Rereading the first book in your favourite series is like revisiting a cherished memory. Your first kiss, the first time your dad bollocked you for coming home drunk spending five minutes trying to get the key in the door, getting louder by the minute. When you wrote knob on next doors lawn with weed killer or even taking a screenshot of mum's desktop, hiding all the icons and then using it as the wallpaper, ok maybe not that cherished but you know what I mean, or is that just me.
This time I listened to the audio of Every Dead Thing narrated by the excellent Jeff Harding and it’s a whole new experience, the characters you love have a voice and the stories that little bit more riveting than it was before. Charlie, Angel and Louis come to life and the wry humour that slithers between the emotion and horror is just as memorable.
‘Man, you like the Peace Corps,’ whispered Louis. ‘Make friends wherever you go.’
‘Thanks,’ I replied. ‘It’s a gift.’
This is of course Charlie Parker and the hunt for two serial killers, one that takes children and one known as the Traveling Man who takes faces. While he's in a bar getting drunk his wife and daughter are murdered and presented to him in a macabre artistic pose. The details are horrific and drip feed as we go through the story. And when the Traveling Man rings Bird and speaks through voice altering software it's absolutely gripping.
'They come to me sometimes, in the margin between sleeping and waking, when the streets are silent in the dark or as dawn seeps through the gap in the curtains, bathing the room in a dim, slow-growing light. They come to me and I see their shapes in the gloom, my wife and child together, watching me silently, ensanguined in unquiet death. They come to me, their breath in the night breezes that brush my cheek and their fingers in the tree branches tapping on my window.'
The supernatural elements are merely hinted at there's much more to come, this is devastation and retribution and the start of a journey for Bird. He looks into a case pushed his way and soon enough, child killers, the mafia and phone calls come to taunt him, Death and darkness follow him and the start of something new, a relationship develops where you would least expect it and danger is significant, no one is safe.
This was John Connollys first novel and its simply astounding, told in first person, Charlie Parker is a complex character and you live the exaltation and frenzy of each revelation with him as things slowly click into place and it leaves you breathless. These are characters you come to know and associate with, look forward to reuniting with at the time of each release. There's always an intriguing little tale from the past, this time it's Daddy Helms, broken windows and fire ants. If you're waiting for the end of the series before dipping your toes, then luckily, for me anyway, it doesn't show any signs of reaching a conclusion and I hope it doesn't for a long long time.
The audio is worth 5* so I'm uprating, cause I can and if you haven't started John Connollys Charlie Parker series then you are seriously missing out. Every Dead Thing was nominated for Bram Stokers best first novel award, didn't win, were they mad.
‘He doesn’t give a damn about the next world,’ I said. ‘He’s only concerned with the damage he can do in this one.’