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Every Dead Thing by John Connolly

Every Dead Thing (edition 2000)

by John Connolly

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Title:Every Dead Thing
Authors:John Connolly
Info:Pocket Books (2000), Mass Market Paperback, 467 pages
Collections:Your library

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Every Dead Thing by John Connolly


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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 |
"Porque yo soy todo lo que muere...
y heme aquí reengendrado.
De ausencias, sombra, muerte, cosas
que nada son".
John Donne. Nocturno sobre la festividad de Santa Lucía. ( )
  darioha | Oct 6, 2013 |
Every story has a beginning. Every character has his turning point. From the man he was into the man he will be. And for Charlie Parker it was Every Dead Thing.

....."For I am every dead thing...I am begot...Of Absence, darknesse, death; things which are not. - John Donne"

For Charlie Birdman Parker it turns one fateful night after a drunken fight. He returns home to find his wife and young daughter brutally murdered. Charlie Parker, who up to that moment was a detective on the NYPD; turns from detective, to victim, to widow, to suspect, to bereaved father, to madness.

....."According to the ME, Susan and Jennifer had been dead for about four hours when I found them. Rigor mortis had already taken hold at their necks and lower jaws, indicating that they had died at around 21.30, maybe a little earlier.
Susan had died from a severing of the carotid artery, but Jenny...Jenny had died from what was described as a massive release of epinephrine into her system, causing ventricular fibrillation of the heart and death. Jenny, always a gentle, sensitive child, a child with a traitor weak heart, had literally died of fright before her killer had a chance to cut her throat. She was dead when her face was taken, said the ME. He could not say the same for Susan..."

The writing is tight and the mood dark and full of despair. The grief Charlie Parker feels permeates every pore of the pages of this book. You will feel his loneliness, and his purpose. Abandoned by friends and family, let down by the very system of law he swore to uphold. Parker is left with nothing.
His old partner reaches out to him and sets him on the trail of a missing girl. A missing persons case that the police no longer have the time or effort to follow up on. Time is what Parker has. The trail takes him from New York to New Orleans and to a killer who takes the faces of his victims. A killer much like the one who left him with out his family.

....."Who is he?" I said.
She spoke, and in her voice there were four voices: the voices of a wife and daughter, the voice of an old obese woman on a bed in a wine-dark room, and the voice of a nameless girl who died a brutal, lonely death in the mud and water of a Louisiana swamp.
"He the Travelin' Man."....

Charlie Parker is set on a collision course with the Travelin' Man, a collector of souls and faces. A man who took everything from Charlie Parker. The only man who can give Charlie Parker back...give him back Every Dead Thing. ( )
  agarcia85257 | Aug 29, 2013 |
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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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