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Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly (RIP #1)

The Wolf in Winter is a Charlie Parker mystery that blends the supernatural with mystery.  I've read and reviewed two other books by John Connolly:  The Book of Lost Things (a YA novel) and The Whisperers, another Charlie Parker mystery.  I liked them both, although one is a YA fantasy about a boy who gets lost in fairy tales and the other a dark adult mystery/paranormal novel.

The Wolf in Winter finds Charlie Parker looking into the death of Jude, a homeless man that had recently wanted to hire Parker to look for his missing daughter.  It appears that Jude's death is a suicide, but one of Jude's homeless friends has doubts, and Parker begins to wonder.

Parker's investigation leads him to Prosperous, Maine, a town that has an unusual ability to "prosper" even in hard times and that shuns outsiders.  The inhabitants are all descendants of the town's founders, except for those who have married into one of the original families.  

There you go.  Bound to be some supernatural element when a centuries-old town remains peopled by descendants of the same founding fathers.  Especially since their church, which no longer has an official congregation, was brought over stone by stone from England and rebuilt.  The church has a certain threatening atmosphere, emphasized by leering images of the Green Man and definitely lacks the feel of any Christian sect.  

The town leaders of Prosperous are not pleased with Jude's inquiries, and after his death, Parker's questions create a threat the Selectmen of the town will not tolerate.

Angel and Louis play a small part, as do villains from the past like the Collector and the lawyer Eldritch, the Believers, the Backers, and Cambion.

Mostly character driven, the plot does keep the suspense building.  Connolly manages to do this extremely well and without gory details.  The lack of gory details (oh, there are few of those with Cambion), does not affect the tension the novel evokes.

A great RIP novel that has good writing, well-developed characters, suspense, and a lingering feeling of evil.  Since I'm reviewing this for Carl's RIP Challenge, I'm reviewing it a little early and will mention it again closer to the publication date.  You can get it from NetGalley if you want it for the challenge.

NetGalley/Atria Books

Suspense/Mystery/Supernatural.  Oct. 28, 2014.  Print length:  416 pages.


  1. I still have not read any John Connolly - Thank you for the reminder that I need to read one of his books! Sounds like a great series.

    By the way, hope you've had a chance to rest after your trip!

  2. If you haven't read the Charlie Parker books from the start it's well worth doing as there's a lot of character development and plotty stuff that has a bearing on later books. John Connolly is probably my favourite author though the choice is a tough one.

  3. Iliana - I've certainly enjoyed the books by Connolly that I've read.

    :) Strange how it takes a while to recover from a vacation and get back to the daily routine!

    Cath - You are right; the continuation of characters and plot are obvious and make me want to pick up what I've missed! I am thankful, though, that the books can be read as stand-alones.
    Going back and reading the books I've missed is on my agenda. :)

  4. I don't think I've read this series yet, though I read The Book of Lost Things and enjoyed it. This sounds like a good one.

  5. Melody - Like Cath mentioned, it is probably best to begin with the first in the series (and I'm going to do that soon). It is nice, however, that the author is skilled enough to make each novel work even without all the background.

  6. I've only read a novella by this author, but I loved it and definitely mean to read more by him. This sounds like a great series.

  7. I've read his YA Samuel Johnson books and liked them very much but haven't read any of his adult fiction. Is his adult work filled with clever jokes too?

  8. Wendy - the two I've read in the series have been good. There is a supernatural aspect to both of them, and I assume in all of the others. Makes them good for this time of year and Carl's challenge.

    Stefanie - There are some clever one-liners in circumstances surrounding Louis & Angel, but otherwise--not much humor.