For October 2023, I’m going to read as many horror- and/or Halloween-themed books as I can. It’s my own personal reading challenge to clear some stuff off my shelf and engage with other stuff on my TBR list.
A few years ago, there was the framework of a tweet that made the rounds saying Men will literally do X instead of go to therapy. “X” could be watching football or training for UFC or any other such thing. The roots of it were legit: men are conditioned not to talk about their feelings. But like a lot of things on social media, it lurched into parody and is now in the bargain basement of irony.
So it’s a bit of a used reference but this book is basically a Man Would Rather Be Miserable and Fight Evil in the Most Miserable Way Possible Than Go to Therapy book.
I’ve written at length about my disinterest with the whole Broken Man problem in crime fiction. It’s so old. It’s so tired. It’s so unoriginal. I know this book came out over twenty years ago but it’s still all of those things.
And it’s a shame cuz I really want to like this series. I was able to stomach the first one after waiting in line for four hours for dose #1 of the covid vaccine. But it has a lot of the same themes: mystery, horror, great atmosphere…and a Broken Man protagonist that just drags the whole story down.
This dude’s wife and daughter were murdered before the series began. Of course, murdered woman and child, a girl at that. But still…go to therapy my dude. Buy a dog. Because these monsters need to be fought by someone I actually want to read about.
Many have said these books get better by #3, where John Connolly leans hard into the supernatural elements. I hope so. I do want these to be good because everything around them, everything around them is good except for the lead.