This is book is something. A lot. Too much. Entertaining. Frustrating. It really runs the gamut.
It would probably be easier to review it by listing the good and the bad…
-Deep sense of atmosphere.
-Two twisty mysteries for the price of one.
-Tries a lot of different genres and, for the most part, mashes them up well.
-Uses art and history in an intriguing way, especially when describing the killings (I was getting Hannibal tv show vibes)
-Really well-plotted for a first mystery book, especially one that is so long.
-Oh, God, where to start with the cliches? Alcoholic ex-cop who leaves the force with regret. Every racial and sexual minority character is thinly written. A damsel in distress who exists to help the male protagonist connect to himself. A diabolical serial killer (unoriginal). Italian mobsters written in the most stereotypical way possible.
-Most of the people brutally murdered are women and children.
-Killer of the second mystery was too obvious.
-Far too many tangents; book really needed a better editor.
It’s a mess but it’s an entertaining mess and it left me wanting more from this series. It’s been recommended to me for so long, including from those who enjoy Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer series, which is my personal favorite private eye series. I didn’t see a lot of Archer’s empathetic protagonist in Charlie Parker but John Connolly showed that he may have more up his sleeve for his main character. I’m interested to see how he will operate in Maine.