THE WOLF IN WINTER by John Connolly Reviewed

John Connolly
Emily Bestler Books/Atria

I’ve been on the path alongside Charlie Parker since EVERY DEAD THING was released, eleven books leading up to this one. Part of what keeps me coming back book after book is that Charlie Parker is a character I believe in. He is driven by a sense of justice. I’ve had my own theories of the years as to why but what I think it really comes down to is that he is a bit haunted and wants to keep others from being haunted. I can’t say this is what John Connolly has in mind when writing but that’s my take.

In THE WOLF IN WINTER Charlie is set on a path toward a small town where everything seems to be wonderful, they don’t have the same problems other towns do, or at least not as bad. People go to war, the good folks of Prosperous Maine all come home. The state has job loss, Prosperous is not hit as bad. Almost like something is watching over the town.

What has Charlie Parker looking into this is the death of a homeless man. Parker had occasionally used Jude (the homeless man) to do some work and while not great friends, Charlie looks out for his own. Turns out Jude had been making an effort to re-establish contact with an estranged daughter. The daughter was last seen in the wonderful little town. When Jude started getting a little nosey, he turned up dead, hanging in a basement. On the surface a suicide, but Parker very quickly realizes that Jude was murdered.

As the investigation leads Charlie to Prosperous he gets a vibe, something is a bit off in this town. And of course he can’t let it go. This is the part of the story when Charlie is opening himself up to danger once again as he seeks justice for those who can no longer do it on their own.

We also see some threads that have been woven through some of the other books as Louis and Angel are helping Charlie track “The Collector”, a killer with his own twisted agenda.

I loved this book, I relished every page. While reading it I felt as though it was set in the fall, nights getting dark early and cold setting in. The world Parker lives in during this tale feels overcast, like you’d rather be home in front of a fire, but you know there is something to get done first. Connolly does such a great job of drawing the reader in and placing him right in the story that it’s hard not to get these impressions. There may be quiet almost, but not quite, sad music playing. This seems about right because even after I finish reading the book stuck with me, like a lingering saxophone solo that you can just hear under the surface of the everyday noise around you.

John Connolly is a true master of combining suspense and mystery with a dash of supernatural hinted at and thriller instinct that make this a perfect read. Good luck not reading it all in one sitting.

Jon Jordan