With his private investigator's licence fully restored following events in The Lovers, Charlie Parker is back in business in the 10th book of a consistently excellent series. When the father of an Iraq war veteran who committed suicide approaches Parker to look into his son's death, the Maine PI quickly makes a link between a number of seemingly unrelated deaths, including the murder of a state trooper and more unexplained veteran suicides.
The trail takes Parker north towards the Maine-Canada border across which it seems that a group of former soldiers are running contraband in competition with some very dangerous rivals including at least three different groups of drug smugglers. But the trail also points east, back to Iraq and the smuggling of antiquities looted from the museums of Baghdad following the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
This being Connolly the dangers faced by Parker and the veteran soldiers in the great north woods are not restricted to murderous Mexicans and territorial biker drug dealers. The antiquities themselves have demons of their own and have also attracted the attentions of dangerous and merciless men, among them the Collector, an old adversary of Parker and the ruthless Herod, a man seemingly caught at the threshhold between live and death and who is himself guided by another malignant and ethereal power. Both will stop at nothing to get hold of one particular item.
As Parker's investigation deepens and he connects a series of broken threads he finds his own life in danger and quickly two more dangerous men - his friends Angel and Louis - are headed north towards a violent endgame.
Anyone who has read much Stephen King - particularly those books set in the small towns and woods of Maine - will know the potential for mystery and malevolence that these environs hold within them. King himself is the master of bringing that to life. But Connolly is equally adept at lacing his atmophere with the unexplained, the threatening and the downright terrifying. More than any other author I have read in the alast decade, he is the one who has me checking I locked the doors, or has the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end when things go bump in the night.
The Whisperers offers a glimpse into places and people that most of us would rather not think about. This gives his books an extra charge, and it runs throughout The Whisperers, another chilling and satisfying mystery.
If you haven't tried him yet - do it now. But remember to lock the doors.