Title: The Burning Soul
Author: John Connolly
Review: One of my favorite things in my reading life is picking up a new (to me) mystery writer and thoroughly enjoying the book. It is especially great when they are an established writer and I can go back and enjoy an extensive backlist. I keep up with about 50 authors right now and I always on the lookout for more. I just got up to date on John Sandford’s work and I am currently working my way through C.J. Box’s and Michael Connelly’s backlists. I can say now that John Connolly has been added to that list.
When I begin a series with book 10 I am looking for a few things:
- A writer who has mastered writing a tight story with detail in all the right places.
- A lead character(s) that feels real; well rounded.
- A cast of regular side characters that are fully developed and could carry a book by themselves.
- A story that occasionally refers back to past work without giving it all away.
The Burning Soul has all of those traits and I cannot wait to read more about Charlie Parker and company. Even the bad guys in this book were real people. I mean I would read a book about the life struggles of a pair of organized crime muscle as presented in this story. They were that well written.
Can an honest man ever be free from the wrongs he has done n his life? That is the overall question of the book. We all make mistakes but sometimes we are cruel, even evil, on purpose. I think we like to believe we can just leave it all behind and get on with our carefree lives, but the truth is we just can’t (unless you happen to be a sociopath). Charlie Parker is called in to help a victim of intimidation and blackmail. Of course being blackmailed means the victim has done something pretty vile in his life at one time.
The truth is he is tormented more by himself than anyone else. His prison was erected in his mind and even though he did his time, he has never been free. This makes me think of even larger issues involving PTSD and other reactions to highly stressful situations. Basically damage to the mind does not just go away on its own, or even heal correctly if we just “man” up and tough it out. If we broke our arm we wouldn’t just leave it to heal on its own, or at least we wouldn’t expect it to heal perfectly that way.
So the client in this book is the same way, always trying to tough it out, always trying to out run the consequences; yet never truly healing. Cowardice made him commit the original crime and cowardice made him avoid the punishment. The irony being never facing his responsibilities actually made the consequences much worse. And isn’t that an universal truth for life?
Publisher: Atria Books
Quick Review: 4 Stars out of 5.
Why I Read it: Love mysteries
Where I Obtained the Book: The publisher sent it to me for review.
Synopsis: What's the worst thing you've ever done? "There are some truths so terrible that they should not be spoken aloud, so appalling that even to acknowledge them is to risk sacrificing a crucial part of one's humanity, to exist in a colder, crueler world than before." Randall Haight has a secret: He is a convicted murderer, a man with the blood of a young girl on his hands. He has built a new life for himself in the small Maine town of Pastor's Bay, but someone has discovered the truth about him. He is being tormented by anonymously sent reminders of his crime. He wants private detective Charlie Parker to make them go away. But another girl has gone missing, this time from Pastor's Bay itself, and her family has its own secrets to protect. Now, in a town built on blood and shadowed by old ghosts, Parker must unravel a twisted history of violence and deceit involving the police and the FBI, a doomed mobster and his enemies, and Randall Haight himself. Because Randall is telling lies. . . .
Author Biography: John Connolly is the author of "Every Dead Thing" which was a bestseller in Britain and Ireland. He is a regular contributor to "The Irish Times," and has traveled extensively in the United States. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.
FYI: Currently my copy is up on Goodreads Bookswap while it lasts.