With this, the second novel in the Charlie Parker series, Connolly comes fully loaded, and he lets the reader have it with both barrels. He says he rewrites his books about forty or fifty times, and the effort shows, as he writes with a precision that gives the scenes cinematic clarity. Parker, a PI who has visions of the dead, must hunt down a man who has stolen a small fortune from a minor mob figure, setting off a chain of events that lead to violent encounters between various mob hitmen, freelance assassins, and an almost mythical serial killer that leaves piles of bodies like multi-car smash-ups at a foggy urban intersection with a broken traffic light. There is hardly a false note in the whole book; most crime writers-- hell, most horror writers-- can only dream of writing stuff this dark and disturbing. In lesser hands, some of Parker's philosophical ruminations would surely win some kind of Bulwer-Lytton award ("It was a dark and stormy night . . ."), but here they give added depth to the pervading sense of evil and chaos. Believe it or not, his third book, THE KILLING KIND, is even more dark and evil, and makes Thomas Harris look like Dr. Seuss. He's already made the short list of my favorite crime writers.