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on 30 July 2009
It is time...yes my friends, time to rise, time to stand up and say proudly...."I like horror". Yes there will be those who mock, those who will cast you out. They will attack you with their vampire romance but you must be strong. To test your faith, I have a task for you. Go to your nearest bookshop, enter the crime section (no-one said it would be easy) and find John Connolly's books. Then you must move them, one by one and carefully place them in the horror section (if you can find it) and if anyone moves them back you must persist and return them to the horror section once again. Should you be challenged in your task, by a well meaning staff member perhaps, say only these words.."it's a horror novel".

You see, without wishing to cause civil unrest in your local Borders (although come to think of it, that might be fun) there is a serious point to be made here. John Connolly is one of my favourite authors and the reason I like him so much is that he injects his crime novels with a fair old dose of supernatural adrenalin. His writing has an edge, a darkness, it's on the borderlands but with The Lovers Connolly has crossed over to the darkside. The supernatural elements don't remain in the background here they are at the forefront, indeed without the spectre of the occult this book could not exist.

Charlie Parker is John Connolly's hero, a troubled, even broken man, his history is one filled with blood, death and loss. The previous books have detailed some of this history but have left several large boulders unturned. The Lovers fills in a few of these blanks and in particular the mystery surrounding the death of Parker's father. Why a seemingly mild mannered family man and respected police officer shot two, apparently innocent young people and then took his own life. I can't go into any detail without spoiling the book for you, suffice to say the answer explains much of the supernatural elements that have lurked in the pages of the previous books.

A word of caution though, if you are new to Charlie Parker then please start at the beginning and work your way to this book. Start at Every Dead Thing and read them chronologically, yes you could probably read them out of sequence but if you do you won't get the full sense of mystery, the subtle hints at something deeper. Without that history this book would be much weaker as it is though it is an immense achievement, tying up several loose ends in dramatic and unexpected fashion whilst at the same time unravelling a few other areas of mystery which will no doubt lead us deeper down the supernatural rabbit hole (I can't wait).

So highly recommended this is the book which finally gets to the soul of Charlie Parker and does it with style, inventiveness, vivid characterisation and beautiful prose. In my mind Connolly keeps getting better with each book and seems to be getting the rewards he deserves in terms of sales (currently No4 in Tesco Book charts just ahead of Michael Jackson: Life Of A legend!). So, on second thoughts, maybe we shouldn't upset the applecart, leave the public to appreciate the nuances and skill of a great horror writer, even if they do think they are reading a crime novel.
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on 7 July 2009
As a long time fan of John Connolly's writing I was slightly disappointed by his last book "The Reapers", as I felt that it lacked the prose style of his previous books whilst also employing a slightly tired plot scenario. I am happy to say that no such concerns can be raised over the "The Lovers".

Plot-wise, it tells the story of why Charlie Parker's father inexplicably murdered two teenagers before taking his own life when Charlie Parker was a 16 year old boy. This investigation into the past is neatly woven together with contemporary events.

Stylistically, some of the wirting is excellent and is of a standard that if the subject matter were different would place John Connollly's writing in the category of "literature". Happily such boundaries are increasingly blurred so we get to enjoy excellent prose in a contemporary crime thriller.

In summary this really was the most enjoyable read I have had for a time (and I pile through 2-3 books a week),. It is a definite return to top form for John Connolly.
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VINE VOICEon 25 July 2009
... but this book fell a bit short.

Don't get me wrong, I am a massive JC fan. Read all his books, been to book signings etc. This is up to his usual high standards of style of prose and easy reading. But I just didn't get the story... it was like a character background on Parker, with a bit of the supernatural as background - but it just didn't have the impact of the Killing Kind/Dark Hollow - and felt a bit contrived as a result.

One of the other reviewers probably put their finger on it. This is one for the fans, and is a "filler" for me before his next great story appears. After The Gates, it is "The Whispers" - hopefully that will be back to greatness!
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I bought this book in haste, confusing the author with Michael Connolly, whose books I have read and enjoyed. For the first half I was still under this illusion, but then the supernatural appeared and I knew I had made a mistake. At this point I was tempted to stop, as horror is not my preferred genre, but the writing style was reasonable and the supernatural element did not intrude too much on what was a good plot about a former NYPD cop, Charlie Parker, who is trying to find the truth behind why his father, also a New York policeman, had shot and killed two apparently innocent young people and then committed suicide. But as the book progressed, the `ghosties' played a much more central role and I began to ask questions: why were these evil spirits so determined to kill Parker; why did they have to kill so many others to find out his whereabouts; and why did they kill using mundane earth-bound methods such guns and knives, when they had supernatural powers they could have used? Although I continued to the end and the climax, some time before this I had lost any real interest.
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on 11 October 2009
I'm a big John Connolly fan and was left slightly disappointed by his last one so I approached this with trepidation.

I needn't have worried. This is a complete return to form with all the detective and supernatural elements that you would expect from a John Connolly book and even more interesting because it digs in to Parker's back story rather than the story of the journey we've been on with him.

Angel and Louis don't feature highly in this and I would have thought that I would have missed their presence but the story was intriguing enough without them.

A fabulous, well written, gripping and intriguing book - Dan Brown would do well to read it!
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on 12 March 2010
You really do need to read the Charlie Parker books in sequence and when you do ... you get the full picture. It's amazing how much information one 'fictitious' character can give away by his actions, his investigations, his memories and his emotions! Charlie Parker is is so real and in this book he grabs the reader's attention with his need to go back into his childhood to find out why his father killed two apparently unarmed harmless teenagers. Full of supernatural threats and very physical beings out to get him, this is a riveting read - one I thoroughly enjoyed.

More please!
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on 3 February 2016
one of the reviewers here has suggested moving these books into the Horror section, rather than continuing to let them masquerade as crime novels. yes please!!! i was outraged to find i had purchased, not a crime thriller with supernatural overtones like dean koontz in his heyday, but instead a straight horror about evil demons (from where?) serially invading human bodies ( how?) in order to massacre large numbers of people (why?) by brutal methods such as flaying-alive-by-razor-blade. nearly everyone in this nasty book meets this end, AND YET no questions are actually answered, as they must be in crime novels, about who, what, where, why, etc. it looks instead like one will have to read not only the previous books in the series, but the upcoming books as well, in order to come close to answering these questions. not being a horror fan i do not know if this kind of cheating is the norm, but i found it disgraceful, as well as disgusting.

i will say however, & i have given him an extra star for it, that the author writes well: literately & atmospherically. not well enough for me to start reading horror, but still it's rather a shame that someone with this fair amount of talent cannot come up with a proper story.
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on 6 August 2009
I really rate John Connolly as a thriller writer and have read and enjoyed all of his Charlie parker series. I have to say, though it pains me to do so, that this isn't one of his best efforts and left me a tad disappointed. I've always been intrigued to find out the reason behind the death of Charlie's father and the answer was well worth waiting for. I think the book falls down, not on plot but on pace - I just found it a bit slow at times.
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on 20 January 2014
This is part of a series of books that follows the lives of some very intriguing characters. It stands up well in the series and as a read alone book as sufficient back ground is covered throughout the story. I am a reader of such series as those written be Koontz, King and James Lee Burke and the series by Connolly stands shoulder to shoulder with them.
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on 16 July 2009
I saw John Connolly last night (he's more like a stand up comedian than an author- an amazingly funny guy) and got quite an insight into this book:

Unlike other authors he's not on contract so there isn't a new Parker being banged out every 12 months and he stated that unlike his friend Lee Child he doesn't want to write stand alone books, but rather develop a narrative that explains much of Parkers past and those of his supporting characters. Some books matter less than others (like the Reapers) but 'The lovers' is an important one focusing on the circumstances of a double murder carried out by Parkers father (who subsequently killed himself). He hinted that he has an idea where the series will ultimately end up so it IS heading for a conclusion... sometime.

I don't know how to summarise the plot of the lovers without spoiling it.... in fact I WON'T summarise it because I WILL spoil it. All Parker fans need know is that its superb. If you've liked the previous ones you'll love this. Connnolly took a lot of advice from an ex NYPD beat cop who worked the 9th precinct from the late 60's to early 80's so much of this book is based on fact but mixed with Connolly's unique blend of horror, mystery and the supernatural.

As of 16/7/09 there's a new stand alone book 'the Gates' due out in Oct about a boy who discovers his neighbours are opening the gates of hell in their basement. The exert I heard was hilarious and as it seems Connolly is babk on top form I'll be advance ordering it.
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