Irish author John Connolly has never shied away from placing supernatural elements in his crime series, and never has this been more evident than in A Book of Bones. The size and scope of this novel allows for a thorough and fascinating exploration of British folklore, and Connolly uses all that he has found to create a gothic atmosphere of dread. For all of the horror elements present, and there are many, this remains a crime novel with horror shadings rather than the other way around. The inclusion within the story of the local police investigation into the murders helps to ground the book in the physical realm ... Elsewhere, the reasons for Parker’s enduring appeal are all present. The battered detective, gruff and taciturn as he is, remains appealing for his simple refusal to give in. Connolly’s prose is lyrical, almost literary, and his storytelling instincts for plot and pacing are as sound as ever. However, after a very long build up during the story, the final confrontations are too short, almost perfunctory.
Connolly pits private eye Charlie Parker against two of the most intriguing villains he’s created ... This is the seventeenth book in the Parker series, and it’s as fresh and surprising as the first ... The key to the series’ success is the way the author approaches the stories: although these are mysteries with supernatural elements, Connolly writes them as though they were traditional thrillers, with completely believable plots and real-world characters (even the otherworldly ones). Series fans will be thrilled, and, since the author provides a goodly amount of background to the current story, newcomers can jump right in.
Connolly includes enough references to matters outside of the novel’s four corners to give anyone with even a modicum of historical curiosity a plethora of wondrous distraction. For anyone else, his superlative writing is more than enough to carry one through to the terrifying conclusion, where any character can be --- and is --- consigned to the choir invisible ... While Connolly is a master at bringing newcomers up to speed on what has unfolded, those who previously had not visited Charlie Parker’s world will feel compelled to go back and read what has gone before. Please do. You will not be sorry, even when you imagine hearing a tapping at your window.
... difficult reading for several reasons—its extreme length, its wandering story arc, and its disappearing protagonist, just to name a few ... Although the story follows this general arc, Connolly has created so many new characters and places and organizations, and detailed so much backstory for all of them, that the story wanders through a maze of history and crime that leads the reader off track. The story would have potential were it not for these extensive backstories ... While it might be said that some of the information adds depth to Parker’s chase, one wonders if it could not have been done with less extensive wandering detail. It is not until one reads over 400 pages that the story actually starts to pick up speed ... One of the most discouraging things about reading A Book of Bones is that the main protagonist, Charlie Parker, seems to get lost in the mist – disappearing for too many pages and too many chapters – while other new characters have their own story to tell. Charlie’s role as the major protagonist fails ... It should be noted that Connolly writes grisly murder scenes that can disrupt one’s sleep! Now, thrillers are expected to have some grisly scenes, and that is all well and good, but in this book, one loses count of all the murders that take place—good guys, bad guys, and so many in between ... Connolly’s research of real places is excellent; his description clear and visual. His characters are well-developed, and his writing style creates a good story. Perhaps in the next Charlie Parker adventure, he will shave off a paragraph or two of backstory and give Charlie and his other characters more visibility on a regular basis.
... complex, pulse-pounding ... Connolly’s nuanced characterizations and facility at creating spooky atmospherics make it easy to suspend disbelief about the threat of cosmic horror from other dimensions. This underrated author deserves a wider audience.
... a seamless, expansive, and chilling blend of police procedural and gothic horror tale ... The gruesome, straightforward examination that yields this information is the epitome of a police procedural, in great contrast to intervening scenes with Quayle in London. These latter, which Connolly deftly integrates, take on a supernatural, ghostly quality as Connolly suggests Quayle is a force of evil who has lived for centuries ... Connolly freshens what could be another too-familiar doomsday tale with a series of distinctively written—and harrowing—gothic set pieces ... Essentially a series of darkly entertaining yarns perfect for fireside reading late on cold, rainy nights.