When Hard Boiled & Gothic Collide
The Wrath of Angels by John Connolly
The Wrath Of Angels is one of those pivotal books in a series. It shows the hero in a different light, redefining him at times, and sets him on a new course. When the hero has history like the haunted ex-private eye, Charlie Parker, you know it’s something serious.
John Connolly shows off his writing chops in the first section of the book, when a woman is sent to Charlie by her dying uncle. While out hunting, her uncle and a friend discovered a crashed plane in the woods. The prose seamlessly moves between the tale of the crash and Charlie’s questioning of the woman. It appears that the woods have “claimed” the plane, which holds a list of people who made deals with the devil. Charlie’s name could be on that list.
A race is on to find the list, involving many characters who have appeared in previous Parker novels. In many ways the book is a semi-sequel to The Black Angel. The Believers return, and the bad-ass rabbi, Epstein, once again serves as a shaky ally. As always, Charles has the lethal gay couple, Angel and Louis, to back him up. If things weren’t tough enough, Charlie’s old nemesis, The Collector, is also after the list.
There are also a few new villains in play. It appears the list is involved in a power play using a second rate Rush Limbaugh to put the country in a panic. With Connolly, media and politics can be as evil as the Devil.
As usual it’s the writing that makes this book tick. Connolly’s prose has a gothic, old world feel combined with modern hard boiled dialogue. Charlie speaks and thinks in flippant PI asides as he walks in a world that is practically classic myth. By grounding the story in Charlie’s emotions and life, the mythic and horror elements are believable to the reader. It’s there where the hard boiled and really gothic meet.
The Wrath Of Angels is a hard book to review.To go into greater detail would give away too many reveals and surprises. We do get a bit more insight into the question of whether or not Parker is a fallen angel. Just know that this book is a great, epic time spent with friends and enemies.
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