Newest Review: ... author manages to keep you guessing as to who is good and who is bad. There are several different plot threads running alongside ea... more
Someone's been telling lies . . .
The Burning Soul (Audio Download) - John Connolly
Member Name: Neo420
The Burning Soul (Audio Download) - John Connolly
Advantages: Characterisation + manages to weave together multiple subplots into one single point at the end
Disadvantages: None that are too major
== Plot synopsis ==
This is the tenth book in the Charlie Parker series. He is a private detective who has experienced much pain and grief in his life.
Parker is now separated from his ex-girlfriend Rachel though he still tries to see his daughter, Sam when he can. They have come to an understanding of sorts. He tries to keep his distance from Sam as he knows he is a marked man but still is uncertain why or for what reason.
The story starts off by detailing the disappearance and resulting investigation of Anna Corry, a 14 year old child, from a small emote town in Maine (USA). Pasturs Bay is the name of the town
Randall Haight is a convicted child killer who has served his time and is now living in Pasturs Bay. Someone though has found out about his past and is tormenting him by sending him anonymous reminders of his crime.
Parker is brought in to find out who this is. He decides to take on the case thinking it may have something to do with the Anna Corry disappearance.
What he comes up against is a history of violence and deceit involving the local police, FBI, the Mob and Anna Corry's family.
Even his client Randall Haight isn't telling all the truth for Randall Haight has been telling lies . . .
"In the worst of all men, there is a little bit of good that will destroy them" William Rose 1914-1987
== My thoughts ==
Like most of the other novels in this series, I liked the way the author uses vivid imagery to get across the nature of evil or Parker's feelings. I also liked the way we get to know and see how the various characters think and behave as the story progresses.
The author manages to keep you guessing as to who is good and who is bad. There are several different plot threads running alongside each other which come together by the end. I had no problem in following them though.
Although, it seemed to me that there were no good guys left by the end of the novel with all the backstabbing and double crossing going on. The ending seemed to be a bit too overcrowded with twist after twist coming in quick succession.
The main theme of the novel revolves around child killers and paedophilia. It raises some interesting questions around killers who kill children or commit any other violent or monstrous crime but are children themselves when they commit the crime, and what should be done to them.
There is a reference to the Jamie Bulger case and part of the story has some similarities to it. Two children both aged 14 rape and kill a young girl who is 14 also. They are jailed for 18 years, but they are made part of a social experiment to try to rehabilitate them and to give them the opportunity to start over by giving them new identities on their release.
I think a kid of 14 is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. They should live with the consequences. I do not think giving them new identities on their release would help. If a child does commit a murder, I would think it would be very hard to rehabilitate them, as even if you do, they would then have to live with the knowledge and guilt of their crime. As the novel illustrates quite elegantly, they then also have to deal with having two different identities, one is the child killer and the other one is the one they are given after their release.
I didn't know this but in the US, apparently any police investigation into a missing child would consider the child dead after the first 3 hours of them having disappeared.
There is also the involvement of organised crime. You will have to read the novel to find out exactly how but it gave the author the chance to bring in Louis and Angel who are two gay lovers. They are two elite assassins and friends of Parker. I would have liked to have seen them appear more. I enjoy reading their antics and it is quite funny reading some of their dialog as they bicker amongst each other. It adds some much needed humour to proceedings. Although, Parker does display a dark sense of humour at times.
One of the characters that appears in the story is Tommy Morris, a mobster who is on the way down. His enemies are lining up to kill him. All his so called friends and associates have deserted him apart from two loyal henchmen, - Martin Demcey and Francis Ryan. I liked following the two henchman and seeing how the dynamics between the two of them developed and their fear / feelings as they try to outrun their enemies, whilst staying loyal to their boss.
There is some religious symbolism with the cross being used near the start and with it dealing with life after death. But I didn't find this too overwhelming.
== Audio narration and availability ==
This was unabridged and is 13 hours and 2 minutes in length. It is read by two narrators - George Guidall and Tony Ward. They both take turns in narrating the story. Tony Ward reads the passages that are written in the first person in the voice of Parker and George Guidall reads the rest.
I preferred listening to Tony Ward's voice, but I felt he didn't change his voice enough when speaking dialog for other characters apart from Parker. It made it difficult to distinguish who was speaking sometimes - Parker or another character. By the end of the novel though I had gotten used to his voice.
The use of two narrators worked well, as it helped to separate the story into two threads based on the person reading it. I also don't think I would have been able to listen to all the audio book had one of them read all the book by themselves. There voices aren't all that great but they help to cancel each other out and give some variety, making it easier to listen to all the audio book without falling asleep.
It also helped me to separate out the different threads of the story in my mind, as there are a lot of different characters to follow and keep track of.
== Summary and recommendation ==
I give this 4 stars. It kept me reading all the way through and the use of so many different threads, kept me wondering as to where the story was headed and who was good and who may be bad. The ending seemed a bit overcrowded with the amount of bad guys that show up, but I can't complain.
It accomplishes the most important thing which is that it made me think with the questions it raises around child killers, and it also entertained. That is what I want from a good novel.
"Here is a truth, a truth by which to live ...
There is hope. There is always hope. If we choose to abandon it, our souls will turn to ash and blow away.
But the soul can burn, and not be dammed. The soul can burn, with a bright fire, and never turn to ash."
Summary: A definite must read if you liked any of the earlier novels in the Charlie Parker series
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