Review: A Time of Torment

BTime of Tormenty John Connolly

Hodder, out April 7

A strange isolated community called the Cut attracts Charlie Parker’s attention…

As he promised in his interview with SFB last year, John Connolly is starting to provide some of the explanations in his Charlie Parker series of novels – but, as will come as no surprise to anyone who’s read any of the previous books, the answers are wrapped up within a story that grips you on the first page, and ends with a major jolt, as a key player in the saga starts to show their abilities more openly. Connolly seems to effortlessly juggle about seven different plotlines without ever losing the reader, and combines some seriously scary scenes with pithily expressed insights into human nature.

A Time of Torment is another third-person narrative, which allows the author to inveigle the reader inside the heads of some of the nastiest characters he’s created for the series – as well as providing us with some scenes from some surprising perspectives. There’s at least one chapter that threw me initially but which answers some questions I didn’t even realise I had about the ongoing plotlines.

That’s not to say in the slightest that you can’t pick this one up without having read the earlier books: Parker’s losses, and what has brought him to his current state are recapitulated sufficiently. It’s a sometimes violent noir thriller that gets even darker as the supernatural elements come increasingly into play, and it’s good to see Parker continuing to act as a private detective, investigating things with the aid of Angel, Louis and a few other helpers – before becoming a vengeful figure empowered by and battling things that are not of our realm.

Verdict: I’ve described the previous two Charlie Parker novels as amongst the best in the series; Connolly does more than simply maintain this standard with A Time of Torment. Put simply, this is the best one yet. 10/10

Paul Simpson

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