there is another possibility - his grandfather (a policeman) was haunted by a shocking series of unsolved murders in the area, the perpetrator was meant to be the monster known as Caleb Kyle. As the decades past Kyle sank into the mythology of Dark Hollow only to be resurrected by tired mothers as the bogey man used to scare errant children. "Caleb Kyle, Caleb Kyle, when you see him run a mile"

Far to the north an elderly lady, from a nursing home, is found wandering in the snowy woods saying she has seen Caleb Kyle...

There is a whole different atmosphere to this book, from EDT, it feels sinister, forbidding and very gothic! The intensely visual descriptions of a freezing winter in Maine, drip with a dark, brooding menace. I felt cold the whole time I was reading it!

As the author says:

"I wanted to use the Maine landscape, the changing of the seasons, the cycles of nature, to illuminate the novel. The book is filled with images of predatory nature and, combined with the onset of winter; I hope gives the book some of its power."

It is a genuinely haunting, dark and unsettling read but Connolly's lyrical writing, almost mystical in parts, make it a breathtaking experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2001
I commented on the first book in the series - though this one, Dark Hollow, was the first one I read - the imagery on the front cover having captivated my attention. After having read the 2nd before the 1st I'm now on my way to read the 2nd again so I've read them in order - while awaiting the paperback of the 3rd to come out. And reading everyone else's reviews on this book? Well a lot of people seem to agree that Angel and Louis could have a book of their own - so Mr C - its up to you but maybe the depth of public opinion will give you every incentive to produce more wonderful writing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2001
In John Connolly's second edition to the "Charlie 'Bird' Parker" series, DARK HOLLOW, our ghost-seeing, guilt-ridden P.I. returns to track down a serial killer that his grandfather once hunted. It began thirty-six years before when six young women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two disappeared in northern Maine during the months from April to October. Charlie's grandfather, Bob Warren, assisted in the search for the missing girls, but to no avail...that is, until a mysterious stranger steps into a bar one night and tells him to search the Sebec Lake area. The next day, five of the missing women are found hanging naked from the same oak tree. The stranger's name was Caleb Kyle, and he was never seen again. Three decades later, Charlie Parker is asked by an old friend, Rita Ferris, to help collect some back child support from her ex-husband, Billy Purdue. A few days afterward, she and her infant child are found murdered and Billy is the natural suspect. It sounds like an open-and-shut case. The only problem is that Billy has vanished, and it seems like everybody in New England is now after him. The local and state police want him for murder. Tony Celli, a member of the Boston mob, thinks that Billy stole two million dollars of his money and will do whatever it takes to get it back. Next in line are two very evil, cold-blooded assassins who want to get their hands on the missing money so that they can retire in style. Last, but not least, is Charlie Parker. Charlie believes that Billy might be innocent and that quite possibly Caleb Kyle has returned from a long absence to finally start killing again. Our New England P.I. will eventually find himself up against the most vicious killers he has ever encountered, and Death will be waiting around the corner, hoping that he'll make just one mistake. Even with the help of his friends, Louis and Angel, he may not survive the cost required to find the answers he's seeking and to finally finish what his grandfather once wanted to do-kill Caleb Kyle! In DARK HOLLOW, Mr. Connolly has written a truly magnificent follow-up to EVERY DEAD THING. It's been almost a year since The Traveling Man murdered Charlie's wife and daughter. The emotional pain and sense of guilt are still with Charlie (as well as the ability to see the dead and hear their cries for retribution), but he now has a new purpose in life. His one desire is to fight for those who are unable to defend themselves; and, thereby, to make amends for the death of his family and for the violence he has inadvertently brought to those closest to him. Charlie understands that there can be no salvation for him, but maybe he can obtain reparation by helping the weak and innocent, and by killing those who would prey upon them. Charlie "Bird" Parker is a richly drawn character that boldly comes to life and submerges the reader into his world of sorrow and revenge. No super hero, he gets beat-up, tortured, and barely survives as he bull-headedly plows along in search of the truth. The truth, however, isn't always what we think it will be, and sometimes the price for it is higher than we're willing to pay. The characters of Louis and Angel are still as strong this time around. Though criminals in their own right, they also have a moral code of honor and are more than willing to put their own lives on the line to help Charlie Parker because they know he's doing the right thing. Mr. Connolly also has a unique gift for creating characters that reek of pure evil and can cause goose bumps to rise on the arms of the reader. The characters of Caleb Kyle and the assassin known only as Stritch, literally gave me the shivers. These are the personification of evil and match Charlie's goodness deed for deed. DARK HOLLOW is a powerful, multi-layered novel that will chill you to the bone. That it works successfully on a number of different levels is a credit to Mr. Connolly's talent as a writer. He's able to juggle several plot lines without losing pace or confusing the reader, converging them into an electrifying ending that leaves a person wanting more. This is an author who deserves to be heard by those who love action-packed, breath-taking novels! Read EVERY DEAD THING first, then get a copy of DARK HOLLOW. After that, you'll be ready for his newest novel, THE KILLING KIND.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2001
My main complaint about the author's previous novel, Every Dead Thing, was that he tried to cram too many events into a single book. Wherever Charlie "Bird" Parker went, people died, or other forms of action unfolded. At first this was merely annoying, but soon became so outlandish it was farcical. As the greats of crime fiction such as Chandler, Hammett and later writers like Michael Connelly, and James Elroy have proved that you do not need a death every 10-20 pages to write a great crime novel, or to keep readers interested.
I am pleased to report that Dark Hollow is a definite improvement in all areas. Bird remains an intriguing character and as other reviewers have noted, Angel & Louis are superb and could grace books of their own, should the author so choose. All the book's characters are distinctly human and all have their own individual personalities. Walter Cole, although a very small character in the actual story plays a much larger role in the book by the effects of his animosity towards Bird.
The plot is still full of twists and turns, but I think it would be even better had the author not included the mob involvement in the book. Without that, the plot although simpler could have been better as the author could have spent more time on the mythology / history of Caleb Kyle. Paradoxically, by simplifying it in this manner, the plot could have become more complex.
If John Connolly continues to improve then his next book, The Killing Kind will definitely be worth waiting for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2000
Having read the reviews of this novel on Amazon as well as the reviews of his first novel I was expecting a cracking read. I'm afraid I was disappointed in the end. Whilst I liked the Parker character I began to find his endless grieving over the events of the first novel ever more tiresome as the book progressed. I felt there was little actual new plot and when I reached the conclusion my reaction was 'Well, was that it?'. I had hoped that a gripping and interesting story would reveal itself, but it never did. Just an average serial killer plot padded out with the Parker character trying to come to terms with his earlier loss. Bright spots were the Angel and Luis characters, gay hit-men with hearts of gold. Nice touch, more of them next time and less maudlin insight please.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2011
Second in the Charlie Prker series and the promise of the first (Every Dead Thing) is well borne out. Main plot is the intersection between Parker backtracking the life of a deadbeat on the run with a serial killer's search for his son. It's a good against evil tale, elevated from cliche by Connolly's sheer wriritng ability and eye for detail. Throw in the complementary storylines (good contract killer versus bad contract killers, mafiosi on the hunt for stolen millions) and there's enough here for a couple of novels.

Strong, bloody writing, read it as a powerful thriller. Add elements of a morality play and it's even better. John Connolly has set out a strong stall and, you'll be glad to klnow, keeps up the standard in later novels.
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