The Furies by John Connolly – Review
By Sandra Callard
I have never, in all my book reading experience, come across a novel with such depth, excitement or personality as the one I have just read. I finished it some time ago, yet I am still musing on the clever, sensitive and downright bold perceptions of the author as his stories (there are two) rise and fall amongst some of the weirdest and most brutal characters I have ever read about.
When I tell you that the book is written by the massively successful author, John Connolly, you may understand what I mean, and the fact that this is my first foray into his writing will explain things further.
Connolly is one of the most famous and admired modern authors in the world today, and it is his latest book, The Furies, that I refer to. Set in America, mainly around the area of Maine, it concerns the exploits of a private detective, Charlie Parker, as he delves into the sleazyy, cruel and downright revolting men who think nothing of raping women for fun with maybe some added body slashing as a finale. It is only the genius and draw of the author’s writing that makes you hold on and continue reading.
This is Connolly’s twentieth book featuring Parker, a man who hates what these extreme criminals do and will try to help their victims. He will not stop short of his own sense of payback to these people, and the author’s writing is so solidly real, and the tension mounts to such a degree that the reader – and certainly this reader – needs a break to cool down. But the compulsion of the book is such that you are pulled back into the story quite willingly as Connolly’s writing becomes steadily more and more compulsive.
The book is American to the core and the slang words may take some getting used to, but Connolly’s writing has at times such a beauty about it, it is possible to forget the terrible things that are happening on almost every page of the book, as the majestic writing takes the stand.
The Furies is startlingly brutal at times, and in small but nevertheless vivid doses. But the background stories are fascinating, as are the personalities who colour the pages. They are like nothing I have known before, but their lives and their actions nevertheless make compulsive reading.
At one point, the author slips into the story an unusual section about a child ghost in a seedy hotel, which at first seems out of character with the rest of the book, but it certainly is not because Connolly’s skill sweeps through this section with a sensitivity that leaves the reader totally in awe of what they are reading.
John Connolly deserves all the praise that has been heaped upon him, and I am glad that, albeit a latecomer, I have at last discovered him.
‘The Furies’ by John Connolly is published by Hodder & Stoughton, £20 hardback