Bereft of his private investigator’s license since his last horrific outing (The Reapers, 2008, etc.), Charlie Parker takes time out from tending bar in Portland, Maine, to confront the powers of Hell once more as he searches for the reason his father killed himself.
On the face of it, the motive for William Parker’s suicide was obvious. Since he’d just shot and killed an unarmed boy and girl, it shouldn’t have been that great a surprise that the next day he topped himself as well. The question is: Why did he shoot the two teenagers in the first place? Charlie’s mother never talked about it to the day of her death, and Dad’s colleagues in the Pearl River Police Department aren’t eager to discuss it now. But Charlie is persistent, as tenacious in his own way as Mickey Wallace, the pesky true-crime writer who’s determined to turn the PI’s checkered past into a book. At length Charlie coaxes a detailed statement out of Will Parker’s retired partner, Jimmy Gallagher, and silence that amounts to confirmation out of Eddie Grace, another friend of Will’s from the force. What Charlie learns about his father and his own birthright is so shattering, in fact, that it’s enough to make you forget all about the curtain-raising death of Bobby Faraday, an engineering student whose apparent suicide is anything but. Even when you remember Bobby’s murder, you may worry that Connolly himself has mislaid it in the thicket of genre-bending complications that run the gamut from digressive anecdotes to misleading circumstantial evidence to demonic possession. Never fear: After enough corpses—some past, some present—to get a new cemetery off to a roaring start, all will become clear. Or at least clear enough for Connolly’s legion of followers.
Though Charlie’s investigation of his roots doesn’t provide anything like closure to this heaven-storming series, it provides all the pleasures fans expect.