The Reapers (Charlie Parker Series #7)

( 34 )

Overview

A brilliantly chilling novel by New York Times bestselling author John Connolly about a chain of killings, linked obscurely by great distances and the passage of years, and the settling of their blood-debts — past, present, and future.

As a small boy, Louis witnesses an unspeakable crime that takes the life of a member of his small, southern community. He grows up and moves on, but he is forever changed by the cruel and brutal nature of the act. It lights a fire deep within him ...

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Overview

A brilliantly chilling novel by New York Times bestselling author John Connolly about a chain of killings, linked obscurely by great distances and the passage of years, and the settling of their blood-debts — past, present, and future.

As a small boy, Louis witnesses an unspeakable crime that takes the life of a member of his small, southern community. He grows up and moves on, but he is forever changed by the cruel and brutal nature of the act. It lights a fire deep within him that burns white and cold, a quiet flame just waiting to ignite. Now, years later, the sins of his life are reaching into his present, bringing with them the buried secrets and half-forgotten acts of his past.

Someone is hunting him, targeting his home, his businesses, and his partner, Angel. The instrument of revenge is Bliss, a killer of killers, the most feared of assassins. Bliss is a Reaper, a lethal tool to be applied toward the ultimate end, but he is also a man with a personal vendetta.

Hardened by their pasts, Louis and Angel decide to strike back. While they form a camaraderie that brings them solace, it offers them no shelter from the fate that stalks them. When they mysteriously disappear, their friends are forced to band together to find them. They are led by private detective Charlie Parker, a killer himself, a Reaper in waiting.

Connolly's triumphant prose and unerring rendering of his tortured characters mesmerize and chill. He creates a world where everyone is corrupt, murderers go unpunished, but betrayals are always avenged. Yet another masterpiece from a proven talent, The Reapers will terrify and transfix.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Connolly has crafted one of the most darkly intriguing books this reviewer has encountered in more than three decades of reading crime fiction.... To call this a page-turner is to damn it with faint praise. Veteran crime fans will want to savor every note-perfect word. " — Booklist (Starred review)
Publishers Weekly
Connolly's latest commercial thriller is a taut and mysterious nail-biter that offers plenty of corruption and murder with just a twist of the otherworldly. Jay O. Sanders reads with a stern and clear voice, but never really captures listeners' undivided attention as he steers clear of any real, uncharted emotion. Sanders' deep and powerful bass voice seems perfectly suited for this tale, but it's hard to remain interested beyond the first few chapters. There is an underlying, monotonous quality present here and when Sanders attempts to bring a shot of life to the tale, offering a variety of paltry dialectical changes, he falls flat with unrealistic and over the top performances. An Atria hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 28).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Connolly's latest novel (after The Unquiet) features the enigmatic characters Angel and Louis, introduced in previous books as sometime associates of former detective Charlie Parker. Louis contacts an ex-associate for information when figures from Louis's shady past as a member of an organization of elite killers reappear and target his home and friends. At the same time, his assistance is requested by a reclusive billionaire who seeks revenge against an old enemy who seems to be connected to the attacks against Louis. After Louis's ex-associate is shot, Louis and Angel agree to act on the billionaire's behalf, but the hunters end up being hunted when they find their information is incomplete. The novel flashes back on Louis's life as characters from his past reappear in his present, and readers learn what put him on the reaper's path. This latest offering from Connolly is as dark and convoluted as his previous novels and just as enjoyable. [See Prepub Alert, LJ2/15/08.]
—Lisa O'Hara

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416569534
  • Publisher: Pocket Star
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Series: Charlie Parker Series , #7
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 232,638
  • Product dimensions: 4.08 (w) x 7.58 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

John Connolly is the author of The Wrath of Angels, The Burning Soul, The Book of Lost Things, and Bad Men, among many others. He is a regular contributor to The Irish Times and lives in Dublin, Ireland. For more information, see his website at JohnConnollyBooks.com, or follow him on Twitter @JConnollyBooks.

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

Chapter One

There are so many killings, so many victims, so many lives lost and ruined every day, that it can be hard to keep track of them all, hard to make the connections that might bring cases to a close. Some are obvious: the man who kills his girlfriend, then takes his own life, either out of remorse or because of his own inability to face the consequences of his actions; or the tit-for-tat murders of hoodlums, gangsters, drug dealers, each killing leading inexorably to another as the violence escalates. One death invites the next, extending a pale hand in greeting, grinning as the ax falls, the blade cuts. There is a chain of events that can easily be reconstructed, a clear trail for the law to follow.

But there are other killings that are harder to connect, the links between them obscured by great distances, by the passage of years, by the layering of this honeycomb world as time folds softly upon itself.

The honeycomb world does not hide secrets: it stores them. It is a repository of buried memories, of half-forgotten acts.

In the honeycomb world, everything is connected.

*
• *

The St. Daniil sat on Brightwater Court, not far from the cavernous dinner clubs on Brighton Beach Avenue and Coney Island Avenue where couples of all ages danced to music in Russian, Spanish, and English, ate Russian food, shared vodka and wine, and watched stage shows that would not have been out of place in some of the more modest Reno hotels, or on a cruise ship, yet the St. Daniil was far enough away from them to render itself distinct in any number of ways. The building that it occupied overlooked the ocean, and the boardwalk with its principal trio of restaurants, the Volna, the Tatiana, and the Winter Garden, now screened to protect their patrons from the cool sea breeze and the stinging sands. Nearby was the Brighton playground, where, during the day, old men sat at stone tables playing cards while children cavorted nearby, the young and the not-so-young united together in the same space. New condos had sprung up to the east and west, part of the transformation that Brighton Beach had undergone in recent years.

But the St. Daniil belonged to an older dispensation, a different Brighton Beach, one occupied by the kind of businesses that made their money from those who were on nodding terms with poverty: check-cashing services that took 25 percent of every check cashed, then offered loans at a similar monthly rate to cover the shortfall; discount stores that sold cheap crockery with cracked glaze, and firetrap Christmas decorations all year round; former mom-and-pop grocery stores that were now run by the kind of men who looked like they might have the remains of mom and pop rotting in their cellars; laundromats frequented by men who smelt of the streets and who would routinely strip down to filthy shorts and sit, nearly naked, waiting for their clothes to wash before giving them a single desultory spin in the dryer (for every quarter counted) and then dress in the still-damp clothes, folding the rest into plastic garbage bags and venturing back onto the streets, their garments steaming slightly in the air; pawnshops that did a steady trade in redeemed and unredeemed items, for there was always someone willing to benefit from the misfortune of another; and storefronts with no name above the window and only a battered counter inside, the shadowy business conducted within of no interest to those who needed to be told its nature. Most of those places were gone now, relegated to side streets, to less desirable neighborhoods, pushed farther and farther back from the avenue and the sea, although those who needed...

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    First of john connp First of his books

    But will not be the last. Chilling and darkly ominous novel. Loved it . Recomend whole heartedly!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2011

    I was disappointed

    I am a big fan of John Connolly but I was disappointed in this book. In my opinion too much time was spent waxing philosophical and not enough on action. This book is part of the Charlie Parker series yet the main character wasn't introduced till the last 1/3 of the book. All in all I still plan on reading the rest in the series.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    Connolly Never Disappoints!

    I always enjoy Connolly's novels. This one struck me as sad in nature. Usually he seems more robust but his mastery of the genre is still superb. It took me some time to accept the spiritual or otherworldly aspect of the novel but it was always possible to care about the characters and the outcome.

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  • Posted June 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Great Thriller

    John Connolly is a great literary crime writer. His latest novel The Reapers is an excellent fast paced novel. It has a great plot and is action packed, a real page turner. It has 544 pages long of excitement and is published by Hodder. Its ISBN is 034093668 and it is now in paperback. It's cover announces "blood will follow" and in the chain of murders that follows it certainly does. In this book there are three main protagonists : Parker, Angel and Louis. The Reapers are elite killers and the plot is a cat and mouse game of killer seeking killers. Louis's past comes back to haunt him and Louis and Angel are trapped in a town but Parker has help on the way but will it be too late ? I highly recommend this compelling novel. Reviewed by Annette Dunlea author of Always and Forever and The Honey Trap.

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    B-O-R-I-N-G !!

    ...sort of like reading one of Cornwell's recent Scarpetta novels!! This is my first John Connolly novel, and most likely, it will be my last. It took almost 200 pages of mind-numbing reading before anything of substance relative to the story began to emerge....and then that wasn't much to brag about. This one is going to Half Price Books ASAP!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008

    a true craftsman

    Conolly is one of those authors who paint pictures with words. You want to read more not just because the plot is good (which it is), but because the actual language he uses is beautiful and accessable. This book, like all his others, is like a feast for the literate.

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Sign of the Times?

    Is it a sign of the times that John Connolly has created a main character who is not only a killer, but a gay man with a life partner? Is he trying to suggest that maybe other gunslingers and their sidekicks have indeed had something on the side? Whatever his intentions, the fact that the main characters are gay proves entirely irrelevant to Connolly's bloody but intriguing tale of hired guns. Other characters in the books are also partners, but we don't know if they are in fact gay- they're just men working together to do dastardly deeds. Connolly tells their story in full detail, bullet by bullet. The bullets don't care if you are gay or not, and I guess we shouldn't either.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2008

    Gripping chilling unexpectedly compassionate

    I've followed the Charlie Parker novels carefully since I first picked up Every Dead Thing back in 2001. Connolly is a gifted writer, with the capacity to create completely believable characters who live in a world where horrifying things happen on an all too regular basis, and where the lines between good and bad, right and wrong are badly blurred, to say the least. Connolly hit on a winning formula with his Parker books, but has, on several occasions, bravely ventured into the unknown, most noteably with his pseudo fairy-tale, The Book of Lost Things, and his collection of short horror fiction, Nocturnes. He has gone only slightly off-centre here, by setting the action for The Reapers very much in the world of Parker, yet shifting the focus from that grieving, emotionally scarred detective to his two associates 'side-kicks seems too disrespectful a term for these two pleasingly well-drawn characters', Louis and Angel. What Connolly very cleverly manages to do is give his shadowy landscape even more depth and breadth by adjusting his line of vision. Now, we are given greater insight into Louis and Angel's daily existence. We learn about Willy Brew and his co-worker at the auto-shop that has previously been the point of contact for Louis, Arno. We are granted snapshots of Louis's past, as he is tutored in the arts of assassination by the sinister, yet somehow also grandfatherly, Gabriel. Most importantly, we get to see and feel how others perceive the series anti-hero, Parker, referred to more often than not in this volume simply as The Detective - and this is a rare treat indeed. Remember, the preceeding texts have been told from Parker's point-of-view, in the first person, so we tend to get those events filtered through Bird's perception. The comments from the other characters may confirm or completely overturn your own opinion about this dark, dangerous man - but maybe that's part of the fun. What always amazes me about Connolly's writing is his capacity to invest even the most brutal of men and sometimes horrendosuly violent of scenarious with a kind of poetic beauty. There is a scene in a previous book where a pretty awful individual is beaten to death, but I was almost in tears by the end of it - not because of the disturbing prose, but because of a vision of his daughter the victim sees as he lies dying. It is these little touches that elevate Connolly's work above that of most other writers in the crime/mystery genre. And this book is no different. Whoever would have imagined Louis, the terrifying bringer of death, leaning over his fallen master as he lies in a hospital bed, unconscious after an assassination attempt, and planting a tender kiss on his cheek? And no one, in their wildest dreams, would have dreamed up the cantankerous, dog-loving, elderly downstairs tenant of Angel and Louis, nor the bizarre sense of protectiveness the ill-matched duo feel for her. And it is this sense of empathy and emotional resonance that sets John Conolly firmly in the company of some of the greats in the noir-field, probably Ross MacDonald in particular. Violence and mayhem may be visited upon innocents in Parker's realm, but their plight is noticed, and something is always done to try and redress their pain. Louis, Angel, Bird, even the lumbering, slow-witted Fulcis operate by a code of ethics, as twisted as that code might at first seem. It is this sense of fair play that invests the books with a deep humanity. All the other elements of a great thriller are here, though, with the unmistakeable stamp of Connolly's colourful, energetic writing style. There is action, hairpin plot twists, as glorious and foul a villain as this reader has ever encountered in the gorgeously monikered Bliss, and a finale that leaves you exhausted but begging for more. I've heard that there is another Parker book in the works - but it will be very hard to top this one. The Reapers i

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    great thriller

    Assassins Louis and Angel kill a Russian trafficker who peddled young children to pedophiles. Bliss kills a predator in a bar¿s bathroom. A wealthy dying recluse murders a man who was involved in the death of his son. All these crimes are linked in a surprising way. Gabriel and his lover Angel will learn that crimes from their past have come back to haunt them in the present. ---- In 1983 Louis was assigned to kill Luther Berger, but what he didn¿t know was that his victim was really Jon Leahagen, son of Arthur. Mr. Hoyle, is helping the duo with people coming after them. Arthur is dying, but before he passes on he wants to take with him to the grave everyone who was involved in the homicide of his offspring. Hoyle wants Arthur dead because he killed his daughter. He hires Louis and Angel to kill Arthur and his son they agree not because of the money, but instead want Leahagen to stop trying to kill them. When they get to Leahagen¿s estate, they realize they walked into a trap, but Charlie Parker is on the way to assist them. ---- The REAPERS is a great thriller as the readers get a deep look at the workings of Louis and Angel. When he was young Louis a black man watched whites lynch his father and set fire to kill him. Angel was sold repeatedly to pedophiles by his father to pay for his booze. Surprisingly they have traces of humanity left inside them although for the most part their human flame is barely flickering. They receive reader empathy in spite of being condemned for their actions, as John Connolly provides a strong crime caper fueled by these two outsiders. ---- Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 27, 2009

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