Bad Men

( 18 )

Overview

"In 1693, the settlers on the small Maine island of Sanctuary were betrayed to their enemies and slaughtered. Since then, the island has known three hundred years of peace. Until now." "A group of men are descending on Sanctuary, their purpose to hunt down and kill the wife of their leader and retrieve the money that she stole from him. All that stands in their way are a young rookie officer, Sharon Macy, and Melancholy Joe Dupree, the island's strange, troubled policeman." "Joe Dupree is no ordinary policeman. He is the guardian of the island's
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Overview

"In 1693, the settlers on the small Maine island of Sanctuary were betrayed to their enemies and slaughtered. Since then, the island has known three hundred years of peace. Until now." "A group of men are descending on Sanctuary, their purpose to hunt down and kill the wife of their leader and retrieve the money that she stole from him. All that stands in their way are a young rookie officer, Sharon Macy, and Melancholy Joe Dupree, the island's strange, troubled policeman." "Joe Dupree is no ordinary policeman. He is the guardian of the island's secrets, the repository of its memories. He knows that Sanctuary has been steeped in blood once; it will tolerate the shedding of innocent blood no longer. Now a band of killers is set to desecrate Sanctuary and unleash the fury of its ghosts upon themselves and all who stand by them." On Sanctuary, evil is about to meet its match.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"One of the best thriller writers we have."
— Harlan Coben

“A tense, deliciously creepy story.”
The Kansas City Star

"Dark, daring, and original.This one is his best."
— Michael Connelly

Publishers Weekly
The long-dead, gray-skinned wraiths Connolly conjures up in this thriller with a supernatural twist are lighthearted sprites compared to the grotesque humans who maim, rape and kill their way through the gore-clotted story of horror and revenge. Connolly's usual protagonist, Charlie "Bird" Parker (The White Road; Dark Hollow; Every Dead Thing), makes only a brief appearance here, for which he should give heartfelt thanks. Off the coast of Maine, Dutch Island, known to the old-timers as Sanctuary, is cursed by the spirits of those who died in a savage slaughter there in the year 1693. In the present day, imprisoned murderer Edward Moloch dreams of an ancient land where he is a hunter bent on the massacre of his wife and the inhabitants of a small village. Moloch, the worst of the bad men of the title, escapes from prison and leaves a trail of mutilated victims behind as he searches for the wife who several years earlier betrayed him to police to escape his brutality. On Dutch Island, longtime native Joe Dupree, known as Melancholy Joe, is the oversize (7' 2" and 360 pounds) but gentle chief of police. He's developed a fondness for beautiful newcomer Marianne Elliott, and the feeling is mutual. Unfortunately, Marianne is Moloch's ex-wife and Moloch's on his way, leading a small gang of other very bad men. It's a terrifying story, the action brutal, grotesque and unrelentingly violent. Horrified readers will turn the last blood-soaked page wondering if they would have begun the first had they known what was coming. Think Thomas Harris by way of Stephen King: haunting, compelling, but not for the faint of heart. Agent, Darley Anderson. (Mar.) Forecast: Connolly lives in Ireland, but travels frequently in America to research his locations. His earlier novels have done well and built a nice base of fans with strong stomachs who like their thrillers as cold and dark as the grave. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After his fourth Charlie Parker private investigator entry, The White Road (2003), the Irish Connolly offers a supernatural chiller to brighten his dark-veined Americana. Connolly writes like a poet, or perhaps like the murky Faulkner of Absalom, Absalom!, stretching scenes out with an unbearable load of neurological and psychic cloudwrack. He opens strongly, though, with a dream three centuries past on Sanctuary Island off the coast of Maine. The dreamer: the vengeful Moloch, a murderer/bank robber/extortionist now in prison, who recalls the slaughter, in 1693, of Casco Bay islanders by a villainous group seemingly led by Moloch himself. Later, settlers on the upthrust now called Dutch Island have had three hundred years of peace. But then Moloch escapes jail and, along with some ghastly mates, Willard, Dexter, Shepherd and Scarfe, heads toward Dutch Island to rain blood down on Marianne Elliot, his battered wife, who hides on Dutch with little son Danny and Moloch's money and gun. Protecting Marianne looms the seven foot two giant Melancholy Joe Dupree, Dutch's police officer. Weird stuff on the island foretells Moloch's approach: teenaged lovers Wayne Cady and Sylvie Lauter die while out joyriding, the girl's last words being about dead people and the dancing lights surrounding them. Bonnie Claeson's son Richie, an adult with the mind of an eight-year-old (gee, like Isaac Snopes and Benjy the idiot), wanders about the island and also sees lights in the forest. Soon, Connolly has drawn well over a dozen characters, including little Danny's buddy, the inept old painter "Jack" Giacometti, and Karen Meyers, and Bill and Patricia Gaddis, so that Moloch's baddies will have someone to beheador impale or crunch while Moloch lives out his dream of revenge and slaughter. The phone lines are down, and a big January snowstorm should hit tonight. A stylish darkness sucks you under. Agent: Darley Anderson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743487856
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 5/28/2005
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 468,329
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John Connolly is the author of Every Dead Thing, Dark Hollow, The Killing Kind, The White Road, Bad Men, Nocturnes, and The Black Angel, among others. He is a regular contributor to The Irish Times and lives in Dublin, Ireland. For more information, see his website at JohnConnolly.co.uk.

Biography

John Connolly was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968 and has, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a dogsbody at Harrods department store in London. He studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper, to which he continues to contribute.

His first novel, Every Dead Thing, was published in 1999, and introduced the character of Charlie Parker, a former policeman hunting the killer of his wife and daughter. Dark Hollow followed in 2000. The third Parker novel, The Killing Kind, was published in 2001, with The White Road following in 2002. In 2003, John published his fifth novel - and first stand-alone book - Bad Men. In 2004, Nocturnes, a collection of novellas and short stories, was added to the list, and 2005 marked the publication of the fifth Charlie Parker novel, The Black Angel.

John Connolly is based in Dublin but divides his time between his native city and the United States, where each of his novels has been set.

Author biography courtesy of Atria Books.

Good To Know

Some fun and fascinating facts gleaned from our interview with Connolly:

"I once worked as a debt collector, although I didn't know it at the time. I was just delivering the letters for a courier company, and only discovered they were final notices when a little man chased me out of his sawmill with an ax."

"I did my graduate thesis on the first closure of Jerusalem to the Palestinians, during the course of which I a) was involved in a car crash on the Gaza Strip, which provided the residents with their entertainment for the day; b) was imprisoned briefly by Egyptian immigration officials, an experience I can heartily advise everyone to avoid; and c) discovered that I was a worse photographer than a writer, as none of my pictures came out."

"While interviewing my idol, James Lee Burke, for The Irish Times, I managed to get lost in the Rattlesnake Wilderness while out walking with Burke. His dogs found me. Eventually."

"I can cook a pretty good Cajun meal. I know a bit about wine, but only South African wine." "I love going to the movies, but think cell phones have made it a less enjoyable experience than before. In fact, I think cell phones have made life that little bit less bearable, and I can't imagine how awful it will be when people can use them on aeroplanes. In the last couple of books I've written, people have died terrible deaths because of their fascination with cell phones. I always feel a little calmer after I've killed someone in print."

"Rather embarrassingly, the only pseudonym I've used is a woman's name. Earlier this year, one of the editors at Hodder Ireland, the Irish arm of my U.K. publisher, announced that she was putting together a book of stories, entitled Moments, for tsunami relief, with all of the contributions to be written by female writers. She asked if I might be interested in submitting a story under a pseudonym, just to see if anyone would spot the interloper. I agreed to try, although admittedly there was alcohol taken at the time and had she asked me to swim naked down the Amazon with ‘Pirahna Food' written on my back I would probably have agreed to that as well. The story was called ‘The Cycle' and appeared under the pseudonym ‘Laura Froom' in the book, which was the name of the vampire in one of the short stories in my Nocturnes collection. So there: my secret shame has been revealed."

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    1. Hometown:
      Dublin, Ireland
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 31, 1968
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dublin, Ireland
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Trinity College Dublin, 1992; M.A. in Journalism, Dublin City University, 1993
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Bad Men

A Thriller
By John Connolly

Pocket

Copyright © 2004 John Connolly
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7434-8785-0


Prologue

... they are not towers but giants. They stand in the well from the navel down; and stationed round its bank they mount guard on the final pit of Hell.

- Dante Alighieri, Inferno, canto 31

Moloch dreams.

In the darkness of a Virginia prison cell, he stirs like an old demon goaded by memories of its lost humanity. The dream presses upon him once more, the First Dream, for in it lies his beginning, and his end.

In the dream, he is standing on the verge of a dense forest and a smell clings to his clothing, the scent of animal fat and saltwater. There is a weight at his right hand, a musket, its rough leather strap hanging almost to the ground. On his belt there is a knife, and a powder horn, and a bag of shot. The crossing was difficult, for the sea was wild and the waves broke upon them with the force of a great hand. They lost a man on the journey to the island, drowned when one of the bark canoes capsized, and a pair of muskets and a leather bag filled with powder and shot descended with him beneath the waves. They cannot afford to lose weapons. They are hunted men, even as they are become hunters themselves this night. It is the year of our Lord 1693.

Moloch, twisting on his bunk three centuries after the time of his dream, driftsbetween sleeping and wakefulness for an instant before he is drawn back into this world of images once again, slowly submerging, sinking deeper and deeper, like a man drowning in recollection, for the dream is not new, and its coming is by now expected when he lays his head upon the pillow and at last surrenders himself to its hold, his heartbeat loud in his ears, blood pumping.

And blood flowing.

He is aware, in the brief moment that he breaks the surface of his uneasy rest, that he has killed before, and will kill again. A conflation of reverie and reality occurs, for Moloch has slain in both dream and wakefulness, although now the distinction between the two realms has grown indistinct.

This is a dream.

This is not a dream.

This is. This was.

There is sand beneath his feet. Behind him, the canoes have been drawn up onto the shore and there are men around him, awaiting his command to move. They are twelve in total. He raises a hand to them and the whites follow him into the woods, the Indians breaking off and sprinting ahead of them. One of them glances back at him, and he sees that the native's face is pitted and scarred, one ear missing, a consequence of mutilation at the hands of his own people.

Wabanaki. A Wabanaki mercenary, an outcast. The Indian wears his skins with the hair turned inward, in accordance with the demands of the winter season.

"Tanto," says the native, speaking the name of the god of ill will. The foul weather, the drowning, perhaps even the fact that he is here in this place, surrounded by hated white men, all are ascribable to the actions of the bad god. The Wabanaki is called Crow by the other men. They do not know his tribal name, although it is said that he was once a great man among his people, the son of a chief, a sagamore, and that he would have become chief himself had he not been exiled by them. Moloch does not reply, and the native follows his fellow scouts into the woods without another word.

Later, when he awakes, Moloch will wonder once more at how he knows these things (for the dream has been coming more frequently in recent months, and in ever greater detail). He knows that he does not trust the Indians. There are three of them, the Wabanaki and two Mi'kmaq with a price on their heads back at Fort Anne, vicious men who have pledged themselves to him in return for alcohol and weapons and the promise of rape. They are useful for now, but he feels uneasy around them. They are despised by their own people, and they are intelligent enough to realize that the men to whom they have attached themselves despise them too.

In his dream, Moloch decides that they will have to be killed after their work here is done.

From the trees ahead comes the sound of a brief scuffle, and moments later the Wabanaki mercenary emerges. There is a boy in his arms, no more than fifteen years of age. He is struggling against his captor's grasp, his cries stifled by the native's large hand. His feet kick impotently at the air. One of the Mi'kmaq follows, holding the boy's musket. He has been apprehended before he can fire off a warning shot.

Moloch approaches, and the boy stops kicking as he recognizes the face before him. He shakes his head, and tries to utter words. The native releases his hand from the boy's mouth but keeps a knife pressed to his throat so that he does not cry out. His tongue freed, the boy finds that he has nothing to say, for there is nothing that can be said. No words can prevent what is about to occur. Instead, his breath plumes whitely in the cold night air, as if his essence were already departing his body, his soul fleeing the pain of what his physical being is about to endure.

Moloch reaches out and grips the boy's face in his hands.

"Robert Littlejohn," he says. "Did they tell you to keep watch for me?"

Robert Littlejohn does not respond. Moloch can feel him trembling beneath his hand. He is surprised that they have maintained even this level of vigilance for so long. After all, it has been many months since his enforced departure.

It strikes Moloch that they must fear him a great deal.

"Still, they must think themselves safe if they leave only a child to watch the western approaches to Sanctuary." He eases his grip on the boy's skin, and caresses it gently with his fingertips.

"You are a brave boy, Robert."

He stands and nods at the Indian, and the Wabanaki draws the knife across the boy's throat, gripping him by the hair to pull his head back so that the blade will have easier passage. Moloch steps back to avoid the arterial spray, but continues to stare into the boy's eyes as the life leaves them. In his dream, Moloch is disappointed by the nature of the boy's passing. There is no fear in his eyes, although the boy must surely have been terrified during his last seconds on this earth. Instead, Moloch sees only a promise, unspoken and yet to be fulfilled.

When the boy is dead, the Wabanaki carries him to the rocks above the beach and casts him into the sea. His body sinks from view.

"We move on," says Moloch. They ascend to the forest, their footfalls carefully placed, avoiding fallen branches that might snap loudly and alert the dogs. It is bitterly cold, and snow begins to fall, driven into their faces by the harsh wind, but Moloch knows this place, even without the scouts to guide him.

Ahead of them, a Mi'kmaq raises his hand and the party halts. Of the other natives, there is no sign. Silently, Moloch creeps up to the guide's side. He points straight ahead. Moloch can see nothing for a time, until the tobacco glows briefly red as the sentry takes a long draw. A shadow grows behind him, and the man's body arcs against the hilt of the knife. The pipe falls to the ground, shedding red ash on the dirt and dying with a hiss upon the newly fallen snow.

Suddenly the barking begins and one of the settlers' beasts, more wolf than hound, breaks through a patch of scrub and bears down upon a figure to Moloch's left. It leaps, and then there is a gunshot and the dog bucks and twists in midair, dying with a yelp and falling on a patch of stony ground. Now the men are emerging from the cover of the woods and there are voices calling and women shouting and children crying. Moloch raises his musket at a settler who appears as a silhouette in the doorway of one of the cabins, the dying embers of the fire within making him an easy target. It is Alden Stanley, a fisherman like the savior he so adores. Moloch pulls the trigger and Alden Stanley is briefly lost in a cloud of sparks and smoke. When it clears, Moloch glimpses Stanley's feet twitching in the open doorway until finally they grow still. He sees more knives appear, and short-handled axes are drawn as his men move in for close-quarters combat, but there is little fight in these people. They have been caught unawares, convinced of their safety in this remote place, content with only a single sleepy guard and a boy on a rock, and the men are upon them before they even have a chance to load their weapons. The settlers outnumber their attackers by three to one, but that will make no difference to the outcome. Already, they are beaten. Soon, his men will pick their victims from among the surviving women and young girls, before they too are dispatched. Moloch sees one man, Barone, already in pursuit of a little girl of five or six, with pretty blond hair. She is wearing a loose ivory gown; its folds hang like wings from her raised arms. Moloch knows her name. As he watches, Barone catches her by the hair and pulls her to him.

Even in his dream, Moloch feels no urge to intervene.

A woman is running, making for the interior, and he moves off in pursuit of her. She is easy to track, her progress noisy, until the stones and roots begin to take their toll on her bare feet, tearing at her soles and heels and slowing her down. He moves ahead of her and cuts into her path, so that she is still looking back toward the slaughter when he emerges from his cover, the pale light filtering through the branches casting his shadow across her features.

And when she sees him, her fear increases, but he recognizes the anger there too, and the hatred.

"You," she says. "You brought them here."

His right hand lashes out, catching her across the face and sending her sprawling on the ground. There is blood on her mouth as she tries to rise. Then he is on top of her, pushing her nightdress up over her thighs and belly. She strikes at him with her fists, but he throws aside his gun and holds her arms over her head with his left hand. His right hand fumbles at his belt, and she hears the sound of steel upon leather as the knife is unsheathed.

"I told you I'd return," he whispers. "I told you I'd be back."

Then he leans in closer to her, his mouth almost touching her lips.

"Know me, wife."

In the moonlight the blade flashes, and in his dream Moloch begins his work.

So Moloch sleeps, believing that he dreams; and far to the north, on the island of his visions, Sylvie Lauter opens her eyes.

It is January, centuries after the events of which Moloch dreams, and the world is skewed. It rests at an angle, as if the physical reality has somehow come to resemble her own perception of it. It has always appeared canted to her, in a way, always off-kilter. She has never quite fit into it. At school, she has found a place with the other outcasts, the ones with the dyed hair and downcast eyes. They give her some sense of belonging, even as they reject the concept of belonging as somehow unsound. None of them belongs. The world will not have them.

But now that world is altered. Trees grow diagonally, and a doorway has opened to reveal the night sky. She reaches out to touch it, but her view is obscured by a spider's web. She tries to focus and sees the starburst shatter in the glass. She blinks.

There is blood on her fingers, and blood on her face.

And then the pain comes. There is a great pressure on her legs, and a terrible ache in her chest. To breathe is to be constricted by nails. She attempts to swallow and tastes copper on her tongue. With her right hand she wipes the blood from her eyes and clears her vision.

The hood of the car is crumpled inward, wrapped around the trunk of the oak tree in a twisted embrace. Her legs are lost amid the wreckage of the dashboard and the workings of the engine. She remembers the moment when the car veered out of control on the slope. The night rewinds for her. The crash itself is a jumble of sights and noises. She recalls feeling strangely calm as the car struck a great shard of sloping concrete, the front lifting as the passenger side of the vehicle left the ground. She remembers branches and green leaves filling the windshield; the dull sound of the impact; a grunt from Wayne that reminded her of the sound he makes when he is puzzled, which is often, or when he climaxes, which is often too. Now rewind again, and she and Wayne are on the edge of the man-made slope, the former site of the old gun emplacements and army bunkers, ready to freewheel down the incline. Now she is breaking into the garage, and watching Wayne steal the car. Now she is on her back upon a mattress, and Wayne is making love to her. He makes love badly, but still he is her Wayne.

Wayne.

She turns to her left and calls his name, but no sound comes. She again forms the word with her lips, and manages a whisper.

"Wayne."

Wayne is dead. His eyes are half closed, staring lazily at her. There is blood around his mouth, and the steering column is lost in his chest.

"Wayne."

She begins to cry.

When she opens her eyes, there are lights before her. Help, she thinks. Help is coming. The lights hover around the windshield and the damaged hood. The interior of the car glows with a diffused illumination as one of them passes overhead, and she wonders at how they can move in that way.

"Help me," she says.

A single light draws closer, nearing the open window to her right, and she can at last see the form behind it. The shape is hunched, and cloaked with leaves and wood and mud and darkness. It smells of damp earth. It lifts its head to her, and in the strange half-light that filters from the lamp in its hand, Sylvie registers gray skin, and dark eyes like oil bubbles, and torn, bloodless lips, and knows that she is soon to join Wayne, that they will travel together into the world beyond this one, and that at last she will find a place where she fits into the great pattern that has remained hidden from her for so long. She is not yet frightened. She simply wants the pain to end.

"Please," she says to the dead woman at the windshield, but the woman retreats and Sylvie has a sense that she is afraid, that there is something here that even the dead fear. The other lights also begin to recede and Sylvie extends an imploring hand.

"Don't go," she says. "Don't leave me alone."

But she is not alone.

A hissing sound comes from close by, and a figure floats beside her at the other side of the glass. It is smaller than the woman, and it holds no light in its hands. Its hair is white in the moonlight, and is so long and bedraggled that it almost entirely covers its face. It moves nearer as Sylvie feels a wave of tiredness wash over her. She hears herself moan. Her mouth opens as she tries to speak, and she no longer has the strength to close it again.

The figure at the window presses itself against the car. Its hands, with their small, gray fingers, clutch the top of the glass, trying to force it farther down. Sylvie's vision is dimmed once more, obscured by blood and tears, but she can see that it is a little girl who is trying to enter the car, to join her in her agony.

"Honey," Sylvie whispers.

Sylvie tries to move and the pain surges through her with the force of a jolt of electricity. It hurts her to turn her head to the right, so she can see the girl only from the corner of her eye. Momentarily, Sylvie's mind clears. If she can feel pain, then she is still alive. If she is alive, then there is hope. All else is just the imaginings of a mind driven to the edge by trauma and distress.

The woman with the light was not dead.

The child is not floating in the air.

Sylvie feels something brush against her cheek. It hovers before her eyes and its wings make a dull clicking noise as it strikes the windows and roof of the car. It is a gray moth. There are others nearby. She senses them on her skin and in her hair.

"Honey," she says, haltingly, her hand striking feebly at the insects. "Get help. Go get your mommy or your daddy. Tell them the lady needs help." Her eyes flutter closed. Sylvie is fading now. She is dying. She was mistaken. There is no hope.

But the child does not leave. Instead, she leans into the car, forcing her body through the narrow gap between the window and the door, head first, then shoulders. The hissing grows louder. Sylvie feels a coldness at her brow, brushing across her cheeks, coming at last to rest upon her lips. There are more moths now, the sound of them louder and louder in her ears, like a scattering of applause. The child is bringing them. They are somehow a part of her. The coldness against her mouth grows in intensity. Sylvie opens her eyes and the child's face is near her own, her hand stroking Sylvie's forehead.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Bad Men by John Connolly Copyright © 2004 by John Connolly. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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(14)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2006

    Good , but not great

    Connolly is too gifted a writer not to deliver on some level, however, Bad Men was lacking something that his earlier books had. I think it was that the supernatural aspect was kind of unconnected to the plot. You could see the parallel, but it was never convincing. I think Connolly does better when he just skirts the supernatural, rather than plunge in headlong.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2004

    SUPERNATURAL TOUCH A DEFINITE PLUS TO THIS CRIME THRILLER!!!

    A handful of criminals in their attempt to carry out an objective of revenge was only the 'tip of the iceberg' in this masterful crime thriller. Add to that the eerie woods, the site of a slaughter which occurred centuries ago, and a variety of ghostly beings also avenging their brutal deaths...a magical formula! Reading Connolly's novel was a high-adrenaline experience, indeed!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2005

    You won't put this one down!

    Everyone knows that John is a great writer and this book is no exception. I couldn't put it down. You can't wait to turn the page to see what happens next. Don't miss this one!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2005

    I will start reading more of this author!

    Lots of action, tightly woven plot, interesting characters and just as the title says 'Bad Men' make this a worthwhile read. I highly recommend this one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2004

    Revenge

    If you cheered when the Ents destroyed an evil kingdom in LORD OF THE RINGS THE TWO TOWERS, you will cheer for the victims in this book. Although I do not care to read gory details about murders, I could not put this book down. For days I have compared the bad people of both the island and the continental US and wondered who would survive. And are the ghosts/wraiths from the underground good or evil? A must read for those who love mystery with a little paranormal twisted in.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2003

    His best work to date

    In the 1600¿s, the colonists, tired of the Indian raids, settled on Sanctuary Island off the coast of Maine. For a time life was good until one of the settlers was suspected of various crimes and fled to the mainland. He returned with a gang of criminals killing all the settlers. In the present day, Sanctuary Island, now called Dutch Island, contains a thriving community but from time to time inexplicable things happen to evil men................................... The island is preparing for the coming of Bad Men including Edward Molloch, a sociopathic predator who is coming to Sanctuary to kill the wife who betrayed him and retrieve the money she stole from him. In his need for revenge, he leaves a trail of destruction that begins when he escapes from his prison guards and ends on the island he dreamed about during his last year in prison. Accompanying him is groups of fellow sociopaths who do not believe the laws of society apply to them. Dutch Island will once again flow in a sea of red with no one being safe.................................. John Connolly, the author of the Charlie Parker mysteries, has written a very dark gothic crime thriller that will frighten readers because the fear comes from real people, not imaginary monsters. Written in the third person from both the viewpoints of the islanders and the criminals, the audience sees that the true monsters wear the mask of humanity to hide an evil core. In many ways, the predators are more interesting than the heroes of this book because their thought processes are so alien to what makes people human. BAD MEN (a very appropriate title) is as terrifying as a novel gets................................ Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2014

    Extraordinarily frightening, tense and grisly read from a master

    Extraordinarily frightening, tense and grisly read from a master of suspenseful storytelling.  Difficult to set aside from the first few paragraphs to the last satisfying word.  So beautifully crafted one can hardly accept that the action and riveting story line are merely a work of fiction.  A thrilling read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2004

    Bad Men Packed with Action

    Saralee says Charlie Parker, the ex-cop turned private detective, is the usual protagonist in the popular mystery series by author John Connolly that includes The Killing Kind (Pocket Star), Dark Hollow (Pocket Books) and The White Road (Pocket Star). Connolly's books featuring Parker have developed a loyal following because of the author's ability to write a great story and his distinctive style of writing which includes a wry sense of humor. Although Parker does make a very brief appearance, Bad Men (Atria Books) introduces us to Joe Dupree. Joe's job is to protect the small island called Dutch Island once called Sanctuary in Maine, where most of the book takes place. As the story begins, the reader learns that something terrible happened in Sanctuary more than 300 years ago. There are bad people who want to murder and wreak havoc in the present and spirits who may or may not be helping them. Edward Moloch is as evil as bad men come and he plans to escape from prison and find his wife Marianne who is hiding on Dutch Island with their son. It is up to Dupree and rookie police officer Sharon Macy to protect the citizens of Dutch Island from the horrors, which are often unexplained, along with preparing for Moloch's arrival. Did you think this book was too violent? Parts of it made me squeamish and were hard to read. How does Connolly compare to Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Thomas Harris as far as scaring you? Is Bad Men to be read late at night or in the safety of daylight? As for me, I will read the next book by Connolly that features Parker with joy and relief. Larry's language The pace never slows in Bad Men as author Connolly, not to be confused with Los Angeles mystery writer Michael Connelly, takes us on a murderous journey from a Native American Indian attack 300 years ago to a jailbreak today to a cross country killing spree. Each of these events seems to happen in isolation, both in reference to each other and in terms of being cut off from the rest of society. For our book club questions, this kind of writing is meant to evoke things that go bump in the night. Do you ever awaken suddenly thinking that you heard an unusual noise? Do you ever wonder if some stranger or alien presence is in your home? If so, this is not the kind of book to read when you are alone. Connolly tightly weaves this story of a young mother, Marianne Elliott, fiercely protecting her young son Danny by moving across the country to a desolate island off the coast of Maine. Elliott completely changes her life and a good thing considering what a mess she had made up to that point. Every good story needs a classic villain. The father, Edward Moloch, escapes from prison in a bloody rampage and, with his band of merry killers, Moloch sets out to trace his missing wife and child. Connolly's most endearing character is Joe Dupree who serves as the sole island police officer and whose father and grandfather held the same job. Because of his huge physical size and gentle manner, Dupree is isolated from the other folks on the island but this only strengthens his resolve to serve and protect. This book succeeds in establishing the insecurity and sense of fear that is necessary primarily by emphasizing the island's lack of connectedness to the mainland and by carefully creating a sense of place and a 300-year history of evil as Connolly describes the island. This book confirms Connolly as one of our best thriller novelists along with authors Dean Koontz, Lee Child and Stephen King. Much like these other authors, Connolly succeeds in each of his books because of his sharp characterization, distinctive plotting and his writing instills a deep sense of unease and suspense in the reader.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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