I’ve not had luck with series of books. Borrowing them from libraries often meant that a second or third volume would elude my grasp so I would stick to single volume stories. Of the series that I have managed to complete, two sit on my shelves with a bibliophiliac pride.
The Charlie Parker series by John Connolly is one of them. From Every Dead Thing onwards, Connolly has developed a mythology that straddles theology, crime and psychosis into something haunting, elegiac and vicious at times. It’s a series that does not meander to meditate upon the face, but the skull beneath and it finds a morbid beauty there.
The Wolf In Winter continues to expand upon the continuity that he has established but it is still an inviting and smooth read. The town of Prosperous in Maine has a secret that guarantees it’s fortune and stability through the years and when Charlie Parker comes to investigate the murder of a homeless informant and his missing daughter, he is pitched into a vicious conflict.
Connolly understands violence and corruption, their corrosiveness and how ordinary people are destroyed by their hungers. His supernatural elements are very inspirational to me, as I make notes towards projects that incorporate such elements, because he doesn’t forget to make them frightening and alien. I’m not the biggest fan of wisecracking angels and demons that smoke because we’re really good at being monsters ourselves.
It’s probably why aliens haven’t shown up yet.
Anyway, without going into spoiler mode ( I left my domino mask and boots upstairs because the utility belt needs another hole punched in) it has some fantastic twists, demonstrates an authority in storytelling and a trust in your ability to follow through to a poignant conclusion as well as experience a prickling chill without feeling cheap or thwarted to get there.
The series also demonstrates how to do research and make it interesting, there are elements that weave in and out of the books that show a remarkable grasp of how to establish setting and information without it being something that you skip to get to the good parts. The nadir of this was Jurassic Park where I skipped past the explanation on chaos theory so fast that I travelled back in time and told myself that I should read it later. Also to invest in Apple. I never learn.
There are thirteen books and a novella so far, just go read them. It will ruin you for some writers afterwards, but you can thank me later.
(The other series is George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, obscure little series that. However, I might post a review of the series before the new season comes in April. I wish more people watched the tv show, it could use the publicity)