A first novel.
It's a good idea to avoid reading John Connolly's debut novel on a full stomach. His descriptions of mutilated murder victims give him honorary membership in the gore wars club. Every Dead Thing is a fast-paced piece of fiction from an author whose regular stomping ground is as a journalist for the Irish Times.
NYPD detective Charlie "Bird" Parker was busy boozing at Tom's Oak Tavern when his wife Susan, and young daughter Jennifer were mutilated by a killer called the Traveling Man. Consumed by guilt and alcoholism, Charlie soon lost his job, and almost his sanity. Several months on he is sober and ready to get his life back in order. Charlie takes up private investigating. One of his first cases involves the disappearance of a woman called Catherine Demeter. At first this puzzle seems unrelated to the Traveling Man--but Charlie has a gut feeling that the slayer is pulling the strings. "I dreamed of Catherine Demeter surrounded by darkness and flames and the bones of dead children. And I knew then that some terrible blackness had descended upon her."
The search for Catherine takes Charlie on a whirlwind tour of the South. First to the small Virginian town of Haven, where, some 30 years before, Catherine's sister Amy was murdered, along with other local children. But the trail turns cold--until a tip from a psychic leads Charlie to the swamplands of Louisiana. The subplots of Catherine's disappearance, age-old child murders, and the slaying of the Parker family finally unite in the hot, humid terrain. A showdown with the Traveling Man is inevitable.
Every Dead Thing is classic American crime fiction, and it's hard to believe that John Connolly was born and raised on the Emerald Isle.
Source: Naomi Gesinger, Amazon.com.