I have a friend who is originally from the States and I recently told her that, of all the places in the USA, I’d love to visit Maine first. She looked at me with a mix of pity and confusion: “Why?”
My interest goes quite far back. It was first sparked when I started reading Stephen King, who sets many of his stories in and around Maine. But more recently my fascination was rekindled by an author much closer to our shores: John Connolly. His Charlie Parker series, starting with Every Dead Thing, brought me right back into those deep woods of Maine. They center on a former police officer turned private eye, (quite literally) haunted by the murder of his wife and child.
There is a lot of good crime and thriller literature out there, but Connolly’s books are stand-outs. The writing is a joy to read: the gritty hard-boiled detective style is layered with sparkling prose and refreshing wit, creating something utterly unique. The characters are so vivid and well-rounded, and their faces and voices described with such a sure hand, that you expect them to walk around the next corner. Charlie Parker would be on the top of my list of literary dinner guests. I’d also set places for his sidekicks Louis and Angel (a professional killer with an exceptional sense of style and an equally professional burglar with no sense of style whatsoever — they also happen to be lovers).
Finally, there is Charlie Parker’s world: killings, cold cases, missing persons — solid detective thriller material. But then Connolly takes you on a whole other ride while staying true to his base line: very subtly something else creeps onto the page. Dark and evil things reveal their influence over each of Charlie’s cases and the reader will quickly realise that much more is at stake than just solving the next crime.
For me there is something profound, almost philosophical, to each book (there are currently 18 titles in the series) that I haven’t found in many others. I would invite you most sincerely to join Charlie Parker and let him show you the Honeycomb World beneath your feet.