Title – The Wrath of Angels
Author – John Connolly
A plane wreckage is found deep in the woods of Maine, there are no bodies but a satchel of money. More money than the two men who have found it have ever seen. Good men. Honest men. Tempted men. They do something that they would never have done before and take the list. Doing this they set in motion a series of events that would end up hurting those they love and bringing forth a malevolence that they had never known. An evil that doesn’t care about the money. It cares about the list of names that was concealed in the missing plane as well.
Charlie Parker is a private detective who specializes in malevolence. Charlie has made a career of hunting those things that go bump in the night. The list of names is a record of those who have made deals with the devil. People and spirits that work on the side of evil. Only for some strange reason, Parker’s name is on that list as well. Now those who stood with him before, question who Parker serves.
“..But there was one other who had been intimately involved in the matter of Brightwell and the Believers, one who knew more than anyone else about the bodies that decayed but did not die, and migrating spirits, more perhaps than he had even admitted to me. His name was Epstein, and he was a rabbi, and a grieving father, and a hunter of fallen angels…”
Aided only by his closest allies, Louise and Angel, Charlie Parker must find the wreckage and retrieve the list before any one else does. It is his only hope to clear his name.
In his way is a demon and her child, a serial killer known only as the Collector who kills those who are evil and now believes Parker to be among the damned; and a small spirit child who seeks to trap those in the woods and keep them with her.
“..It was to Harlan, and to Harlan alone, that Barney Shore told the tale of the girl in the woods, a girl with sunken eyes, and wearing a black dress, who had come to him with the first touch of snow, inviting him to follow her deeper into the woods, calling on him to play with her in the northern darkness…”
Parker must face an evil greater than any he has faced before. A serial killer that judges his soul and a spirit that wants to keep it. Parker, who after his long journey of redemption, is not sure how much of a fight he wants to put up to save what is left of his soul.
The Charlie Parker series just won’t stop! Each novel adds to the mythos that John Connolly has created around his paranormal detective yet stands solely on its own. There is not one that simply leads to the next. This is the 11th in the series and we can only hope it will go on and on.
To really appreciate the darkness that is the Charlie Parker novels you have to pick up other writing by John Connolly. The Samuel Johnson stories for young adults. The Book of Lost Things. The fairy tale stories laced with humor and wit. Turning the dwarves of Snow White into socialist activists who fight for better working conditions and fairer wages is short of brilliant. I wont tell you what book that is in, you’ll just have to look for yourself.
The darkness of the Charlie Parker series would be overwhelming if not for the moments of wit Connolly has infused into the narrative. The scene in the ice cream parlor where Angel and Louis have to control themselves when a group of drunk men get out of hand, only because Parker’s young daughter is with them. It doesn’t matter, because she tells her mom anyway how Angel cursed and Louis threatened to shoot someone.
There are real characters here that take over sections of the novel that you come to care about greatly. Characters that live and breath in you mind long after the last page is turned and the book put away.
But it is Parker and his struggle that is central to the novel. It is the binding principle throughout the entire series. How far can Parker go before he slips into the evil that is waiting for him. How close is he and is that why his name appears on the list? How much more in cost can Charlie Parker pay? A wife and child tortured and murdered. His career gone. Friends and family disowning him or dying at the hands of those he hunts. Another wife and child lost to him for their own safety. The whispers in the woods from the dead child that was his daughter. The bitterness that only the hunt will salve.
Parker is on the side of the Angels. But which ones. The Better Angels or the Fallen ones.
Another awesome read from John Connolly.