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John Connolly ‘Every Dead Thing’ Review


Written by: Wayne C. Rogers

I had the pleasure of meeting John Connolly during the late summer of 2001.  I was already a huge fan of his from having read Every Dead Thing, Dark Hollow and his newest book, The Killing Kind.  What I had a difficult time understanding was how an author from Ireland was able to capture the tone and nuances of a New England writer as perfectly as he did.  If I’d had to guess, I would have said John was a native of either New Hampshire or Maine.

And this assumption would’ve been based entirely on his writing.

John, however, was Irish through and through.  He did explain to me that he spent a good deal of time in the United States and that was how he’d been able to capture the prose and style of an American writer.

John is a small man in stature, reminding me somewhat of an Irish jockey.  He eyes are bright with intelligence and adventure.  This is a man who loves to travel, meet new people, and have wonderful, thrilling experiences wherever he goes.

This is also a man who loves books.

The first thing he did when entering my apartment was to head right over to my bookshelves, which was lucky for me.  John saw my copy of Joe Lansdale’s The Bottoms and asked me what I’d thought of it.  I told him the truth…that I thought it was the best novel I’d ever read in my life.  He agreed and asked if I’d ever read any of Joe’s Hap/Leonard books.  I told him no, and he suggested I give them a try.  In fact, if I remember correctly, he said that if I read one of them, I’d get hooked, and then go through the rest of the series in a reading frenzy.  He was right.  That exactly what happened after I read Joe Lansdale’s Bad Chili.

John and I talked for an hour about authors and books before he had to get to his next appointment, which was a radio interview for his newest novel, The Killing Kind.  Talking to John and having a beer together was a great experience I still treasure today.  As I later discovered, authors seldom, if ever, visit their fans at their home.  That act of kindness is therefore something I’ll never forget.  The only damper on the meeting was that I had John’s first three hardbacks lying on the counter by the stove for him to autograph, and I forget to ask him to do it.  By the time I saw the books and was able to get back out to the parking lot, he was gone.  I should’ve had the books on the coffee table.

John Connolly’s debut novel was Every Dead Thing, which is the story of former NYPD detective Charlie “Bird” Parker, a man who experienced a tragedy of such a large scope that it’s a wonder he didn’t go crazy with anguish.  While still a homicide detective in New York City and an alcoholic, he had a fight with his wife one night and left the house in anger.  He stopped in at the local pub, got drunk, and then returned home several hours late to find that his wife and young daughter had been skinned alive by an utter  madman.

At first a suspect in the killing of his own family, Parker’s alibi holds up, but in time he’s still forced to leave the police department.  He stops drinking and makes it his life ambition to track down the man who slaughtered his family.  Clues lead him to New Orleans where an old voodoo woman tells him about a serial killer known as the Traveling Man.  This is the person Parker has been searching for.  The Traveling Man has killed countless times and will certainly kill again, unless someone puts a sharp stake through his evil heart.

In the mean time, Parker is asked by a former colleague to track down a missing person…a woman who’s younger sister was also murdered by a serial killer years before.  The case leads Parker to Haven, Virginia and puts him on the trail of an atrocious monster who’s been killing children for over thirty years.  Parker will soon discover that this animal knows the identity of the man who destroyed his family.

Eventually, Parker will head back to Louisiana and find himself caught in the middle of a bloodbath between two rivaling mobsters for the Organization, and then facing the Traveling Man in a final confrontation of life and death.

Expect goose bumps to pop up on your arms!

Every Dead Thing is a thick novel of intricate structure, combining three plots that are interconnected with each other.  The first deals with Parker’s quest for revenge as he hunts down the Traveling Man, while the second plot branches off into a journey of utter darkness and abomination, beginning with the disappearance of Catherine Demeter and leading to a monster who gains unimaginable pleasure by torturing and killing little children.  The third plot deals with Parker’s eventual involvement with the New Orleans’ mob and how it ties in with his search for the Traveling Man.

Complex in scope and underlying subplots, Every Dead Thing will not only shock and surprise you, but will also ask you to think about the very nature of evil and its place in our society.  This is definitely not a novel for the lighthearted.  It’s filled with an abundance of violence and death as well as an array of richly drawn characters that reek of unadulterated evil and will terrify you with their utter believability.  Even the heroes (Charlie Parker and his close friends, Angel and Louis) are touched by a certain degree of darkness.  They’re not saints fighting for the goodness of mankind, but rather killers who are more than willing to do whatever it takes to rid the world of these soulless individuals.

John Connolly has written a powerful book that’s entertaining, thought provoking, and truly frightening to the core.  It will leave you wondering about the hundreds of human monsters out there, hiding without our midst.  All we can do is hope there are men like Charlie Parker who aren’t afraid to take these creatures down the hard way.

For readers who enjoy the works of Thomas Harris and James Patterson, pick up a copy of Every Dead Thing.  After you finish reading it, I guarantee you’ll rush out to get the other novels in the unbelievable, electrifying series.

Order Every Dead Thing here!

Rating: 5/5

About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

8 Comments on John Connolly ‘Every Dead Thing’ Review

  1. jameskeen89450 // April 7, 2013 at 8:54 pm // Reply

    A crazily talented scribe. Finished his ‘The Unquiet’ a few weeks ago; creeped the hell out of me. Great review Wayne. I’ll be picking this one up right after I finish ‘The Black Angel’.


  2. Wayne C. Rogers // April 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm // Reply


    Like I do with a dozen of authors I like, I’ll buy John’s newest novel as soon as it comes out and then stick it in a stack of “to be read” books that I never seem to get to. I have three-or-four of the latest Charlie Parker novels to devour. I have so many great books to read by John Connolly, F. Paul Wilson, Tom Piccirilli, John Everson, Ray Garton, Gerald Hourner, Bently Little, Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, the late Richard Laymon & Dave Silva, Rick Hautala, and Robert McCammon and Dean Koontz. And this is just the tip of the iceberg…a few of my horror novels waiting patiently for me to pick them up. I’m not going to mention the Westerns, the Drama, the Thrillers, the Detective, the Crime Noir, and the Spy novels I have boxed up from my last move. I still have King’s Dark Tower series to finish reading. I guess I’m addicted to buying books. :-)) More reviews of some of the other Charlie Parker novels will follow.


    • jameskeen89450 // April 7, 2013 at 11:17 pm // Reply

      I know exactly what you mean, but it’s cool to have a surfeit of stuff and in different genres; it keeps things spicy and interesting. There’s not enough hours in the day for reading, my friend.
      Looking forward to reading more Charlie Parker reviews.


  3. Wayne C. Rogers // April 8, 2013 at 1:30 am // Reply

    I’ll send a review of Dark Hollow next weekend, James. It seems as though there was something I wanted to ask you, but I’ve forgotten what it is. I know Hunter Shea has a book that’s just come out. Do you have anything out? I think I saw your name on something last week and wanted to ask you about it. Now, my mind has gone blank. That’s what the mind does after you hit sixty.


    • jameskeen89450 // April 8, 2013 at 8:28 am // Reply

      No, not me, Wayne. Two failed attempts in the 90’s. And, like everyone else these days, I’m working on something, heh-heh…
      Have not yet come across Dark Hollow. Have you read ‘Bad Men’? I think it’s his only book that doesn’t feature Charlie Parker as the protagonist. Sometimes that allows the author a lot more leeway in terms of storytelling. Jonathan Kellerman wrote a bunch of excellent novels featuring the psychologist Alex Delaware, but I’d argue that Kellerman’s best work was ‘The Butcher’s Theater’, a terrific one-off self-contained novel that didn’t rely on a ‘safe’ and recognizable narrator.
      Look forward to the review, Wayne. Did you manage to read Phases of Gravity yet?


  4. Wayne C. Rogers // April 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm // Reply

    I read Bad Men when it first came out. It is the only novel without Charlie Parker in it. The Dark Hollow was John’s second novel with Parker. I haven’t read Phases of Gravity yet. It’s in my “to be read” stack!


    • jameskeen89450 // April 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm // Reply

      Can’t wait to hear what you think of it. On a side note I understand Ridley Scott has optioned Simmons’ ‘The Terror’. Looks like it’s going to be a mini series on HBO.


  5. Wayne C. Rogers // April 9, 2013 at 12:31 am // Reply

    It’s about time someone did The Terror. Ridley Scott usually does a pretty good job with each outing, so I’m eager to see who he’ll cast in the lead role. My picks would be either Danlel Craig or Clive Owen.


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