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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the eerie town of Prosperous and a much more ordinary Charlie Parker.
Twelfth in the Charlie Parker series and certainly different from the previous novels.

If you haven't read the previous 11 novels don't worry too much. The Wolf in Winter works well as a stand alone, a one off, and any ties connecting it to the rest of the series are well explained and easy to follow.

I'm surprised. John Connolly has stripped away...
Published 4 months ago by JK

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Very diasappointing
I was a big Charlie Parker fan but there's no doubt these books are going off the boil. I don't think any character can survive twelve books without developing quite radically and nothing's happened for about four books now except Sam's not a baby any more. Also she's doing that enigmatic-small-child-who-has-wisdom-beyond-her-years-thing, which is just irritating...
Published 1 month ago by Jacquie Webb


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the eerie town of Prosperous and a much more ordinary Charlie Parker., 18 April 2014
By 
JK "Julie K." (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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Twelfth in the Charlie Parker series and certainly different from the previous novels.

If you haven't read the previous 11 novels don't worry too much. The Wolf in Winter works well as a stand alone, a one off, and any ties connecting it to the rest of the series are well explained and easy to follow.

I'm surprised. John Connolly has stripped away much of Parker's personality and he's become quite changed. Gone is the trademark surreal, mega violent PI and in has walked a much older, thoughtful, intelligent man. Parker's become almost 'ordinary'. The original themes of his living between two worlds (after the horrific murder of his wife and child tore him apart) are almost airbrushed out . As for the villains, well, they're an odd bunch but they're a long way from the demonically vile creatures who usually stalk Parker's world.

So what's going on?. I suppose Parker has to make the transformation from hot headed, grief and rage fuelled young man into an older, seasoned and experienced character if he's going to remain believable. The Charlie Parker I know shows up from time to time, not until the latter half of the novel, until then he's almost a guest in his own story and remains in the shadows along with Louis and Angel.

The lead character in this novel isn't what you might expect. It's a place. A small, overlooked and decidedly eerie town named Prosperous. What Connolly fails to deliver through Parker he more than makes up for with his slow, meticulous scene setting. He creates Prosperous, it's people and history, so well it comes to life and that's not always a pleasant experience. There are some wonderful horror and supernatural elements worked into the story through Prosperous where secrets aren't the only things struggling to remain buried. What's that creature over there and why is it digging?

I particularly enjoyed the themes around the ancient church of Prosperous. Is that a place really fit for worship?.

Without giving anything away I will say that the way Parker is drawn into the mystery of Prosperous, and the cast of characters who lead him to it, is one of the strongest parts of the novel. Some great characterisation there.

Once Parker becomes fully involved in the investigation to discover the fate of a young woman, former addict and rough sleeper, the novel take a more usual journey and the action picks up. There's the usual fraught phone calls to Rachel and the uncertainty around having a child living so far away. Nice little snippets of information come and go which reflect Parker's ability to feel emotion and help the reader bond with him.

The Wolf in Winter is a decent read, a brilliant read in parts, but; for the first time in the series I struggled to get into the story. I wasn't hooked until about a quarter of the way through and then found myself drifting out of the plot only to be yanked back in when Mr Connolly began to hit his stride. The Wolf in Winter is much more about the story and creating a sense of mystery than it is about showcasing Parker and his buddies, particularly in the first half, and I hadn't anticipated the change.

Is it worth reading?. Absolutely yes. I'm a fan of Mr Connolly and Charlie Parker has been my favourite fictional character for too long but; I wouldn't be truthful if I told you The Wolf in Winter is the best book in the series. It's not. That fantastically surreal landscape of nightmare characters and haunting visions has disappeared. I missed it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best series out there at the moment. No doubt., 10 April 2014
By 
Liz Wilkins "Lizzy11268" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker Thriller) (Hardcover)
Thank you kindly to Ellie Cheele for arranging the copy via Netgalley. You are now one of my favourite people!

The community of Prosperous, Maine has always thrived when others have suffered. Its inhabitants are wealthy, its children’s future secure. It shuns outsiders. It guards its own. And at the heart of the Prosperous lie the ruins of an ancient church, transported stone by stone from England centuries earlier by the founders of the town . . .
Charlie Parker has been marked to die so that Prosperous may survive.

First things first – if you have not yet started this series then LOOK AWAY NOW there may be minor spoilers ahead for previous novels (very minor but still!) and also – on top of that – if you HAVENT read them then why the heck not? Off you go. Every Dead Thing is where you start..

So we come to “The Wolf in Winter”. At the end of the previous book the murky relationship between Charlie and The Collector hit dangerous territory..and life for all my favourite characters was about to get more interesting. And deadly. As we open, the aftershocks of previous events resonate and thats before our Mr Parker comes to the notice of the inhabitants of a town called Prosperous…

I find these books quite difficult to review if I’m honest. When I review Stephen King I often want to shout “JUST READ IT its brilliant what else do you need to know?” And I could easily apply that to all the works of Mr Connolly, most especially this particular series. And this instalment has left me traumatised, desperate for more, completely out of breath and absolutely in awe. Of the writing, of the depth of the mythology he has created here, at the sheer stunning emotional resonance of the people that inhabit that world. I have rarely come across such depth of character – so deep that you really do feel you know them all. I often have the feeling, that should somebody evil do something nasty to me, that Charlie, Louis and Angel would track them to the ends of the earth. That is how real they become during the reading…

Prosperous is a scary place indeed. And once more Charlie and co will encounter the worst that the world has to offer and will not look away. It may be my favourite one yet for pure adrenalin rush – but to get into the plot too deeply is to spoil it indeed and I’m not going to do that. And some of you have a long way to go before you get here..

The supernatural elements aside, there is always more to these than meets the eye, they are terrifically well constructed novels that MUST be read in order to fully appreciate the Russian Doll quality of the the progression…one piece of information leading to the next, past acts echoing through present events..and always right at the heart and soul of it sits Private Detective Charlie Parker. Both his light and his darkness, his morality and his struggle with it. A truly amazing creation surrounded by other truly amazing creations, all making up a truly magnificent reading experience.

I have always said that Stephen King is the best writer out there (for me) and I tag myself as a SK fanatic. Because I am. The Wolf in Winter however means that I am now, officially, a John Connolly fanatic also. No doubt. Does he have an end game in mind for Mr Parker? I don’t want to know lest it destroy me…

Read it. Live it. Love it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and so the long wait begins (again), 11 April 2014
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I always await the release of the latest addition to the Charlie Parker story with a mix of anticipation and worry, so no difference this time round, Anticipation because it is now far and away my favourite continuous series, and worry because I can never quite bring myself to believe that John Connolly will be able to sustain the magic; we are 12 books into this series now for crying out loud! Where my biggest fears stem from is that in my opinion, and uniquely amongst writers of continuous series like these, John Connolly peaked with his first offering in the series. Every Dead Thing is an epic piece of writing, it's scale and beauty unparalleled in modern literature, so how can a writer fail to disappoint with everything that he produces in its wake? I have no idea how, but disappoint he does not. I have given this review, as with most of his books a five star rating, yes it really is that good, but to put this in context I would give Every Dead Thing a six (or a seven). I am glad that this book keeps up the sense of menace and threat which has been growing of late, and cranks this up another notch, as this suggests to me that we are nearing a conclusion of sorts, a final showdown between Charlie and the now more visible backers, akthough where I will get my fix from when this series ultimately ends I do not know. We get a real sense that Parker and his protectors are ageing, that they now sense their own mortality more acutely, and the unholy trinity of Parker, Louis and Angel are becoming more philosophical (though no less lethal). I am glad that the uncomfortably symbiotic relationship between Parker and the Collector looks to be restored, as I was worried about the loss of this following the ending of The Wraith of Angels (and even more so after the first few pages of this story), and there are some nice touches for some of the more peripheral characters (closure of sorts for Ronald Straydeer), as the clever interweaving of these characters has always been a strength of this series for me. Like with any series I can't help but enjoy some of the books more than others, and in my personal pecking order this has instantl elevated itself to third place after just one reading, I will be reading it again more slowly very soon, and this shows me just how strong this series continues to be. I always find it hard to write reviews without dropping clumsy spoilers, I apologise for the minor spoilers in this, so to finish this I will just state my honest opinion that this is a fantastic read, well up to John Connolly's usual (extremely) high standards, and I am craving my next fix already. As with any series don't start with this book, you will be denying yourself the chance of a fantastic back story, go back to Every Dead Thing and find out what makes Charlie Parker tick, if you are a John Connolly fan and have not bought/read this yet, what are you waiting for? Take my advice though and book a day off work, or start it on a weekend, or you'll be up until stupid o'clock finishing it like I was. Outstanding.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very diasappointing, 24 Jun 2014
I was a big Charlie Parker fan but there's no doubt these books are going off the boil. I don't think any character can survive twelve books without developing quite radically and nothing's happened for about four books now except Sam's not a baby any more. Also she's doing that enigmatic-small-child-who-has-wisdom-beyond-her-years-thing, which is just irritating.

On the face of it there does seem to be evidence that Charlie might be changed by the next book, but it had better be damn good. What happened to him being a fallen angel constantly being reborn as penance? Great storyline but it just fizzled to nothing. Have the Backers been mentioned before, or Campion? I can't remember which isn't a good sign.

I was really disappointed with the ending of this story. What exactly was the thing in the ground? I'm assuming it was a malevolent pagan earth spirit which fed on blood spilt violently, but why did it only seem to need to be fed every few decades or so and how did it know which people to protect?Where did it come from? Did the Familists bring it over with them from England,did they just stumble on it by accident in the New World, or did they conjure it with magical spells? How did it get killed off so easily? Why did it let the wolf have the deer? What was the purpose of the wolf anyway, and Ronald and the tragic story of Elsa? I started to put my English teacher hat on and tried to see parallels with the canine imagery, loss, betrayal etc, then remembered that I read these books for escapism and pleasure and if I have to start searching for metaphors and themes then it's stopped being fun to read and is just more work.

I think it's time for Charlie to take the Long Ride.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Connolly continues to weave a spell!, 5 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker Thriller) (Hardcover)
There is something spell-binding about John Connolly's writing, something that keeps me reading. He can give you a sense of place you can almost taste and feel - Prosperous, he makes a seriously scary place. His characterisations are superb, showing the multiple cracks and sides of personalities. Charlie Parker has matured, less violent and divided perhaps, more mature and vulnerable. Connolly keeps the reader guessing, he doesn't allow a lazy read either, linking the story back to others made me want to reread them all. the supernatural element continues, less of the fallen angel idea that I liked which is a pity but then there is always the next Charlie Parker to look forward to. I notice other writers have taken up this supernatural/unworldly idea, particularly enjoyed a new writer's take on it - Deadly Sleep by Sam East is certainly one to read and a writer to watch for the future. However nobody can do it like John Connolly. I've bought The Wolf in Winter on my Kindle but, as with other John Connolly novels, I will also be buying a paperback!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new working on "The Green Man", 26 April 2014
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Even though Charlie Parker, Angel, Louis et al appear in this book. They are only on the periphery of the story. This is the story of Prosperous, a town and it's people. JC has taken the story of an English Cult and extrapolated it to Maine. Having been brought up on these stories as a child, it wasn't new to me and it was like meeting an old friend unexpectedly.
Having said that. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and guiltily wished that "spoiler" the Chief would survive, but of course he too was infected.
I agree with other reviewers; Charlie Parker had to stop and change somehow. The violence was getting out of hand.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Lacklustre for once, 17 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker Thriller) (Hardcover)
Always well written but a great disappointment in this case. Connelly has set the bar high with his previous Charlie Parker books and is evidently finding it hard to take it any higher. This book was very lacklustre compared to previous Parker stories and it almost seemed as though Connelly had lost interest in the character. I hope that's not the case as any new John Connelly/Charlie Parker book is an event in our household. I'll await the next in the series before bringing down the curtain on this most fantastic series of novels.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A new Parker, 20 April 2014
By 
Colin Murtagh "Colin Murtagh" (Rotherham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker Thriller) (Hardcover)
I'm in two minds about this, I do love my Charlie Parker books, they are amongst the best on the market, but this one just seems to be missing a certain something. To be fair, it's still better than 95% of stuff on the market, but it feels to me more like a place holder. There's a few loose strings tied up, which seems to be incidental to the main story, which gives me the impression that this is a clearing of the decks. I'm wondering if this is the start of something new, a new chapter for Parker, hence the loose ends being tied up.

The ending in particular is disappointing. There's a slow build up to what should be a climatic finale, which, to be honest, goes like a damp squib, it's too rushed, and too anti-climatic.

Saying that, there's still flashes of the old brilliance, Angel and Louis are on top form, and there's times Parker shows just how he's changed, and matured over the series.

not the best book of the series, but hopefully, a prequel to something new starting up for Charlie
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank goodness for John Connolly!, 14 April 2014
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Having recently read at least three boring British based police books , this one
was a breath of fresh air.
For those who have read some of his work , Angel and Louis are up to their usual
( good works ) and Charlie not so much.
As is standard for Connolly , an unusual story line , excellently written .
Five stars without a doubt !
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4.0 out of 5 stars A BRIDGE?, 31 July 2014
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Thoroughly enjoyed this novel, as I knew I would because you can always rely on John Connolly to deliver. Did have a bit of a feeling that this one is a bit of a bridge though- taking the story to its logical conclusion... Will thirteen be the big finale? Quite excited to find out, hurry up n write it please, John!
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The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker Thriller)
The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker Thriller) by John Connolly (Hardcover - 10 April 2014)
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