There’s a couple of things that keep me coming back to Connolly. One, he hits my prose sweet spot.
“For after Barney Shore had spoken of her, Harlan had become aware of movement in the trees to his right, a roving darkness obscured by the falling snow, as though the mere mention of her existence had somehow drawn the girl to them. He had chosen not to look, though; he feared that was that the girl wanted, because if he looked he might stumble, and if he stumbled, he might break, and if he broke she would fall upon them both, boy and man, and they would be lost to her. It was then that he had called upon his old friend, and he could not have said if Paul had truly come to him or if Harlan had simply created the illusion of his presence as a source of comfort and discipline. All he knew was that a kind of solace came over him, and whatever had been shadowing them in the forest retreated with what might have been a disappointed his or just the sound of a branch surrendering its weight of snow, until at last it was gone from them entirely.”
The second reason is that he blends a sense of supernatural, or otherworldly, or perhaps better, supra-worldly, into the every day world. I find that a fascinating concept to deal with. And last, but very much not least, is that Parker, and by extension Connolly, very much seems to believe in vengeance. Connolly’s pretty clear cut here; though his characters might deal drugs, or do the occasionally smuggling, direct crimes against people are what’s unforgivable. While Parker isn’t always that agent, his investigative work always seems to lead him that direction.
With The Wrath of Angels, I was hoping for a bit more, well, mystical, fallen-angel type action, an elucidation of the greater mystery. Eleventh in the Charlie Parker series, it does sum up the various hints from proceeding books and complies them into a sort of world-view. It also elaborates on the various players on the stage that have become somewhat cyclic. However, I don’t think it advances the overarching story particularly. It does turn out to be an interesting story in this one, albeit slightly padded.
These days, I suspect mood is what ultimately edges a book into ‘good’ instead of a more lukewarm ‘I liked it’ evaluation, and I had this lying around waiting for the right mood. Sure, there were a few too many narratives that kind of felt like padding. And yes, we’re running around the Maine woods again. But I rather like the Maine woods, and the other viewpoints weren’t belabored enough to become boring. I imagine Connolly gets kind of tired of telling the same story, so playing with various viewpoints, including those of the villains, the ambivalent co-conspirators, and the victims, must provide a bit of intellectual stimulation.
At any rate, this was another enjoyable book in the series for me. I think the trick is not to read them too close together. Much better to space this one out, as the publisher intended.
A nice review from Kealan about the book’s shortcomings
And a nice review from Mihir about it’s positives