DARE Review: Every Dead Thing

John Connolly
480 pages
Charlie Parker #1
Chapter 1
Simon & Schuster

Haunted by the unsolved slayings of his wife and young daughter, and tormented by his sense of guilt, former NYPD detective Charlie Parker is a man consumed by violence, regret and the desire for revenge. But when his ex-partner asks him to track down a missing girl, Parker embarks on an odyssey that is to lead him to the heart of organized crime; to an old black woman who dwells by a Louisiana swamp and hears the voices of the dead; to cellars of torture and murder; and to a serial killer unlike any other, an artist who uses the human body as his canvas and takes faces as his prize, the killer known only as the Traveling Man.

I'm going to toot my horn and say that, I'm just loving being dared to read books outside my comfort zone by my literary friends.  I think everyone should read 1 book a month that they wouldn't normally.  Ok, horn tooting done.  

I enjoy psychological thrillers.  They make your brain work. Hard. They keep you constantly turning over plot endings in your head, and wondering what might be around the next chapter.  So when Kristin at MyBookishWays dared me to read my first John Connolly novel I was excited.  I've read and loved books by amazing authors like Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell in the past, but the last couple years I've been consumed by Urban Fantasy. *I know that's shocking* Within the first 10 pages of Every Dead Thing, I easily remembered why I loved psycho suspense novels.

Again, thrillers have an amazing way of keeping the story razor-sharp through the situations the characters find themselves in, and Connolly masters this type of intensity easily.  He scares you just enough to get the heart pumping and the palms sweating, but not enough to make the story feel too untouchable.  Some scenes are intense in nature but Connolly knows just how much you can handle. Really. I never once felt overwhelmed or thought it was too much; wondering if I could keep reading.  The characters reactions are true to the situations, and their bravery is fueled by the "fight or flight" reaction; making everything believable for me.  I would lose myself to the story for hours at a time, only to surface and realize that the sun had gone down, or I missed lunch. I would suggest that you not start unless you're ready to finish.  It's that good.

The story itself is so well planned, you'll never guess what's coming next. There is one point that I thought the story might have been meant -and maybe should have been- 2 books instead of 1, but the length just draws you closer to the characters involved.  The story rattles off like a Matt Damon thriller (think The Departed not Jason Bourne) and I'm actually amazed that I've yet to see the story told on the big screen.  You'll find yourself wondering which actor and actress would play each role, and then it becomes even easier to immerse yourself into the story.  The imagery is easily drawn, the pace is constant, and the characters jump off the pages with their sordid pasts and bold personalities that demand your full attention.  

Bottom Line: Connolly has made himself a place on my bookshelf for life. Lovers of suspense and intellectual thrillers line-up, because this is one book worthy of your attention.

4.5 stars

** wanna see what I dared Kristin to read?!  Check it out here**


  1. I'm so happy!!! Happy, happy, happy!!! Each subsequent book gets better and better and Connolly's writing gets more haunting and beautiful. I'm so glad you loved it!

  2. Can you believe Connolly is a Dubliner? He writes the American South (and North)like he grew up there!

  3. Oh so glad you enjoyed reading this. :) It does sound like a cool read. :) Thanks for sharing it and so glad the dares are going so great for you!

  4. Wow! 4.5 stars! Impressive Dare and it sounds like an intriguing book.

  5. Kristin: It was really great. Fantastic dare.

    Melissa: It's hauntingly good. Does that make sense? lol

    Julie: I really do love noir crime books... and it was great reading outside the "norm" for a couple days!

  6. Fabulous review! I do agree that people should read books outside of their comfort zone more often since you will find fantastic books and fabulous authors that you never would have known about before. This book sounds so interesting and I think I might have to check it out sometime...probably not any time soon with the thousands of other books on my TBR list! Can't wait to see what next months/this months DARE will entail.