The Furies

Written by John Connolly

Review written by John Parker

John Parker is a Graduate-qualified English/Spanish Teacher, owner and director of CHAT ENGLISH, an English Language Centre in Avilés on the north coast of Spain . A voracious reader, he has particularly loved horror fiction for many years.

The Furies
Hodder and Stoughton
RRP: £20
Released: August 4 2022

Some time ago, one of my editors suggested that it was unnecessary to mention whether the book I was reviewing happened to be the first, second or even the 100th in a series but as the cover of the new Charlie Parker book itself proudly proclaims, this is the 20th in the series, I shall ignore that advice this time round. 20 books. That is quite an achievement and is to be applauded and celebrated.

The first story has been told before during the lockdown period in early 2020, as most fans will know. Over 64 days, the story of The Sisters Strange unravelled in short bite-sized chapters and very entertaining it was too. But as Connolly has said, it really turned out to be akin to a first draft and so he has reworked it into a fleshed out and superior version.

Ambar and Dolors Strange are sisters who have something in common in their personal lives at the start of the novel; they share the same former lover, a lowlife criminal called Raum Buker. Parker becomes involved when he is hired by a man called Will Quinn who is Dolors´ pretender, who is less than happy to have Buker back on the scene and “stealing” his amour. And Buker is involved in the theft of some coins, which brings him to the attention of a man known as Kepler, a character to fill anyone with dread. He appears to be decaying and dying but what is the cause of this deterioration? And why does Buker smell of burning and why does he scratch desperately at the tattoo on his left arm?

Buker has a room at a cheap motel called The Braycott Arms, a refuge for those with nowhere else to go except the street. The manager Bobby Wadlin is an odious man with the morals of a snake. It is this motel which acts as a bridge between the two stories. In fact, Wadlin plays a bigger role in the second story.

In The Furies, Charlie is hired by Sarah Abelli who was the wife of Nate Sawyer, a mobster turned rat, who was rubbed out by his bosses.  As if that was not enough, her daughter Kara has tragically died in an unfortunate accident. The distraught mother keeps a tin full of reminders of her daughter which is stolen from her by Lyle Pantuff and Gilman Veale, dangerous thugs for hire that are now trying to extort money they think she has hidden somewhere, thanks to her late husband/squealer. But are they working freelance or for the mob?  

And there is more for Charlie to worry about. He is persuaded by an old school friend to rescue her daughter from a domestic abuse case.  The mother fears for her daughter’s life so our favourite detective cannot say no. Charlie has to balance out both cases and is grateful to be helped out by Angel, Louis and the Fulci brothers.

Both stories are truly riveting but I particularly liked the second story, The Furies. At just over 200 pages, it manages to balance all the characters and the two cases with ease. It’s a thriller tinged with the supernatural as is typical of Connolly. There is a marvellous scene in the basement of the Braycroft, reminiscent of the likes of M.R. James where something is there in the shadows… something malevolent?

Over the years, Connolly has refined his own style, while paying homage to some of his favourite writers. In The Sisters Strange, Kepler has seeping sores and suppurations, while Buker is self-harming himself scratching his arm until he bleeds, which harks back to James Lee Burke whose villains who were morally corrupt inside became grotesque on the outside. So, while undoubtedly John has absorbed ideas from other places, as he has grown as a writer - he has developed his very own style. I love his dialogue, his humour, his characterisation, the weird character names!  I admire the way he sets a scene. The history of The Braycroft at the start of The Furies beautifully sets up the novel and really gives you a sense of place. Using the impending lockdown due to Covid-19 really gives the tale a sense of urgency. 

It is an essential read for any fan of the series. Charlie Parker, scourge of evil, last hope of the lost is doing what he always does which is to look out for the downtrodden and the lost souls. But, a warning. Maybe, just maybe, the downtrodden are not as helpless as you might have thought. You have read the title after all, haven’t you?  

Now read this brilliant book and find out.    


Book Reviews
About Us
Contact Us

Privacy Policy | Contact Shots Editor