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The Unquiet: A Thriller [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

John Connolly , Jay O. Sanders


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Book Description

May 15 2007 Charlie Parker Thrillers
Daniel Clay, a once-respected psychologist, has been missing for years following revelations about harm done to the children in his care. Believing him dead, his daughter Rebecca has tried to come to terms with her father's legacy, but her fragile peace is about to be shattered. Someone is asking questions about Daniel Clay, someone who does not believe that he is dead: the revenger Merrick, a father and a killer obsessed with discovering the truth about his own daughter's disappearance. Private detective Charlie Parker is hired to make Merrick go away, but Merrick will not be stopped. Soon Parker finds himself trapped between those who want the truth about Daniel Clay to be revealed, and those who want it to remain hidden at all costs. But there are other forces at work here. Someone is funding Merrick's hunt, a ghost from Parker's past. And Merrick's actions have drawn others from the shadows, half-glimpsed figures intent upon their own form of revenge, pale wraiths drifting through the ranks of the unquiet dead. The Hollow Men have come ...
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; 1 edition (May 15 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743561570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743561570
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 13.5 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Of the few novelists who manage to combine the private eye and horror genres successfully, none does it better than Connolly. Here he gives his hapless hero, Charlie Parker, a man obsessed with the memory of the gruesome murders of his wife and daughter, a particularly disturbing case involving child predators and killers. It's a grim story, including the reappearance of a Parker foe, the sinister and probably supernatural Collector who is drawn to certain crimes from which he extracts keepsakes. Sanders has the right kind of vocal timbre to suggest Parker's tough–but–soul sick protagonist and the skill to give the gritty material a properly noir tone. As for the Collector, whom Connelly tells us tastes words like unfamiliar food, Sanders conjures up a raspy whisper that carries more than the hint of a distaste for life. It also contains an echo of Parker's voice, which follows the author's suggestion that the Collector may be a specter of the detective's imagination. In any case, the sound, like the novel itself, is as unnerving as a fever dream.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Daniel Clay, a psychiatrist alleged to have worked with a child-abuse ring, is missing and presumed dead. His grown daughter, Rebecca, is being stalked by an ex-con whose own daughter is missing. Rebecca hires Portland, Maine, investigator Charlie Parker to protect her and dissuade her stalker, a former contract killer named Merrick who is intent on either finding his daughter or avenging her death. The case leads to a very dark chapter in Maine's rural history and to the still-operational remnants of a syndicate of highly organized child abusers. Connolly weaves elements of the supernatural into a disturbing, very dark tale. Parker is haunted by the specters of his late wife and daughter as well as an ephemeral embodiment of death who offers both advice and warnings as the detective ventures ever deeper into the darkness of the real world and his own soul. The disquieting subject, coupled with Connolly's dark, lyrical prose, will leave unshakable images lurking on the edge of the reader's consciousness. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  74 reviews
65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The only truth was that everybody lied." May 24 2007
By E. Bukowsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
John Connolly's "The Unquiet" is a dark and haunting tale with seamlessly blended elements: murder mystery, psychological suspense, and even a tinge of the supernatural. The first person narrator is Charlie Parker, the stereotypical brooding private detective with a tortured past. He has nearly gone mad with grief after the loss of his first wife and child, and is now unhappily separated from his second wife, Rachel, and their daughter, Sam. Charlie's newest client is Rebecca Clay, who wants to deter a stalker from harassing her and her daughter, Jenna. The man bothering Rebecca is Merrick, an extremely angry individual with a question that he wants answered: Where is Rebecca's father, Daniel Clay? Clay was a child psychiatrist who once worked with abused children; he was later accused of mishandling his cases, of being an abuser himself, and of possibly offering children to be victimized by others molesters. Rebecca insists that her father was a good man. In any case, she has not seen him in years, and has recently had him declared legally dead. Merrick thinks that Rebecca is lying.

Parker interviews Rebecca's ex-husband, Daniel Clay's lawyer, a child psychiatrist who disliked Clay and clashed with him professionally, and others who might be able to shed some light on who Daniel Clay really was and what became of him. Meanwhile, Parker, with the help of some hired muscle, tries to keep Rebecca safe, but he soon learns that no one can be shielded from certain relentless individuals who will not be denied their chance for revenge.

"The Unquiet" is an effective horror story that proves once again the truth of Shakespeare's statement: the evil that men do lives after them. Slowly and inexorably, Charlie Parker uncovers the horrifying misdeeds and unravels the tangled web of deceit that men without conscience created to shield themselves from justice. Inevitably, the past and the present converge, with predictably violent results. Although Connolly sets his novel in what some would consider the bucolic state of Maine, there is no peace in these pages. Maine is Stephen King territory, and the cold grip of terror permeates the narrative. There are ghosts--"hollow men" who appear again and again to terrify those unlucky enough to look into the dark holes where their eyes should be. Death is never far away in Connolly's tortured and atmospheric landscape. This book is a stylish and unsettling thriller with superior descriptive writing, memorable characters, and a bone-chilling conclusion.
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Contrarian View: A Hollow Honeycomb July 8 2007
By Gary Griffiths - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For the record, I'm a big fan of John Connolly. His mastery of the language is on par James Lee Burke, spinning imagery and atmospherics uncommon in the average thriller. Connolly can take off the gloves off and get as brutal and violent as Dennis Lehane, Robert Crais, or Lee Child, but an undercurrent of Irish melancholy softens the blow with cascading riffs of near-poetic prose. And if that's not enough, Connolly succeeds in weaving a supernatural dimension in private detective Charlie Parker's "honeycomb world", succeeding where so many have failed in striking the difficult balance between credible and creepy.

But for as much as I admire Connolly, I was disappointed in "The Unquiet", a needlessly long and convoluted tale of revenge and retribution that wallows under the weight of overindulgence in that which has made Connolly's fiction so refreshing and unique. In this installment, Parker is retained by Rebecca Clay to protect her from a mysterious stalker seeking answers about the fates of his daughter and Clay's child psychiatrist father, both long since disappeared. What seems to be a simple case of scaring off a bad guy spins by multiple threads into the shadowy and despicable world of child sexual abuse, leading to murder, deceit, and betrayal on that grand scale we associate with Connolly. An already complicated cast of characters and sub plots is further embellished by a mystical dose T.S. Elliot's "Hollow Men", while even managing to find a role for the ubiquitous Russian mob.

We know that Charlie "Bird" Parker is a tortured soul, but Parker's "Unquiet" anguish overpowers plot and setting. Colorful sidekicks Angel and Louis are relegated to nearly inconsequential roles, but are dull and listless even when given center stage. The ominous Louis seems more bored than menacing, while Parker plods through a truly horrific mystery distracted by his own past, haunted by guilt and floundering in self pity. What worked in previous Connolly novels - the ghoulish religious cults of Aroostook in "The Killing Kind" or the Mephistophelian villainy of "The Black Angel" - felt forced and fell flat in "The Unquiet".

John Connolly is too talented to write a bad novel and despite its weaknesses, "The Unquiet" is deeper and more interesting than the average thriller. But where previous Parker novels were page-turners, I was easily distracted while reading this one, an often tedious effort that had all the right elements, but missed in the delicate balance between action and atmosphere.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exceptional addition to the Parker series June 1 2007
By Gabriela Perez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you've never read a Charlie Parker novel, I urge you to quickly open up a search page for Amazon (or run to your fave bookstore, whichever is your preference) and begin reading. I read many books each year, but few stand out in my memory like the Parker novels.

That said, I must admit that the last one seemed a bit of departure to me, with its much broader scope and its heavy-duty philosophical and historical bent. I enjoyed it tremendously, but I enjoyed this one even more because it's much more like the earlier ones I loved so much.

We begin this book with Parker separated from Rachel and Sam, a separation that seems to be inching towards permanence, and one that causes Parker great pain but about which he feels relatively powerless, I think. What separates him from Rachel is something that he can't immediately control or maybe even fully understand because doing so would involve digging very deeply into his own psyche.

In this novel, Parker's forced to confront that psyche, the way his own decisions have led to his isolation from some of the people he loves best, from sanity, even. The ghosts of his dead first wife and daughter continue to haunt him, but his understanding of that haunting changes. I won't give away any major plot points here, but I will tell you that it's good to see Parker becoming more self-aware, not just in the sense that he knows he's flawed but in the sense that he has some control over how his experiences shape him and follow him into his future.

Angel and Louis show up, which is a good thing, as I like them both as characters. They're funny even in their cold-blooded murderous moments. But they're also human, and it's good to see them covering Parker's back as they always do.

The Collector returns, and I must admit to being enthralled by this character as well. He serves both as a catalyst for Parker's increased self-awareness and for Parker's self-doubts and even self-loathing. He also helps move the plot along in a logical and compelling way.

Other characters continue to guide the reader over complex psychological terrain. If you thought Louis and Angel were studies in contrasts and grey areas, wait until you encounter Merrick here. This man, a killer who carries with him the reek of the abattoir, has a moral code that makes it hard to consider him the bad guy that he is. So, too, the Collector. You want to run screaming in the opposite direction at the same time that you are thinking, "dammit, I kind of. . .GET where he's coming from."

The themes of child sexual abuse and adults' inability to confront the damage they inflict on children in order to serve their own twisted agendas are as compelling as always, especially when Mr. Connolly weaves in history and the backgrounds of his characters to make more powerful and intriguing connections.

I've been told that consistently rating Mr. Connolly's work with 5 stars may look as though I can't rate very objectively, but here's the thing: Mr. Connolly's writing, in particular the Parker series, is some of the best I've ever read, and so far there's been not one major misstep on the writer's part. I continue to enjoy reading about Charlie, laughing at his wit, learning more about his circle of friends and defenders, and witnessing his struggle to achieve some lasting level of happiness. Perhaps it's that last one most of all that always makes me wait with great anticipation for the next book in the series.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate Thriller Writing May 30 2007
By J. Chippindale - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
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 general gofer at Harrods department store in London. He studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, and spent several years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper, to which he continues to contribute.

Daniel Clay, a once-respected psychologist, has been missing for years following revelations about harm done to the children in his care. His daughter Rebecca believes that he is dead and has tried to come to terms with the legacy left by her father. But there is someone who does not believe that her father is dead and they are starting to ask awkward questions. The man is a father and a killer who is obsessed with finding out the truth about his own daughter's disappearance.

A private detective Charlie Parker is taken on board to make Merrick go away but he will not be stopped. Parker soon finds himself trapped between those who want to know the truth and those who are desperate for it to remain hidden . . .

I found the book both moving and chilling at the same time. An unusual combination to say the least, but the author is a master of his craft and certainly knows how to keep his reader's in suspense throughout the book until the final pages.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The latest masterful combination of Crime and Horror and Suspense May 15 2007
By Tom H - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The first novel I ever read by John Connolly was one that I plucked from a remainder bin at a store that was called The Book Warehouse. The edition was a signed copy of The Killing Kind and within the covers was the signature of the author above a small hand-drawn rendering of a gallows. I suppose, in retrospect, the rendering was what hooked me into thumbing through the pages (and then wondering at the mistake of a book that well written being placed in a remainder bin). Well, for whatever reason, it was my good fortune. And I haven't stopped thumbing and reading anything and everything published by Mister Connolly before or since.

This latest volume seems to bookend the one that I found that day in a bookstore that has since closed it doors. This is the sixth novel, of a series of novels, that traces the origins of a character named Charlie Parker (a former New York City police detective and current private eye). There is a seventh novel (Bad Men) but Charlie Parker appears only briefly and so is not really mentioned.

The prologue to The Killing Kind opens with the statement:

"This is a honeycomb world. It hides a hollow heart."

The prologue to The Unquiet contains the words:

"This world, too, is a fragile construct, a honeycomb place...."

And this latest volume continues the journey that began with the brutal murders of Mister Parker's wife and daughter (the brutality of that occurring during the opening scenes of Mister Connolly's first novel: Every Dead Thing).

Having read all of the editions in the Parker series (I say `series'... but each of the novels stand alone, while at the same time furthering the development of the main character) suggests that I should comment on an edition that I find to be even more mature and more complete (and that opinion being rendered by a person judging the other novels as being equally brilliant in theme and execution). Charlie has traveled far and wide and has witnessed evil and been subjected to evil. And his soul has suffered as result. But now he is feeling in control (somewhat) and has arrived at the place where he is questioning the `whole' of it. He is wondering if he himself is really one of the `good guys' or... one of the `bad'. And during that internal monologue, he is drawing us all into some very uncomfortable conclusions.

This is the journey of a man tormented by the passing of time and the festering of personal guilt. And this latest entry involves a mystery stretching from near to distant past and drawing characters further and further into a web of deceit and betrayal. And no one should feel surprise at the villains in this edition. They are no less mysterious or frightening than previous incarnations. Some of these characters have wandered the scenery before and will undoubtedly wander again.

This time around there is a specter of child murder and sexual abuse looming above all and weaving threads of several tales and several characters (with those characters and tales converging at the end).

Merrick is at once enigmatic and interesting; a person with particular failings and even more particular talents; a tormented soul who is brutal to the extreme. That said, he is also faithful to certain ideals and somehow strangely likeable (but that may be just to my particular liking... and maybe because I'm strangely drawn to violence of the sort).

The usual supernatural elements are also present and keep you guessing whether figures really do exist or are drifting between dimensions of reality and super-reality. In any event... the whole of it works and in quite enjoyable fashion.

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