Review: The Wolf In Winter by John Connolly

wolfinwinter

About The Wolf In Winter

The community of Prosperous, Maine has always thrived when others have suffered. Its inhabitants are wealthy, its children's future secure. It shuns outsiders. It guards its own. And at the heart of the Prosperous lie the ruins of an ancient church, transported stone by stone from England centuries earlier by the founders of the town . . .

But the death of a homeless man and the disappearance of his daughter draw the haunted, lethal private investigator Charlie Parker to Prosperous. Parker is a dangerous man, driven by compassion, by rage, and by the desire for vengeance. In him the town and its protectors sense a threat graver than any they have faced in their long history, and in the comfortable, sheltered inhabitants of a small Maine town, Parker will encounter his most vicious opponents yet.

Charlie Parker has been marked to die so that Prosperous may survive.


About the Author

John Connolly is the author of The Wrath of AngelsThe Burning SoulThe Book of Lost Things, and Bad Men, among many others. He is a regular contributor to The Irish Times and lives in Dublin, Ireland. For more information, see his website at JohnConnollyBooks.com, or follow him on Twitter @JConnollyBooks.


My Thoughts

[This review is based on an advanced readers copy obtained from the publisher via NetGalley.]

John Connolly is one of my favorite authors, and I always relish each new entry in his Charlie Parker series. Every time I start in on one of these books, I'm immediately flooded with a sense of warmth, regardless of how chilling a plot he's crafting. For me, the Parker books are a perfect comfort read, imbued with all of the basic genre hooks I love: the lone-wolf PI, a band of killers, a splash of the supernatural, a rich mythology running through the spine of the story, a haunting suggestion of one's own dark soul, and explorations of the struggle between good and evil. Connolly himself is such a skilled and gifted storyteller that I always feel like I'm in good hands for the few hours I get to spend in his world.

Twelve Parker books deep, and Connolly is still at the top of his game. While The Wolf In Winter may be too soaked in the rich overarching mythology of the series for newcomers, long-term fans should find quite a lot to be happy about. And if, for whatever mysterious reason, you haven't read any of this series yet, do yourself a favor and get a copy of Every Dead Thing and subsequent volumes until you're all caught up!

This novel's initial draw revolves around the murder of a homeless man and his daughter, and the dangerous Maine community of Prosperous, initially feels a bit too familiar, particularly for mystery genre readers and Parker fans. A massive mid-book game-changer upends any sense of familiarity or safety in the proceedings, and Connolly plunges us into the depths of conspiracy that has been a constant thru-line in the world that Parker and his allies inhabit. Among his new lethal enemies in Prosperous are returning staples, such as The Collector, who is being hunted by the detective following the conclusion of The Wrath of Angels, and organizations like The Believers and The Backers, and a number of familiar faces from previous entries. Louis and Angel, of course, return as well, with their eyes rightly centered on vengeance.

If I can draw a cue from The X-Files or Millennium, The Wolf In Winter would be considered a very heavy addition to the series mytharc, and reader's enjoyment will depend on how heavily invested they are in the ongoing conspiracy and the rivalries of various factions concerned with the supernatural corners of Parker's world. As a decade-plus long Connolly fan, I find myself even more intrigued with the underworld black-market activity that each book has helped to flesh out and shape into an ethereal, dangerous, sometimes omnipresent force overshadowing Maine and its surrounding locales. The cultish Familist activities of those in Prosperous and their devotion to the Green Man make for a fine addition to the series cannon, and prove to be remarkably interesting in their expansion and divisiveness of the darker corners of this series. Connolly takes some serious steps in giving the series, and its readers, a vicious jolt, the aftermath of which provides some of the most taut and tense drama in a long while.

As with other entries in the Parker series, my only complaint is that I'll have to wait at least another year for the next one! Beyond that, The Wolf In Winter is ripe with Connolly's customary humor, wry observations, and witty repartee, and provides some delirious escapist entertainment into the world of killers and old gods, and the ramifications of this particular entry should ripple out to disrupt Parker's future and his role to play in the overlapping ancient conspiracy and prophesy for a good long while. This a perfect fall release, one to curl up with beside the fireplace to rightly savor, and is highly recommended for Parker devotees.

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Michael Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.


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