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The Lovers by John Connolly

I tell myself that this is not an investigation. It is for others to be investigated, but not for my family and not for me. I will delve into the lives of strangers, and I will expose their secrets and their lies ... but I do not want to pick and scratch in such a way at what I have always believed of my mother and father. They are gone. Let them sleep.

But there are too many questions left unanswered, too many inconsistencies in the narrative constructed of their lives, a tale told by them ... I can no longer allow them to remain unexamined.

from page 3

So John Connolly released the latest installment of the saga that is Charlie Parker's life earlier this month and I finally got my hands on a copy, read it, and was not disappointed. This new novel is narrated by Parker and focuses on his story; Connolly's previous novel, The Reapers, focused on Louis and Angel. The Lovers returns to the questions first raised about Parker's parentage and history by the Collector in the novel The Black Angel, which was two novels ago (not counting The Reapers) in the Parker series.

Parker, still deprived of his private investigator license and his permit to carry a concealed weapon, works as a bar manager in Maine. Forced to refrain from conducting any formal investigations, Parker is left with time on his hands and, thus, decides this is the perfect time to look into his past and his father's past. Specifically, Parker wishes to know more about the events surrounding the night that his father, an NYPD officer, shot and killed two seemingly innocent teenagers one night before killing himself hours later. Parker wants to know why: why did his father shoot the boy and the girl in cold blood and why did he then kill himself hours later after returning home? Why did his mother always seem emotionally distant from him at times throughout his childhood? Why are two lovers, a man and a woman, determined to see him dead? Parker quickly discovers there are inconsistencies in the very fabric of his own history and in the very essence of all that he once believed true about his own origins. He discovers there are inconsistencies in the account of events surrounding the deaths of the two teenagers and his father as related to Parker by his father's best friend and patrol partner years later. These are not the only problems Parker has to deal with in his life. There is also his relationship with his estranged girlfriend that continues to dissolve. And there is also the writer who has decided to dig into Parker's life and lay out his secrets past and present in a tell-all book about how Parker has made it his life's mission to destroy evil--whether or not Parker cooperates with him. And interwoven with Parker's tale is the story of a girl named Emily who has been running for years from something dark that finds her no matter where she hides. How is her story connected to Parker's?

This is a gripping, engrossing, lyrically written page turner; the story goes fast, and while many questions are answered about Parker's history, others are left unanswered and others are raised. For example, what exactly is Parker's purpose on this earth? Why is evil drawn to him and why does it want him destroyed? I highly recommend you check out this book the next time you visit the library--you won't regret it. And I know that, like me, you'll be looking forward to the next chapter in the Parker series after you finish this one. Parker's story is one you'll think about long after you've read the latest installment.

The Lovers is available at Matthews Public Library.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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