Title: The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller
Author: John Connolly
No. of Pages: 432
Origins: Atria Books
Release Date: 28 October 2014
Bottom Line: I now want to read all of the Charlie Parker series
“The community of Prosperous, Maine has always thrived when others have suffered. Its inhabitants are wealthy, its children’s future secure. It shuns outsiders. It guards its own. And at the heart of Prosperous lie the ruins of an ancient church, transported stone by stone from England centuries earlier by the founders of the town…
But the death of a homeless man and the disappearance of his daughter draw the haunted, lethal private investigator Charlie Parker to Prosperous. Parker is a dangerous man, driven by compassion, by rage, and by the desire for vengeance. In him the town and its protectors sense a threat graver than any they have faced in their long history, and in the comfortable, sheltered inhabitants of a small Maine town, Parker will encounter his most vicious opponents yet.
Charlie Parker has been marked to die so that Prosperous may survive.
Prosperous, and the secret that it hides beneath its ruins…”
Thoughts: As this is the twelve book in the Charlie Parker series, one would not recommend starting the series with The Wolf in Winter. While it is not impossible to understand the story, most of the novel references previous Parker adventures. In order to get a full appreciation for Parker and his nemeses, one really should have his backstory well in hand.
There is a delightful hint of the supernatural in The Wolf in Winter but at no point in time does the story become wholly unbelievable or mired in fantasy. In fact, the resolution of the novel is concrete and realistic. The supernatural element is intriguing, but more importantly, it enhances the sinister mood of the story. Not only that but it adds a layer of urgency to the proceedings because of its nebulous nature.
Charlie Parker is a mysterious character, rather noir and decidedly more intelligent than he appears to others. As with the detective Columbo, it makes for interesting reading to watch him collect answers without appearing obvious to those he is questioning. In most other ways, he is a stereotypical private detective, complete with emotional baggage and a strong moral compass. Rather than becoming stale however, in this instance, he becomes an effective epicenter for the story.
Thrillers are always a fast, enjoyable reading experience, and The Wolf in Winter is no different. The atmosphere is appropriately spooky, the characters mysterious, and the action dark and moody. Added to that is the hints of supernatural underpinnings and one heck of a cliffhanger to make a great way to spend a weekend afternoon.