The Black Angel Comes To London, John Connolly Intro


A very surprised Peter Guttridge.jpg
A very surprised Peter Guttridge

We’ve not seen much of troubled P.I. Charlie Parker recently, as his creator John Connolly published a standalone ‘Bad Men’ last year, but he did turn up in a novella in Connolly’s short story collection - ‘Nocturnes’ - earlier this year; but Charlie Parker is back, and he’s making up for lost time in the novel ‘The Black Angel’ - published by Hodder Stoughton in the UK and Atria Books in the US.

The new novel by John Connolly has shot straight into the top ten hardcover chart in the UK and it’s of no surprise because ‘The Black Angel’ really thrills as it blends Connolly’s literate prose with the hard-boiled crime genre striated with a dark supernatural streak, creating an unusual ride that takes you straight to hell; but a hell that is merged with our own world and its own latent evil.

This is a dense, heavily plotted and painstakingly researched novel about the search for a powerful religious artifact, which takes the reader from the dark alleys of the US with pimps, prostitutes and gang-bangers right to the borders of Eastern Europe where the evil awaits re-birth in a secluded monastery. Connolly is a master in the creation of villains - and in this outing he really has out-done his previous efforts, because the array of baddies is terrifying.

I’m always amused at how such an affable chap such as John Connolly can write such dark and disturbing tales, and believe me I’m not the only one - because many of his colleagues in the world of crime / mystery fiction turned out to support him launch his latest novel ‘The Dark Angel’ [Tuesday 26th April]. Hodder had picked the perfect gothic location - the aptly named, ‘The Crypt’ just off Trafalgar Square.

Inside we were greeted to some fine wine, and the finger-buffet was really top notch especially the spicy sausages. I spotted the crime-writer and stand-up comic Mark Billingham who freely admitted that he’d eaten about thirty of the sausages, cracking jokes about his digestive system with John Connolly. I noticed that London crime-writers Denis Danks and Mark Timlin appeared. Timlin’s opus ‘Answers from the Grave’ is currently selling well, but he’s currently working with Denise on a TV project. Timlin achieved fame with his Nick Sharman novels which were filmed for TV and helped launched Clive Owen’s career. It would be good to see Timlin back on TV, especially his gangster epic ‘Answers from the Grave’. Other writers who came in support included Martyn Waites, Peter Guttridge and Paul Charles.

Connolly was introduced by Kerry Hood of Hodder and asked to give a speech. John is a great orator and he gave a wonderfully amusing tirade about life, religion and writing. He also thanked the ‘same-old-faces’ for the support he has received over the years, naming Mike Stotter of Shots Magazine and Barry Forshaw of Crime Time Magazine for special thanks.

Connolly has produced a promotional CD of music entitled ‘Voices from the Dark’ to accompany his writing. The CD is an eclectic mix of artists such as Kate Bush, Lambchop, The Walkabouts and many other quirky groups.

Afterward, Connolly mingled with the hundred guests, signing books, and eating sausages as well as cracking jokes. We caught him later with his agent, the legendry Darley Anderson and his UK editor Sue Fletcher.

Hodder have pulled out all the stops for ‘The Black Angel’ and after reading it last week, I think that they are right - This is a big and dark book. If you like crime fiction dark with a literary flourish - check out Connolly’s latest - but beware, it has teeth.

Barry Forshaw with Sue Fletcher and  Kerry Hood.jpg
Barry Forshaw with Sue Fletcher and Kerry Hood
Darley Anderon (agent), Sue Fletcher (editor) withJohn Connolly.jpg
Darley Anderon (agent), Sue Fletcher (editor) withJohn Connolly
Denise Danks and Mark Timlin.jpg
Denise Danks and Mark Timlin
John Connolly and Friend.jpg
John Connolly and Friend
John Connolly and Mark Timlin.jpg
John Connolly and Mark Timlin
John Connolly getting into the spirit of things .jpg
John Connolly getting into the spirit of things
John Connolly greets Paul Blezzard and Mark Billingham.jpg
John Connolly greets Paul Blezzard and Mark Billingham
John Connolly thanks a few people.jpg
John Connolly thanks a few people
Liz Thalia and Mr E.jpg
Liz Thalia and Mr E
Mike Carlson and John Connolly.jpg
Mike Carlson and John Connolly
Mike Ripley surrounded by the infamous Sausage Brothers Mark Billingham and Martyn Waites.jpg
Mike Ripley surrounded by the infamous Sausage Brothers Mark Billingham and Martyn Waites
Mike Stotter and Paul Charles.jpg
Mike Stotter and Paul Charles
The Crypt in London.jpg
The Crypt in London

© 2005 Ali Karim


Top of page

  Webmaster: Tony 'Grog' Roberts        [Contact]