“Mr. Connolly’s slam-bang thriller is studded with memorable characters and boasts cliffhangers within cliffhangers.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Brilliant...Connolly is writing at the top of his game.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
The New York Times bestselling author of A Book of Bones and “one of the best thriller writers we have” (Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author) goes back to the very beginning of Private Investigator Charlie Parker’s astonishing career with his first terrifying case.
It is 1997, and someone is slaughtering young women in Burdon County, Arkansas.
But no one in the Dirty South wants to admit it.
In an Arkansas jail cell sits a former NYPD detective, stricken by grief. He is mourning the death of his wife and child, and searching in vain for their killer. Obsessed with avenging his lost family, his life is about to take a shocking turn.
Witness the dawning of a conscience.
Witness the birth of a hunter.
Witness the becoming of Charlie Parker.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
How does a grieving young man turn into a hardboiled, relentless detective? John Connolly’s long-running Charlie Parker series travels back in time to answer that question. Set in 1997, The Dirty South finds the former New York cop mourning the sudden loss of his wife and child and asking questions about the murders of three Black girls in rural Arkansas. Connolly digs into the racial tensions and corporate chicanery that complicate the case—and that land Charlie squarely on the local police force’s bad side. Longtime fans of Connolly’s gritty hero will love finding out more about his origin story, including his first meeting with a couple of helpful friends. But newcomers don’t need to worry that they’re missing anything in this self-contained mystery—and this book will inspire them to dive into the rest of the series.
Supernatural noir fans will relish Connolly's excellent 18th thriller featuring PI Charlie Parker (after 2019's A Book of Bones), an origin story set in 1999. The murder of Parker's wife and daughter ended his career as an NYPD detective, but the ghosts of his loved ones still literally haunt him, and the tragedy may have turned him into a vigilante who beat a child predator to death. Parker's hunt for his family's killer takes him to impoverished Burdon County, Ark., where someone, possibly the same person he's seeking, has been murdering teenage girls. One possible victim, Patricia Hartley, was ruled to have died accidentally, despite the placement of branches in her vagina and throat. During a chance encounter in a Cargill, Ark., bar between Parker and Evander Griffin, the town's police chief, the conversation turns hostile after they get on the topic of Hartley's death. Parker later learns that Griffin wants the murders hushed up to avoid losing a lucrative business opportunity for the county. Brilliant descriptions of the setting (a lake "seemed to consume light") enhance this intelligent and subtle suspense novel. Connolly is writing at the top of his game.
The Dirty South
Another truly great story from start to finish. I find Mr. Connolly’s books hard to put down. I hope he keeps the Charlie Parker series going. He is my favorite series character. And now I await the next book.