The Lovers by John Connolly

The Lovers by John Connolly Purchase:

    Connolly’s work is at once atmospheric, moody, dark and disturbing–yet compelling and hard to put down.

    New York Times best-selling author John Connolly writes a lyrical, haunting tale that turns to private investigator Charlie Parker’s hidden past… and a search that forces him to investigate all that he has ever believed true about his beloved parents – and himself.

    Stripped of his license, Parker takes a job in a Portland bar. Alone and directionless, he faces at last a shadow he has lived with since his childhood: what made his father, a respected police officer, apparently shoot dead two unarmed teens and then commit suicide. His quest leads him back to the little New York town where he grew up, to the mysterious history of the NYPD, and to the existence of secret friends and hidden enemies.

    And waiting in the shadows, as they have been throughout Charlie’s life, are a man and a woman with only one purpose: to bring an end to his very existence.

    Review by TMStyles:

    John Connolly
    John Connolly

    The Lovers is Connolly’s latest installment of his Charlie Parker series. For those loyal readers who have wondered about Charlie’s background and how it might relate and animate his life as a private investigator, paranormal sleuth, and magnet for supernatural enigmas, many answers and a few more questions appear and are examined in this very focused effort.

    The Lovers is a very personal examination of Parker’s background as he begins seeking the answers to festering questions about his past. It is different from past installments as most of Parker’s recurring characters and support network are reduced to cameos (much as he was in “The Reapers”) and it is left to Charlie to carry the storyline and action through his persistent and unrelenting investigation that seeks the truth to his father’s suicide after apparently killing a young couple who were not armed.

    Old wounds are reopened and new wounds are discovered–many of which ultimately explain some recurring elements in the Parker series and others which open new story lines. There may be very few signature characters in the thriller genre that are as complex, as powerful, yet as vulnerable as Charlie Parker. This reader is never disappointed in the complexity and the credibilty of Connolly’s plotting, detailed storylines, and breathless pacing.

    The author is a master of establishing mood and motivation through the psychological maneuverings of his characters and his readers. Connolly’s work is at once atmospheric, moody, dark and disturbing–yet compelling and hard to put down. His prose is sometimes so lyrical and so defining that I find myself rereading a sentence or paragraph just to marvel at his styling. He can establish mood, a sense of disquiet, peril, or supernatural unease with a few well turned phrases. And his ability to build suspense and an impending sense of doom that is almost palpable to the reader is extraordinary. I highly recommend this series to those attracted to intense, pyschologically intricate, suspense thrillers.

    Review by Bookreporter:

    It’s hard to classify or pigeonhole John Connolly. You could say he writes mysteries, or thrillers, or horror novels, and you would be right on all counts. He has this magnificent series of books featuring a private investigator named Charlie Parker, who has been doing a deadly dance with some frighteningly evil people for over a decade now. THE LOVERS is the ninth of these works — 10 if you want to count BAD MEN, on account of Parker’s brief cameo — and it shines new light on what has gone before while setting things up for future books in the series. It will also occasionally scare the heck out of you.

    Parker writes in a more literary style than most of his contemporaries, so that one is put in the mind of Dickens, Poe, or Collins when reading his books. However, Parker is very much in the here and now. When a character walks into a coffee shop and a CD by The Pixies is playing, there is no question you are in the 21st century. Much of THE LOVERS, however, concerns Parker’s past. He is at a low point as the novel opens, having lost his PI license, his concealed carry permit, and, as we will see, one of his best friends. Marking time by tending bar, he uses his involuntary retirement to begin an investigation into his own background.

    Parker’s father was a well-liked New York cop who murdered two teenagers in cold blood before taking his own life. Parker begins checking into the circumstances behind the killings, even as he initiates a query into his own parentage. What Parker finds is that everything he knows about himself is wrong, and that the people he knew as his parents, though flawed, were possessed in their separate ways with more strains of decency and charity than he ever could have guessed.

    Of more significance for Parker, however, is that from the moment of his conception — and before — he and those whom he loves have been pursued by a shadowy, seemingly indestructible couple obsessed with eradicating him. Worse, it appears that they are on the verge of making another run at him, one that seems to have every chance of succeeding. As always, Parker has allies; his friends Angel and Louis are there to help, as well as others, including two of the most important people in or out of Parker’s world.

    Connolly’s pacing throughout is exquisite, as Parker’s past is slowly revealed to him, and his true friends and enemies reveal themselves. Connolly is not hesitant to continue detonating a bombshell or two even after things are apparently brought to a close, so that your ears will still be ringing and your eyes watering long after you read the final paragraph.

    If you are new to Charlie Parker, THE LOVERS is a perfect place to jump on. You can spend the next year catching up on Connolly’s backlist in anticipation of the next installment. I am almost positive that I know where he is going with this, which means I probably will be wrong. One thing for sure, however, is that, as brilliant as he has been to date, Connolly is just warming up. Get that cardiac examination you’ve been putting off and jump on now.