Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Burning Soul

by John Connolly
A Charlie Parker thriller
Pocket Books Fiction - 2012
474 pages - 9,99 $
Why that book

Another book I've bought at the QuebeCrime festival last October, where I met John Connolly but was not able to get his autograph! 


There are some truths so terrible that they should not be spoken aloud. Here is one of those truths: after three hours, the abduction of a child is routinely treated as a homicide.

When a girl disappears from a small Maine town, her neighbor - a recluse named Randall Haight - starts receiving anonymous letters that contain tormenting references to a different teenage girl, murdered long ago. For many years, Randall has kept a secret: when he was fourteen, he was convicted of killing that girl. Now, his former life has returned to haunt him, and he hires private detective Charlie Parker to make it go away. But in a town built on blood and shadowed by old ghosts, where too many of the living are hiding secrets, the past cannot be dismissed so easily. As Parker unravels a twisted, violent history involving a doomed mobster and his enemies, the police, and the FBI, his search returns again and again to Randall Haight. Because Randall is still telling lies. . . .

What I think of it

I read other readers's opinion about that book in Goodreads after reading a few pages which were, to my taste, to much filled with descriptions about the weather, the landscape and with too much writing about crows - and when you know my love for description, you understand my hesitations. People were saying that it was not the best book of the series but were so rave about the series by itself and about John Connolly that I decided to give it a try... Best decision ever made!

Yes, there are descriptions - but mostly in the beginning - and I havec to say that John Connolly knows how to make it really lively, often funny, even ironic and really spirited. The characters are well portrayed, even if I sometimes found that the two gangster's henchmen resembled the two Charlie Parker's henchmen. Personally, I fell for Charlie, his methods and his humour - cynic sometimes - even if the police or the FBI don't share my opinion... I find him endearing. This is the kind of character you'll love to follow, which is a good thing as Connolly has writen many books about him.

The story in itself is well thought: you think you know who kidnapped the girl before you realise you were lead by the nose by a author who has fun by spreading turnarounds, twists and other puzzles. Honestly, the end was not predictable and that's what I love in a thriller : not being able to guess  who did it!

I was surprised by the length of some sentences - knowing that English-speaking people generally write shorter sentences than French-speaking people. I think that's what give off the fast-paced rythm in thrillers. In the extract below, the sentence is five lines long. Nevertheless, John Connolly's style is often ironic, humourous, lively and the rythm never breaks.

One distinctive feature I love about that book: the mixing of thriller and supernatural (my two favourite kind of reading actually). Charlie can see ghost, which is not common in thriller right? But it does bring a plus in a thriller notably when it's well done like in that book.

One extract (that's show that a description can be as lively as funny, thus not boring)

The Wanderer's décor was neutral, mainly because it didn't really have any décor, unless you counted a single cracked Budweiser mirror. Its chairs were mismatched and rested unevenly on the floor. Its tables were black and red, with faux-marble surfaces. The stools along the bar were dull steel with black vinyl seats that were last upholstered when John McNamara was still managing the Red Sox and they were bumbling along at .500, right before Joe Morgan replaced him and the team went on to win nineteen of twenty to take the AL East title, an achievement that went relatively unnoticed in the Wanderer, as it didn't have a television at the time, and still didn't have one now. 

Let's be brief

I really liked that book I highly recommend. If it's truly the less paced book to the series - mainly due to the weather descriptions at the beginning - I'm looking forward to read the others books! An author who is worth reading ! 

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