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Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Louis, the likeable but incredibly violent fella who frequently turns up in Connolly’s Charlie Parker novels as a supporting player, has occasionally taken the lead role (see, for example, 2005’s The Black Angel and 2008’s The Reapers). He does it again here, heading off to Europe with his partner, Angel, to track down a team of assassins that murdered Louis’s close friend. Violence ensues. Charlie does appear in the book, but in a distinctly minor role: this is Louis’s book, and Connolly seems really to be enjoying the opportunity to get the character on the road and open him up. Charlie's a fascinating character, a stone-cold killer with a warm personality and a clear-cut sense of right and wrong, and readers will learn a few new things about him as he tracks down the people who killed his friend. As always, the writing is exquisite: Connolly is a supremely talented storyteller, a genuine craftsman, and his books are a joy to read. Libraries should expect high demand for this one.


Library Journal
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Four associates of the notorious assassin known only as Louis are found brutally slaughtered in a house along a quiet Amsterdam canal, and the culprits—Serbian war criminals—scurry back home with the conviction that they will never be apprehended. Louis easily tracks down five of the killers, but there's a sixth to uncover—and somehow Connolly stalwart Charlie Parker gets dragged into this chase. With a 75,000-copy first printing.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A dark thriller by the author of The Dirty South (2020), featuring bloodthirsty veterans of the Balkan wars and occasional appearances by private detective Charlie Parker and his late daughter, Jennifer. An aging Dutch criminal and his nephew are murdered in their safe house, and their blood drips through a ceiling and the floor below. The FBI investigates the death of a U.S. government employee named Armitage, who had a murky connection to Serbian gangster Zivco Ilić, and it may be best to chalk it up to suicide. The Serbian brothers Radovan and Spiridon Vuksan smuggle people across borders, several of whom committed mass murder during the Balkan wars—not unlike their late cousin Buha, a Serb who liked to crucify Muslims and Croats. Meanwhile, the “unusual private investigator named Charlie Parker” plays a background role, letting his friends Louis, Angel, and the Fulci brothers carry the story for the good guys. That’s a relative term: If matronly Mrs. Bondarchuk had adopted the Fulci brothers in Queens, “even the rats would have moved out.” One of them is dumb as a rock, and the other is dumb as two rocks. And of Louis: “There are plagues that have killed fewer people.” Yet Parker has had a salutary effect on his friends, saving them from years behind bars. “Who knew that a conscience could be contagious?” Jennifer communes with Louis in his dreams, suggesting that he need not fear the afterlife. But the prize for best character is Zorya, an evil, bent-over old woman often mistaken for a teenager and resembling “a malformed mannequin,” her skin “like a piece of fruit in the process of decay.” The overall plot isn’t obvious, although criminals seem to be tainting Serbia’s chances of joining the European Union. But author Connolly’s descriptions are as engaging as his characters. “Death was an old woman who slept in hell.” A man’s smile “was by now under severe strain, like a bridge about to collapse.” This one is great stuff for the crime buff. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Early in bestseller Connolly’s outstanding 19th paranormal thriller featuring Maine PI Charlie Parker (after 2020’s The Dirty South), two Serbian war criminals, brothers Spiridon and Radovan Vuksan, torture and murder De Jaager, a Dutch fixer, and three other members of De Jaager’s Amsterdam household. These killings are the latest bloodshed in a cycle of violence that began years earlier when a relative of De Jaager was killed by Serbian gangster Andrej Buha, a cousin of the Vuksans. De Jaager’s American assassin friend, Louis, a colleague of Parker’s, fatally shot Buha, who committed atrocities during the Balkan wars in the 1990s, on De Jaager’s behalf. Aided by a contact in American intelligence who has his own reasons for wanting the Vuksans taken down, Louis travels to Europe to avenge De Jaager’s murder. Connolly makes all his characters, even the most evil, multifaceted, while keeping his audience on the edge of their seats. Series fans won’t mind that Parker is offstage much of the time and the plot is less dependent on supernatural elements than usual. This is another intelligent and haunting nail-biter. Agent: Darley Anderson, Darley Anderson Literary. (Oct.)

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