Okay. Well, I finished another book (don't faint)... read it rather quickly as a matter of fact as it was one of those page turning stories that gripped you by the throat and wouldn't let go - The Killing Kind by John Connolly. It's book three of his hugely popular 'Charlie Parker' series.
Charlie Parker is of course a private detective in the state of Maine in the USA. Two years before this book takes place his wife and daughter were callously murdered by a psychpath: Charlie tracked him down to Louisiana and killed him. After the events in book two where Charlie tracked down another serial killer, he is now trying to live quietly in Maine, taking only corporate cases that hopefully mean he might live into old age.
Others, unfortunately, have different ideas. US senator, Jack Mercier, wants to hire Charlie to investigate the death of the daughter of an ex-business associate, Grace Peltier. The young woman was shot in the head, in her car, and the death was supposedly suicide. But there are suspicious circumstances, not least of which is that Grace Peltier was investigating a secret religious sect, known as The Fellowship. It's not long before Charlie discovers links with a group of people known as the Aroostock Baptists who set up a small commune in rural Maine in the 1960s, stayed there for six months and promptly disappeared off the face of the earth. Then a mass grave is discovered... Someone leaves a nest of killer spiders in his mailbox... and thus another connection is made with the death, in Minnesota, of an abortionist doctor who was killed in her car by poisonous spiders. Charlie realises he's opened a can of worms... or is that a can of spiders?
It seems that before she died Grace Peltier took something from The Fellowship and they want it back. Charlie has no idea what it is and a prime witness has gone to ground. Charlie is intimidated by the frightening arachnophile, Mr. Pudd. Who is he? He's also haunted by the ghosts of a small boy with a wooden sign around his neck and a woman in a summer dress. Louis and Angel, his genial killer friends, help him unravel this frightening mystery but in doing so they put themselves into extreme danger and, worse for Charlie, the life of Rachel, the new woman in his life, is also threatened. People start to die horribly and Charlie knows it's a race against time to find the missing witness before everyone he loves is wiped out.
Well, I have to say that I wouldn't like to live entirely on a diet of books consisting of just these Charlie Parker stories. LOL. They are intense, frightening, roller-coaster, type reads and at the end of them you need something like a Daisy Dalrymple yarn to bring back some normality. John Connolly writes horror very well indeed. His short story collection, Nocturnes, is one of the best horror collections I've ever read. He brings this startling talent for the macabre to bear in this series. They're unlike anything else I read. The crimes and the killers remind me slightly of Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli and Isles books. She pulls no punches when it comes to depicting the sheer horror, sickness and intelligence of the serial killer that can't be caught. But Connolly adds an extra dimension... a supernatural, macabre element which scares the reader witless. I can't read these books in bed at night, I'd never be able to turn out the light. And they are *not* for everyone. Not by a long chalk. I would say, think carefully before you pick one up, be warned! On the other hand if you really like a bit of gritty crime laced with horror, then by all means, 'go for it!' You won't be sorry.
One interesting thing, John Connolly has a new book out next month. It's entitled, Books to Die For and is a book of essays by popular crime writers recommending their favourite crime authors and books. The FantasticFiction link is here. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be wanting that.