It's no wonder that the critics are calling John Connolly the new Thomas Harris - his first novel, "Every Dead Thing", was one of the scariest reads of the year, and his new novel, "Dark Hollow", seems set to establish his reputation as more than a one-hit wonder.
In "Dark Hollow", Connolly re-introduces us to Charlie "Bird" Parker, who has moved from New York to his grandparents' old home in Maine in the aftermath of his search for The Travelling Man. It is here, surrounded by the memories of his childhood and with the anniversary of his wife's death approaching, that Bird hopes to find a measure of peace and redemption.
Fate, however, has other plans. When one of Bird's friends, Rita Ferris, and her son, are strangled, Bird is forced to join the hunt for the unknown killer - despite warnings and threats from old and new enemies to leave well alone. As more bodies are found, the killings reawaken Bird's childhood memories - in particular, a story his grandfather used to tell him about a serial killer known only as Caleb Kyle.
As Bird's investigation progresses, be becomes more and more convinced that Caleb Kyle is more than just a fairy tale, and that the killer is, in fact, still alive and living in the forests of Maine. And Bird's search leads him inexorably to the place where it all started - a town called Dark Hollow - where old secrets come to life with unexpected - and deadly - consequences.
In "Dark Hollow", Connolly successfully combines nail-biting suspense, a multi-layered plot, and the constant threat of violence to create a story that will keep you up all night. Even though Bird is finally coming to terms with the loss of his wife and child, the wounds are still raw, and he is still driven by the demons of his past - in particular, his peculiar empathy with the victims of serial killers. And Connolly adds a few new twists to the story as well - the introduction of Caleb Kyle, a monster who seems more mythical than human; family ties, love and betrayal; and some wonderfully evocative descriptions of winter in Maine. Don't miss this one!This article was first published on 12 Dec 2000.