Today’s feature comes courtesy of Mihir Wanchoo, who reviews over at Fantasy Book Critic.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews

When I saw Amanda’s call going out for readers everywhere to write about their favourite authors and “why others should read them too” I was intrigued. When I thought about who I could write about, one name popped out in my head…. John Connolly. Its not as if John needs any help from me or any other blogger for that matter, his books are popular on both sides of the Atlantic as well with readers from both genres of mystery thrillers & SF, but I couldn’t resist encouraging others to read him. John was first published in 1999 with Every Dead Thing. It was a thriller which began with the murder of Charlie Parker’s wife and daughter. After a dark beginning the story started introducing us to Parker’s world: his past; his friends Angel and Louis; his allies such as Jackie Garner; and the enemies he keeps on getting entangled with.

The series about Charlie Parker until The White Road was set more in the mystery/private eye thriller market, however readers couldn’t completely discount that the world of Connolly’s books seemed more mystical(for lack of a better term) than immediately apparent. The fifth book The Black Angel changed the equation and gave the readers something concrete to go upon, the story and mythology perpetuated in this book made the series that much more intriguing and gave the readers an inkling of John’s plans for Parker.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe next few years John had his readers guessing as he stretched his mental muscles and laced his Charlie Parker thrillers with more of the mystical happenings. He continued the Parker series with The Unquiet and The Lovers and in between those gave us a book called The Reapers which was from the view point of Angel & Louis and was a tour de force for John as it contained his lyrical writing, brilliant characterization and huge amounts of black humor.

The main reason why I love Connolly’s books is his ability to present a grey world and the dangers inherent within it. It shows us the glory and ghastly nature within all of humanity. His writing often speaks of a honeycomb world in which echoes of the past are trapped and often resurface to have similar effects. His characters come in all shades and give us a multivariate look into human emotions and how similarly different we all are. Lastly the humour content in all his books helps to lessen the tension percolating between the pages.

Some people would sum up his books as “melancholy tinged, dark humor-laced thrillers”. However, I would caution readers to see beyond that simple description. What differentiates Connolly from the other authors writing similar work is that he strides the fine line between a realistic world and a metaphysical one. The reader is constantly given hints about both worlds and is presented with a viewpoint that what is seen may be not be entirely as it seems. John Connolly is an artist with his words and ideas: though he uses them for fiction and entertainment this does not detract from his ability to conjure up worlds which you can become immersed in and never wish to leave. Discover for yourself the darkly alluring world of John Connolly books.

With great thanks to Mihir!

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  • Amanda Rutter (guest)

    AMANDA RUTTER, one of our guest reviewers, used to be an accountant in the UK but she escaped the world of numbers and is now living in a fantasy world she creates. She runs Angry Robot's YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. And we knew her when....

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