Saturday, June 10, 2017
Review of "A Time of Torment" by John Connolly
Roger Ormsby is an evil man who delights in making people 'disappear' so their families will endure maximum long-term suffering. Ormsby is about to do away with a little girl he snatched when Private Detective Charlie Parker and his partners, Angel and Louis, show up to save the day. As it happens ANY bad guys on Parker's radar better watch their backs because Charlie and his pals are the best killers around. Moreover, Parker has a complicated relationship with some supernatural beings who lend a hand on occasion. Thus Charlie's a guy you'd always want in your corner (at least I would).
The main story in this 14th book in the series revolves around ex-convict Jerome Burnel. Burnel was once an unhappily married jewelry dealer who saved the lives of several people by killing a couple of sadistic thieves. The thieves' enraged relatives then framed Burnel for child pornography and got him sent to prison for five years, where Burnel was regularly tormented and beaten. Burnel - now a broken man - is out on parole and convinced his enemies are still after him. Thus Burnel tells Parker the whole story and hires the detective to investigate if he disappears.
As things turn out Burnel soon vanishes and Parker's investigation leads him to a secluded enclave called 'The Cut' in Plassey County, West Virginia. The families in The Cut, who've lived there for generations, don't allow outsiders on their land. The Cut grows its own food and - to make money - steals and perpetrates other crimes. The Cut also harbors some vicious killers - and the stunts the residents get up to with kidnapped women are unspeakable! On top of all that, The Cut is led by a strange entity called 'The Dead King.'
Parker becomes convinced that people from The Cut killed Burnel and - learning that the community is evil - makes it his mission to destroy it. Of course Angel and Louis are on hand to help, as are other law enforcement officials and agencies. In one of my favorite scenes killers from The Cut try to ambush Parker in his motel. The action - including some deft work by Angel and Louis - is dramatic and exciting.
There are plenty of interesting characters in the story including: a trio that entices men with a sexy woman, then robs them; Burnel's ex-wife - who's a piece of work; a depraved convict Burnel meets in prison; hillbillies living in The Cut; a mentally-challenged boy living outside The Cut; and a sheriff that - unlike most of his neighbors - stands up to leaders of The Cut. There are also a couple of ghosts and some of Parker's other-worldly acquaintances.
I enjoyed the story, and highly recommend it readers who enjoy thrillers - especially fans of Charlie Parker.
Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for a copy of the book.