5 stars out of 5
By and large, paranormal, supernatural "stuff" just isn't my thing (with nods to the late Rod Serling's Twilight Zone and nobody-does-it-better Stephen King). But there's just something about P.I. Charlie Parker - the lead character here who actually died three times and now has a special connection to (or at least understanding of) otherworldly beings - that I just can't resist. And like the previous installments I've read, this one certainly didn't disappoint.
The appearance of characters from past books like Parker's faithful sidekicks Angel and Louis, his estranged wife Rachel and their daughter Samantha (the latter of whom shares her father's paranormal insights plus has a few notable ones of her own) makes this one extra-special for faithful readers, but there's more than enough background provided for newbies to follow along quite nicely. That said, I'm glad I read a few from the past, but that's just because they're all so doggoned enjoyable.
This one begins in Portland, Maine, on Feb. 1 and the onslaught of winter. Parker, still battered and torn from his many previous injuries, gets called in by the FBI's Edgar Ross, for whom Parker somewhat reluctantly works off and on. For an unexplained reason, Ross wants to find a missing private detective named Jaycob Eklund, who works with the FBI in a fashion similar to Parker. Eklund, it seems, has been sniffing around a series of homicides and disappearances, all of which took place amid hauntings of some kind.
The trail leads Parker in and out of a shadowy world that includes a secret group known as The Brethren and their "enforcer," a criminal empire led by a woman called Mother and poignant exchanges between Parker's close friends Angel and Louis. In the midst of all this, Parker must deal with Rachel's insistence on keeping their young daughter safe at all costs - even if that means away from her loving father whose life is mostly spent in a danger zone not known by "regular" human beings. The ending is satisfying and complete, although a few threads are left that no doubt will be woven into the next book. Can't wait!
A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly (Atria/Emily Bestler Books, July 2017); 465 pp.