The Woman In The Woods by John Connolly
My Own copy from my tbr Pile
The new thrilling instalment of John Connolly’s popular Charlie Parker series.
It is spring, and the semi-preserved body of a young Jewish woman is discovered buried in the Maine woods. It is clear that she gave birth shortly before her death.
But there is no sign of a baby.
Private detective Charlie Parker is engaged by the lawyer Moxie Castin to shadow the police investigation and find the infant, but Parker is not the only searcher. Someone else is following the trail left by the woman, someone with an interest in more than a missing child, someone prepared to leave bodies in his wake.
And in a house by the woods, a toy telephone begins to ring.
For a young boy is about to receive a call from a dead woman . . .
I absolutely adored this subtlety sinister crime fiction novel. I particularly enjoy the supernatural themes, that run throughout the series and are utterly menacing. For me, it is the perfect blend of crime fiction and horror and Charlie Parker is the perfect protagonist to guide you through the pages.
The novel opens with Angel recovering from surgery for stage 2 colon cancer. So, Parker is one wingman down. This doesn’t impact the plot unravelling and throughout we receive regular updates on Angel. Although ironically given his name, he seems to fear death or the impact his death may have upon others.
The novel then jumps to the perspective of a little boy. Daniel Weaver is just 5yrs old and lives with his mother Holly and grandfather. His mother reads him Grimm’s fairy tales, in particular Woman In The Woods. We become aware that he has a violent and horrific father, but this is not elaborated on, until much further in the novel.
Needless to say, you become protective of Daniel.
We then meet Leila Patton a waitress at a local diner in Cadillac, Indiana. She has been working at Dobey’s diner for some time. She loves her job and the staff. But hates the town itself and if it wasn’t for her terminally ill mother, she’d be long gone! She dreams of the day she can finally escape.
Late one night, after closing time at Dobey’s two strange characters enter. They seek a young woman named Karis Lamb. A woman Dobey hasn’t seen for 5yrs. Over the course of the evening we become more aware of Karis’s background.
‘What some men do to women makes me ashamed of my sex’ – Dobey
We learn that Dobey first met Karis when she was 8 months pregnant and fleeing a crazed man, with a violent streak named Vernay. Dobey’s over time has become a sanctuary for women in need and runs on a discreet basis. Vernay controlled Karis with making threats against her mother and sister but that after their death in a car accident; Karis finally had the strength to flee. . .
‘She was running from the devil himself’
The strange characters Quayle and Pallida Mors seek to find Karis and something she holds dear. But is it the child they seek?
Meanwhile, Daniel hears a toy phone (with no batteries) ring. He answers the call to a mysterious lady named Karis. . . .
In Maine a body has been discovered, female remains that had give birth recently. But there are no signs of a baby. The grave site is marked with the star of David and it is this that urges Mozie (Parker’s lawyer) to have Parker shadow the case.
‘This was not alone woman
This was a mother’
As Holly becomes more concerned for her son Daniel. The remains of the female are exhumed and analysed. Parker gets to work! One thing is for certain Parker fears nothing and no one. No matter what it takes he will unravel the case.
There is a background story of Bobby and Billy Ocean, a pair of redneck racists/homophobes with too much time and money on their hands. Which distracts from the creepy elements of the case.
But when the creepy elements strike they really are eerie!
For the most part of the novel Parker has to gain the trust of females who have been repeatedly victimised and brutalised by men.
Can he do it? Can he free the dead woman from the shackles of an unjust death?
The ending leaves you desperate for the next Charlie parker novel 5*