Sarcastic and savvy, ex-cop hero and private eye Charlie "Bird" Parker is summoned to the house of a United States Senator and asked if he would "discreetly" look into the supposed suicide of the daughter of a long time friend. Figuring the assignment certainly beats trailing and photographing adulterers and needing money, Charlie agrees to dig into the case. "What harm can it do?" the senator asks him. What harm indeed.
The heretofore-simple case explodes and soon involves a thirty-year old mass murder, a missing religious sect, sinister characters and a serial killer whose favorite mode of murder is "death by arachnid." Each of these aspects propels an already exciting and harrowing plot into a realm far beyond the reader’s expectations. The search for a mysterious spider-lover and killer named Mr. Pudd and his grotesquely scarred and mute companion, who leave a trail of hideously tortured bodies in their wake, compels Charlie to face not only his own violent past, one that left his family dead, but also threatens his new love -- as well as the safety of everyone he comes into contact with.
The Killing Kind author John Connolly pens this riveting tale in the first person and carries that off with dynamic dialog, well plotted scenes and throbbing suspense. Charlie’s character is compelling and likeable yet far from perfect, a character whose self-doubt plagues nearly every move he makes. The mystique that surrounds his past makes him both complicated and compassionate at the same time, as does his ability to "see people" who have long before left this realm. Connolly’s narrative style is witty and self-effusive, which enhance Charlie’s vulnerabilities and humorous qualities and gives him an endearing trait a la Philip Marlow.
Secondary characters of various backgrounds, including a gay hit man, provide additional avenues for Connolly’s plotline, all of which combine for an intensely pleasurable read.
While some may find the graphic descriptions of "death by arachnid" found within these pages to be too intense and/or disturbing, Connolly certainly knows how to touch susceptible nerves with his tiny creatures, evoking scenarios that are grotesque and oddly compelling at the same time. The plot surges forward at an exhilarating pace, which makes for a great read chock full of horror, mystery and suspense.
Connolly has penned two previous novels featuring Charlie Parker, Dark Hollow and Every Dead Thing, and is fast making a reputation for himself that will certainly give fellow suspense authors in the style of Jeffrey Deaver and John Sanford a run for their money.