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Publisher's Summary

Have faith. I will find you.

Former NYPD detective Charlie "Bird" Parker is on the verge of madness. Tortured by the unsolved slayings of his wife and young daughter, he is a man consumed by guilt, regret, and the desire for revenge.

When his former partner asks him to track down a missing girl, Parker finds himself drawn into a world beyond his imagining - one where 30 year old killings remain shrouded in fear and lies, a world where the ghosts of the dead torment the living, a world haunted by the murderer responsible for the deaths in his family, a serial killer unlike any other, a monster who uses the human body to create works of art and takes faces as his prize. But the search awakens buried instincts in Parker: instincts for survival, for compassion, for love, and, ultimately, for killing.

Aided by a beautiful young psychologist and a pair of career criminals, he becomes the bait in a trap set in the humid bayous of Louisiana, a trap that threatens the lives of everyone in its reach. Driven by visions of the dead and the voice of an old black psychic who met a terrible end, Parker must seek a final, brutal confrontation with a murderer who has moved beyond all notions of humanity, who has set out to create a hell on earth: the serial killer known only as the Travelling Man.

In the tradition of classic American detective fiction, Every Dead Thing is a tense, richly-plotted thriller, filled with memorable characters and gripping action. It is also a profoundly moving novel, concerned with the nature of loyalty, of love, and of forgiveness. Lyrical and terrifying, it is an ambitious debut, triumphantly realized.

©2012 John Connolly (P)2012 Simon & Schuster, Inc

Critic Reviews

"A stunner...as riveting and chilling as The Silence of the Lambs." (San Francisco Examiner)
"Every Dead Thing is intelligent, deep, and literate, and it is difficult to believe that this is John Connolly's first novel, so confident is the writing.... Buy it and be scared." (The Saturday Times, London)
"[A] darkly ingenious debut novel." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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Horrible narration

I actually enjoyed the book. It was classic Connolly, with maybe even a bit of Dave Robicheaux's South Louisiana tossed in, for good measure. Not great literature, but a much better than average detective novel.

The real problem was with the narrator. Yes, I know that he made no real attempt to add a serious Louisiana accent, and I can deal with that, since some accents are very tough to get right. Or, in the case of a Scottish accent, if you get it right, the narration is totally unintelligible. The problem is that there were 1/2 dozen words that he completely mispronounced. Since some of them were place names and not just N'Awleans, but when he mispronounces Metarie, Ponchartrain, etc. and they are words/place names that come up repeatedly, it's like fingernails on a chalk board. It should have been basic research to check on those names.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Brief, he ain't

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This boy's need to impress defiles his ability to convince. Like most Irish ( my Irish Catholic Law Professor Father-in-law was testament to the verbosity of the breed) Connolly's deluge of description at times withers the reader. We get it, and would prefer moving along in the plot. If I get lost in lyricism or minutiae, my interest in the story can be obscured. My Grandmother used to say, frequently, that, "Enough is too much". Connolly would do well to heed these words. He is a talented story-teller and his imagination is refreshing in a crowded field. But his work, as fine as it may be, strains to keep interest. His plotting is overly complex and he should get to the point much earlier and save those of us that appreciate his prose an exercise in tolerance.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Appropriate

Was Every Dead Thing worth the listening time?

Nope. Too long. Like taking the 'wrong way'

Any additional comments?

"Every time we praise a literary book for its heft, we contribute to a kind of aesthetic confusion." Anon

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Story vs Narrator

What made the experience of listening to Every Dead Thing the most enjoyable?

I love Charlie Parker and all of his retinue but I had issues with the narrator! He mispronounced his butt off! He made so many mispronunciations, so often it really detracted from the overall experience. <br/><br/>I've read a few of the later CP novels and loved the blend of detectives + supernatural scary stuff! Mr. Harding's sterile, high school biology teacher's delivery of the material was only exacerbated by his weird pronunciations of mainstream locations and terms. <br/><br/>Maybe I'm being a pain in the *ss but there was so much of it I couldn't get away from it.<br/><br/>I look forward to future CP stories but not with this narrator! <br/>

Who was your favorite character and why?

I enjoy Louie and Angel. They are a gay couple who break all mainstream perceptions of male homosexual couples! They are total badasses! Louie is a scary dude and Angel is no slouch!

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

I've already whined about the narration.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Ummm no, not extreme.

Any additional comments?

I have always enjoyed the depth of the stories and the characters of the CP novels. The author strikes unexpected nails. He mentions the horrors of being a teenager thrown into a trunk and smelling the biological smells of those who preceded him in the trunk as they faced impending doom. His description of many of his characters leave me feeling a little creepy, somewhat uncomfortable... this is what I pay for in a story!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • United States
  • 11-18-12

Excellent story, mediocre narrator

Would you try another book from John Connolly and/or Jeff Harding?

I adore John Connolly and all his Charlie Parker books. Jeff Harding, not so much.

What other book might you compare Every Dead Thing to and why?

Hum. Interesting question. Maybe Dennis Lehane's Kenzie &Gennaro series. I can't think of any other writer who marries mystery with supernatural undertones and makes the characters so flawed and yet still likable.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jeff Harding?

RAY PORTER. The other readers who have done this series either make Charlie sound too old or totally get Angel and Louis wrong.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Please, Audio Gods, let me win the lottery so I can hire Ray Porter to read this entire series to me!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Jeff Harding HOLY CRAP DO U SPEAK ENGLISH!!

I know the beach is RE-ho-bith! NOT RE-hee-buth!! And Katherine Demitter is pronounced DeMeter!! THERE ARE SO MANY MIS-pronunciations you should give back the payment!!! It totally detracted from the story! I cant count how many words you mispronounced. It screws uo the audible experience. Shame on the people who paid you!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Lola
  • Miami Beach, Fl
  • 08-27-15

Clever Twists and Turns Story&Narration is Good

I'm not sure why some are critical of the narrator. He is as good as most. Anyway, after hearing the first in this series, I plan on going through them all. I love finding a new writer/character to follow.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Whispersync Really Works!

This is actually my first time re-reading Connolly's Charlie Parker series consecutively. When the latest book was delayed in arriving, I decided to stop putting off the pleasure of reading them all over again, further delaying the delight of reading the latest novel in the series. But, for this first book in the series, I quickly realized that I had loaned out my copy and decided on an impulse to purchase the audio and Kindle versions and try out the Whispersync.

Not only was as I as impressed as ever with Connolly's writing, but I enjoyed switching seamlessly between the two versions. The performer's voice does not quite match up with what I had envisioned, but after some time, I grew accustomed to his cadence and for the most part, it wasn't too distracting (though Louis and Angel's voices made me wince the first few times...). Connolly's rich writing translates well to an audio version though and I love re-discovering this first appearance of the characters. I had forgotten how much I had initially liked Rachel in particular. And I had completely forgotten how much of this one takes place in New Orleans! When I first read this series, I had not ever been there, and now that I have, I think I enjoyed this one even more the second time around!

And while the identity of the Traveling Man was not a surprise to me (his identity was pretty memorable), I genuinely enjoyed re-reading (and listening!) to this one! Connolly consistently maintains the suspense quite well and weaves a surprisingly complex plot with enough legs to grow this series into its current length (and well beyond, I hope!). It is a tightly written book that I think a lesser writer would have turned into a trilogy with just this plot. What a treat to enjoy again!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK, United States
  • 01-16-15

Should have been two novels

This is the first I have read from this author and I have mixed feelings. Part one and two could have been the first book as the other half seemed totally different. Some of the book was psychological thriller which was great and the author has a beautiful way with his words. On the other hand, other parts felt like a scene from good fellas and I didn't enjoy it. It was like two genres of books were made into one book. I don't know if I'll read the next. Fifteen hours is a big time investment and the ending left me feeling unsatisfied.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephen
  • Silver Spring, MD, United States
  • 04-17-13

Awful Beyond Description

What disappointed you about Every Dead Thing?

To call it warmed over James Lee Burke (the mysticism of the Bayou), Robert B. Parker (the relationship between the protagonist and his love interest and his relationship with violent criminal colleagues with a heart of gold) and Mickey Spillane (violence) would be a disservice to those writers. This was absolutely wretched. Predictable and boring. The only audio book that I hated more was The Gray Man by Mark Greaney. REALLY avoid that one. I have read (probably way too much) crime fiction. I love it. This book seemed like the author learned all of the cliches but none of what makes the best of crime fiction transcend the genre.

What was most disappointing about John Connolly’s story?

Even the action scenes were boring. I found my mind wandering as the bodies piled up. I fired off two quick shots from the blah blah blah... The tragedy that Parker faces at the beginning of the book doesn't seem to phase him. He tells us it does but nowhere does he show us that it does. The book is also predictable. If you have read 2 or more crime fiction novels in your life you will be way ahead of the plot.

How could the performance have been better?

It would be nice if the narrator learned how to properly pronounce words. His mispronunciations, especially of locations where the pronunciation can easily be discovered (my favorite was Ro-hee-buth for Rehoboth Beach, DE), are really distracting. The narrator seemed to have no interest in proper pronunciation. There were more mispronunciations from this reader than I have heard in all the other books I have listened to combined.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Sorry to say it did not.

Any additional comments?

Avoid this book! It is the first one for which I am going to seek a refund from Audible.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • Bartonville, TX
  • 09-12-17

Okay...

It was not as good as I hoped it would be, the series is so well liked I thought it would be a better start. There are so many characters it was hard to get attached to the story. Given the opportunity I probably would read other books in the series.