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The White Road by John Connolly
== Plot synopsis ==
This is the fourth novel in the Charlie 'Bird' Parker series. He is a private detective who lost his wife and young child in an earlier novel to a serial killer, and is trying to rebuild his life whilst at the same time trying to help others.
Several plots are intertwined in this, the primary one revolves around a young black man who has been given the death penalty for the rape and murder of Marianne Larousse, who was the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in South Carolina.
No one around there will touch the case and Parker is the only one willing to take it on.
Along his journey, he will meet his arch enemy - the Preacher again who he met in an earlier novel, and a serial killer Cyrus Nairn.
Parker has to fend off evil from all sides and protect both himself and his new family . . .
== My thoughts ==
I would say this was one of my favourite books in this series. I like the way the author is able to manipulate language and make you feel as if you are actually there. He is able to get across the pain and evil in this world. It is a very dark novel, though it has some light moments dotted throughout.
You need to have read the earlier books in the series really to understand some of the references that are made especially as one of the bad guys known as the Preacher makes an appearance in the last novel and then in this one also.
The author manages to keep developing Parker's character and you also get to learn a bit more about his two gay sidekicks. They are called Louis and Angel and are assassins with a conscience. Louis is a black man and you get a glimpse into his past in the racist South of the US during the 1960's and an incident when he witnessed the lynching and burning of an innocent man. That is described right near the start and I could imagine the pain and despair the man felt, by the way the author goes about in setting / describing the scene.
The narrative does sometimes jump between different characters and times but I managed to follow it fine.
There are supernatural elements in this for anyone who is not familiar with this series which is another reason this is quite a dark and I would say depressing novel. It is strongly indicated that Parker along with the other evil people he comes in contact with may have been rebel angels who were banished down to Earth after they rebelled. Parker is the only one who seeks to redeem himself even though he doesn't know he was an 'angel', and for that reason evil seems to get attracted to him.
There is also the presence of characters who don't seem of this world, in the way that they act.
== Audio narration and availability ==
This was read By Paul Birchard. The audio CD version of this is available from the Isis Publishing website (www.isis-publishing.co.uk) for £32.49. I would recommend you check in your local library first though.
== Summary and recommendation ==
I give this 5 stars. I can definitely recommend this. However, I would just like to point out that it is very dark in the subject matter it covers. I liked the themes of evil, redemption and racism that are explored in this.
And also, as with all his previous novels, I wasn't able to predict the ending right till the end. The various pieces of the puzzle appear unconnected, but the author is able to join them together into a masterfully crafted story by the end.