A Time of Torment by John Connolly

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A Charlie Parker thriller, almost…..    ****

 

John Connolly writes novels that make me wish they would never end. His style is mesmerizing and can chill me to the bone. This one is no exception.

As with any good series, if you haven’t read the earlier books, you will not fully appreciate this one. As this is the fourteenth (fifteenth if you count his novella) Charlie Parker novel, Connolly does not spend time recapping, which is a good thing.

While this story includes Parker, and his sidekicks Angel and Louis, they are almost insignificant. The majority of the novel revolves around a group called the Cut, and Sheriff Henkel, who is determined to rid his county of this cult-like group..

This novel, more than some of Connolly’s others, has a significant amount of supernatural elements. The beauty of Connolly’s writing is that he makes these elements not only believable, but made me wish some of it were true.

Parker has two daughters. One who was killed, and one with special talents. So as not to give anything away, I will just say it is the sister’s interactions that make this novel unique.

This one gets four stars. I usually give five for Connolly’s novels but Parker’s small role caused me to drop one.  Hopefully, this is not a trend.

Breakdown by Jonathan Kellerman

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Apt title, almost had one trying to finish this….  *

 

Jonathan Kellerman has the distinction of joining Lee Child, Michael Connelly, and James Patterson, as authors I will no longer read. His recent books have gone downhill from the intriguing earlier novels that I enjoyed. This one is at the bottom of the abyss.

There is no real mystery, no twist, no compelling reason to keep turning pages. The plot is weak and Kellerman’s usually interesting asides into psychology are absent. More time is spent telling the reader how to go from point A to B than any attempt at story development. Alex Delaware’s girlfriend, Robin, is sadly absent except for some minor scenes, and detective Milo Sturgis is so dull I almost forgot how sharp he used to be.

The solving of the supposed mystery is like a bad script from “Murder She Wrote”, or in this case Murder He Wrote.  The majority of the book revolves around Delaware and Sturgis sitting in Alex’s office, or driving around, speculating on what happened. The leaps in logic and revelations are almost laughable. It always fascinates me when information is  needed and one of them just happens to know someone to call who can help. Why anyone would call this a good mystery is beyond me.

The ending falls flat, and was so contrived it made me glad I had finished the book, so I could hopefully do something to make up for the time I have lost reading it.

This one gets one star, which is one too many.