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A Song of Shadows: A Charlie Parker Thriller…

A Song of Shadows: A Charlie Parker Thriller

by John Connolly

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1811765,444 (4.13)3



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Charlie Parker has through his lawyer Aimee Price rented a house in Boreas to spend some time away to recover from the ordeal that almost cost him his life in the last book. But soon darkness will fall upon the peaceful little town of Boreas and a dead body will wash ashore on the beach at Mason Point. The police think it's suicide, but Charlie Parker suspects something is amiss with the case. Also, his neighbor, a mother with and daughter also new to the town, seems to be hiding something. Why did she move to the town?

The Charlie Parker series is one of my favorite series and when I started to read this book I took my time reading it because I really wanted to prolong the reading experience. Usually, I try to read a book fast, but there are some books that I feel I don't want to rush.

Charlie Parker is recovering from the attack at his home that almost killed him. He has rented a house close to Brook House Clinic for rehabilitation. He has no inclinations to investigate anything. He is just trying to get well, but faith has other plans and soon he must one again go against those who want to do harm. But he isn't alone, he has his old friends Angel and Louis by his side. Now he must face some real monster, monsters that for the last decades has been hiding in plain sight...

This is a dark story, but there are some lighter moments like the Fulci brothers making an appearance or the banter between Angel and Louis. Sweet moments between Charlie and his daughter Sam, who is much more like Charlie than he knows when it comes to the paranormal stuff surrounding him. And, here we have an aspect that I really like with this series, the paranormal part is what makes this series something a bit more special. The paranormal part is subtle and I love it. It's part of Charlie's life, his dead daughter and wife are still with him and I think it adds an extra flavor to the series. This could be an excellent series even without the paranormal part, but with it; it's even better I think.

I loved the book and I'm looking forward to reading the next one to see what Charlie Parker will take on after this.

I received this copy from Atria/Emily Bestler Books through Edelweiss in return for an honest review! Thank you! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
This is the 13th Charlie Parker book, but it is only the second one that I've read. I also read "The Wolf in Winter", the 12th book in the series. I'm sure that I would have benefited from having read more of the series, but I thought that this book worked fine as a standalone. Parker has rented a beach house in a small Maine town while he recuperates from serious injuries. However the private detective can't keep from getting involved in a mystery involving a dead body on the beach, a missing boy, a sadistic assassin, war criminals, neo Natzis and Parker's mostly invisible daughter (always referred to as "my dead daughter", which I found somewhat disconcerting). Parker also has a living six year old daughter Samantha who lives with her mother but visits him in Maine. I'm sure that more will be learned about Samantha in future books.

I like Parker and I enjoyed this complex story with a hint of the supernatural. The banter of Parker's colleagues was amusing, and I don't usually like banter. These books have a lighter touch than some humorless crime series. I may have appreciated the banter more because the narrator of the audio book, Jeff Harding, was very good.

I received a free copy of the e-book from the publisher, however I wound up borrowing and listening to the audiobook from the library. ( )
  fhudnell | Nov 18, 2016 |
I have two gripes about this book. The first is that the plot is bogged down by pointless dialogue and second, the people in the story are too elderly to do what they do.

World War 2 was a long time ago and the people who were old enough to have been either prisoner or captor in the death camps are getting awfully old. Some characters in this story are in their mid-90s. My father's family are long lived people, often reaching into their 90s in pretty good health. Generally speaking, though, they could not manage to do what Mr. Connolly's characters do. Humans get frail as they age and their eyes and hearing get weaker, and their ability to plot murders and, frankly, their interest in plotting anything, wanes. The whole Nazi plot does not ring true.

Then there is the pointless dialogue. I skipped page after page of people talking over coffee, or lunch, or drinks. What for?

I received an electronic review copy of "A Song of Shadows: A Charlie Parker Thriller" by John Connolly (Atria) through NetGalley.com. It is book 13 in the series. ( )
  Dokfintong | Aug 12, 2016 |
3.5 stars

I love Charlie Parker. And I love John Connolly. But as much as I found this book engaging, it also felt oddly disconnected from the rest of the Parker series.

First, this is a Nazi hunt. Given that it's happening in the present day, it's stretching it to do a Nazi hunt in 2015. These are truly the last Nazis left at this point. Also, this has been done before, & often. I know Parker is facing evil in all its earthly forms. But this just didn't ring true to me.

Second, I felt like the reader really didn't spend that much time with Parker this time. Or Angel, or Louis. The only character that was developed in this installment is Samantha. Connolly is setting things up, and I look forward to what's to come. I just wish there had been more here & now.

Finally, with so much time between installments, & diverting the story to a sideline story, it's getting hard to hold on to all the threads, all the characters, all the sub-plots stretched out over 13 books.

If you're already a fan, of course read this, if only to get your fix. But if you're new to John Connolly or the Charlie Parker series, don't start here. You'll be missing so much of what you need to know. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
A Song of Shadows marks, for me at least, a slight change in the Charlie Parker series. Set a short time after Parker's near fatal encounter with the delightful Selectmen of the town of Prosperous, it sees the wounded Detective renting a relatively isolated house in the small community of Boreas, in order to be close to the rehabilitation centre that is aiding his recovery, as well as avoiding the eventual return to the home in Scarborough where he nearly breathed his last. His presence in town causes a minor stir, something that would only be natural given the chaos which has been known to trail him like a bad smell. This tale is no different, with a body washing up on shore close to his home, a mysteriously guarded woman and her daughter who move in next door and the seemingly random investigation into the murder of a family and the disappearance of their teenage son. Tied in with all of this is an ongoing hunt for Nazi war criminals in a community of largely German descent, all of which tels you that you are in for one hell of a tale, the familiar elements of otherworldliness taking it beyond your normal thriller novel.

What makes this story different is the voice. It is most definitely inimitably John Connolly's style, and the interactions between Parker, Louis & Angel the returning cast of characters such as Ross, Walsh and the Fulci Brothers, remain as witty and well observed as always. Being injured has done nothing to alter Parker's sarcastic and somewhat matter of fact tone, and his contact with the townsfolk of Boreas follows in much the same vane. However, there is a darker turn in Parker's character, the impact of his experiences in A Wolf In Winter, as well as a few revelations about people who are much closer to home that cause him great concern and a clearer understanding of his place in the unfolding chaos. The biggest change? While normally written in first person point of view, Parker's scenes in A Song of Shadows, remain third person observations.

For me, this was a genius decision, and I feel that it gives strength to the idea of Parker's recovery. His body is on the mend and yet still betraying him, and while he would normally be seen throwing himself into the investigation, we are now observing Parker holding back, not strong enough to take the role he would normally instinctively play, and perhaps on some level, no longer certain that he still wants to. The use of third person to follow Parker ultimately leads us, as the reader, on a more objective journey as we watch Parker decide whether or not he has any part left to play in his world as an investigator, whether his heart is still in it.

For a Charlie Parker novel, this stepping back is an unusual feeling, and not since The Reapers have we not really been privvy to his every thought and the progression of an investigation. Parker is in the middle of this mystery and yet he is not. He is using himself as bait, and yet remaining a casual observer on the edge of the action. We do not hear his thoughts directly. It is not I, it is he. Is this a sign of things to come, a hint that Parker is merely a player and not the key to the puzzle? Will he too remain on the periphery or will we be allowed back into his head again? Who knows.

The one thing that is abundantly clear, is that by the end Parker's mind is back on top form, his intuitive nature and ability to understand on another level fully intact and his desire to right the wrongs of people like the Backers and the Believers as strong as ever. But even at the end, no matter how much Parker thinks he has taken control, we know the truth. That it was never his choice. His future is pre-destined and everything in his life, every choice, both his own and those made for him by people such as The Travelling Man, are leading him down a path that cannot be altered. You know that he won't go quietly, and his friends will be along for the ride. I will most certainly be joining them as I cannot wait to see where the path leads. ( )
  Spicewalker | Feb 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
**** 4 out of 5 stars
Review by Mark Palm

Blackbird Song.

When I was in college my bedroom wasn’t a bedroom so much as it was four book-shelves with a bed in the middle. Every one of those books were arranged in alphabetical order, to my lasting delight. Not by genre, or size, but alphabetical order. Now this is more than just an annoying autobiographical reminiscence by a reviewer who has often been accused of having an inordinate love of the words “I” and “me.” It’s actually about genre. I dislike the idea of putting writers in any sort of pigeonhole, and while I understand the need for bookstores to use categories, part of me still dislikes it. In my idealized and entire un-pragmatic world, each writer and each book would be judged purely on it’s merits.

Which brings me to John Connolly, and A Song of Shadows. For a long time now John Connolly’s Charlie Parker books have been pushing the boundaries of traditional genre that they have become a genre all of their own. And if you couldn’t tell by now I consider that a good thing. A Song of Shadows, his thirteenth Charlie Parker continues this, with exceptional results.

The novel starts with Parker living in an isolated house in the small coastal town of Boreas, Maine, recovering from a near-fatal shooting. His only neighbor is a woman, Ruth, and her daughter, Amanda, who suffers from haunting dreams. Trouble soon arrives. A body washed up on the beach, dead from either murder, or suicide. Weak as he is, Parker, being Parker, is interested. The town has a large German population, and has a link with a certain Nazi concentration camp. More deaths are discovered, and unable to help himself, Charlie resumes acting like a detective. Soon the usual cast of characters, Sam, and Angel and Louis, the Collector, Agent Ross and Liat and Epstein, all become involved. Unexplained supernatural events occur, and the story, slow to build begins to move at a quicker pace.

As always, Mr. Connolly’s skill at plotting makes any further revelations impossible to give without spoiling the plot, but suffice it to say, the ending in not only satisfying, but moving. Mr. Connolly is a master at dialogue and character, able to add humor and a touch of humanity without subtracting from the seriousness of the subject or the darkness of the story. Parker is central to the story, and as compelling as ever, but his daughter Sam steps up to take her largest role to date, perhaps setting up a new direction for the series. The nature of Parker’s world, and the role he plays in it continues to evolve, so that after thirteen installments this series feels as fresh and new as ever. My only complaint with this book is a small one, but is worthy of note. I have been following this series for some time now, and am comfortable in it’s world, but I fear that newcomer’s might have a difficult time dealing with the large and complex cast of supporting characters, and the background and nature of their roles. On the up side the solution to this problem is easy. Go read the rest of the Parker books.

Full reviews available at: http://www.thebookendfamily.weebly.co...
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