The White Road
John Connolly
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The White Road
John Connolly
Atria Books
503 pages
January 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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The White Road is the third in the private-eye Charlie Parker series. It is indeed a fast-paced thriller with classic noir-style writing. However, John Connolly adds more depth and color to the standard tongue-in-cheek narrative of competing novels in the genre.

Parker is a P.I. with quite a past. An insane person he had been hunting down murdered his wife and child (this was in one of the previous books, I presume). Finally, his life seems to be returning to normal. He is in love with a wonderful woman, and she is expecting to have their child. It is no wonder he becomes troubled when he receives a call from an attorney, an old friend from down South.

The attorney has put his life on the line to represent a black man accused of a brutal rape and murder. The case becomes racially complex because the murdered girl was white, and because she was the daughter of the city's richest person. The attorney needs help with the case. He is confident that his client will not live to see a trial because of the hostile environment, and even if he does, there are no guarantees that the trial will be at all fair.

The escapade to South Carolina is anything but safe for Parker. No one is happy to see him nosing around trying to get a black man off on a rape and murder charge. Life becomes more dangerous for Parker as he gets closer to the truth about the murder victim's buried secrets.

A burning beginning building to an explosive end and with tension throughout, The White Road is what crime fiction is all about. I am anxious now to read the other books in the series.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Phillip Tomasso III, 2004

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