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Every Dead Thing by John Connolly

Every Dead Thing

by John Connolly

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Charlie Parker (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
I have long wanted to read John Connolly’s Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker series so I joined several Good Reads readers in a group read of this first book in the series of 12 (so far) thrillers featuring a former NYPD detective tortured by the brutal murder of his wife and daughter.

What struck me first about Every Dead Thing is the writing. Connolly writes with a deep and lyrical style that is not only engaging but forges a bond between the reader and the characters. Not only are we told about the loss Bird has suffered. We feel it along with him. Connolly also does a great job of developing his characters, not just Bird but the large cast of ancillary characters instead. Chief among the secondary characters are Parker’s sidekicks Louis and Angel, a shady pair of killers who deserve a series of their own. They are like The Odd Couple if Felix and Oscar were gay career criminals who entertained themselves by serving as guardian angels to an ex-cop with a taste for pissing off killers.

The plot itself is engaging although it does tend to wander on occasion and there are so many side characters that more than once I found myself wondering where that character came from. Connolly does do a good job of tying things up in the end and I confess that, even though I knew that there was still another shoe left to drop, I was blindsided by the conclusion.

Bottom line: Every Dead Thing is a darker story than I usually read and it took me deeper into the abyss than I would like. Even so, I am fascinated by Bird Parker’s character and look forward to finding out what happens to him in his next book. ( )
  Unkletom | Mar 7, 2015 |
I'm glad that this wasn't the first John Connolly's book about Charles Parker that I read. It was good, but the books that I have read, "The Killing Kind", "The White Road" and "The Reapers" was much better. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Dec 11, 2014 |
Charlie “Bird” Parker is an ex-cop who left the NYPD in the wake of the double homicide of his wife and daughter. The crime created a cloud of doubt, guilt and suspicion over Parker, who is haunted by ghostly images and memories. Now doing scut detective work for bail bondsman and the like, a former colleague asks him to discreetly look into a probable missing person case which has mob implications, and which takes Parker from New York to Virginia and eventually to pre-Katrina New Orleans.

Every Dead Thing is a character study of a grief stricken man who struggles to get his life back on track even as he is unsure of the ground upon which he stands. The action of the novel is carried by two cases which are related by the type of criminals ultimately pursued, serial killers. Some of the victims are children and on the whole the carnage is graphic and gruesome. Acknowledging that the antagonists are the foils against which the protagonists are defined and developed, and that Connolly makes feints at speculating at the natures of the killers, the homicides still have the effect of polarizing the readers into viewing the killers as irredeemably evil and thus rendering the antagonists as as one-dimensional. Richly descriptive detail and with a touch of mysticism, Every Dead Thing is a Southern Gothic tale that evokes some visceral responses and is not for the faint of heart. If you liked the movie, Seven Deadly Sins (starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, and Gweneth Paltrow) and/or R.J. Ellory’s, A Quiet Belief in Angels, it is likely you will like Every Dead Thing as well.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does a well developed antagonist (e.g. back story, motive understood…) make the antagonist more sympathetic to a reader? Does having a well developed antagonist steal focus from the protagonist, or make for a more balanced (more interesting?) narrative?

OTHER: I purchased a mass market paperback edition of Every Dead Thing (Charlie Parker series, Book #1 by John Connolly) form AMZN on February 9, 2013. ( )
  Tanya-dogearedcopy | Aug 17, 2014 |
Kind of Silence of the Lambs meets Dexter. I liked it and will read more from this author. ( )
  Danean | Apr 25, 2014 |
Ah, you never forget your first.

When I was surfing around on the interwebs trying to find a new book to pick up, someone suggested John Connolly’s [b:The Book of Lost Things|69136|The Book of Lost Things|John Connolly|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1170703577s/69136.jpg|1164024]. I nabbed it shortly thereafter and upon finishing it, I knew I had just read something special. I immediately needed more Connolly and upon realizing he had an entire mystery/thriller series featuring a private detective named Charlie Parker, I was filled with optimism and excitement.

Former New York City cop, Charlie Parker, had his wife and daughter taken from him after their brutal murder. To make matters worse, Parker had been boozing it up following a particularly nasty argument with his wife, leaving them alone when the tragedy occurred. Unable to cope with his day job, Parker left the force and became a private investigator. In Every Dead Thing, Parker is tasked to track down a vicious serial killer that will lead to a confrontation that will test the his physical and ultimately, his moral, limits.

The plot of Every Dead Thing is certainly out there. Tracking down a serial killer who removes the skin of his victims and leaving them in various poses is certainly an exercise in brutality. Not only that, throw in the fact that Parker eventually succumbs to seeing visions of the dead while using them as clues in his investigation. Who would hire a private detective that uses ghosts to solve cases? As crazy a plot as it sounds, Connolly packs it with such rich characters that you can forget about how insane everything is and just go with it.

I’m certainly not saying that Connolly is a bad storyteller. There are aspects and events in this book that had me on the edge of my seat. In fact, the opening action scene alone is enough to win most people over. The violence is brutal and the dialogue, filled with razor sharp wit and humor, is exceptional. If you’re reading the Parker series and you’re starting with book one (and let’s be honest, you should), you can rest assured that Parker, Louis and Angel continue to have some of the best chemistry in any mystery novel you’ll read.

Every Dead Thing is a fantastic start to a long-running series. While it certainly has it’s ups and downs (as with most lengthy series’), it only gets better with age. ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connolly, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bortolussi, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067102731X, Mass Market Paperback)

It's a good idea to avoid reading John Connolly's debut novel on a full stomach. His descriptions of mutilated murder victims give him honorary membership in the gore wars club. Every Dead Thing is a fast-paced piece of fiction from an author whose regular stomping ground is as a journalist for the Irish Times.

NYPD detective Charlie "Bird" Parker was busy boozing at Tom's Oak Tavern when his wife Susan, and young daughter Jennifer were mutilated by a killer called the Traveling Man. Consumed by guilt and alcoholism, Charlie soon lost his job, and almost his sanity. Several months on he is sober and ready to get his life back in order. Charlie takes up private investigating. One of his first cases involves the disappearance of a woman called Catherine Demeter. At first this puzzle seems unrelated to the Traveling Man--but Charlie has a gut feeling that the slayer is pulling the strings. "I dreamed of Catherine Demeter surrounded by darkness and flames and the bones of dead children. And I knew then that some terrible blackness had descended upon her."

The search for Catherine takes Charlie on a whirlwind tour of the South. First to the small Virginian town of Haven, where, some 30 years before, Catherine's sister Amy was murdered, along with other local children. But the trail turns cold--until a tip from a psychic leads Charlie to the swamplands of Louisiana. The subplots of Catherine's disappearance, age-old child murders, and the slaying of the Parker family finally unite in the hot, humid terrain. A showdown with the Traveling Man is inevitable.

Every Dead Thing is classic American crime fiction, and it's hard to believe that John Connolly was born and raised on the Emerald Isle. --Naomi Gesinger

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:42 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Former NYPD detective Charlie "Bird" Parker, is tormented by the brutal, unsolved murders of his wife and young daughter. Driven by visions of the dead, he tracks a serial killer from New York City to the Deep South, and finds his buried instincts--for love, survival, and ultimately, for killing--awakening as he confronts a monster beyond imagining.… (more)

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