This is the 14th book in the Charlie Parker series and possibly not the strongest best remembered. A strange community "The Cut" are an enclosed society within Plassey County in West Virginia. They resist all help and do not welcome interference from an outside world, preferring to administer their own archaic form of justice by extortion, bullying and annihilation of perceived enemies, and those who would seek to undermine their way of life. Into this complex and dangerous situation enters our hero Charlie Parker tasked with locating a vanished girl and unmasking the legend of The Dead King. As ever he is accompanied by his able assistants Angel and Louis always with potential to call for assistance from the "Fulci" brothers if life becomes tough!
It is however the tormented and restless soul of Parker that we the reader love. This flawed hero not only laments and worships the loss of his family but also communicates with his dead daughter Jennifer always hoping to find some peace and perhaps soon to be with her on the other side. It is this dark aspect to Connolly's novels that make his books so readable, the sadness that is a permanent companion to a still great detective...."But it was his gaze that was most altered. If it were true what they said about the eyes being the windows to the soul, then Parker's soul burned with a new fire. His eyes held a calm conviction that Dave had not seen in them before. This was a fundamentally changed man, one who had come back strengthened, not weakened, by what he had endured, but who was also both less and more than he once had been.
In a long running series there will naturally be preferential novels more liked and suited to different readers. Whilst no John Connolly story is anything less than excellent my own personal favourites are A Song of Shadow, The Wrath of Angels and Every Dead Thing (where it all began) JC is a truly unique talent, and having made his acquaintance at a book gathering in Bath UK last year, a most genuine and gracious man always showing great respect and reverence to his adoring public!