Charlie Parker is back, and he throws down with the Devil himself in The Woman in the Woods, the 16th book in John Connolly’s New York Times bestselling series.
Deep in the Maine woods, heavy rain leads to a disturbing revelation. The corpse of a young woman, her body perfectly preserved in a secret grave, is suddenly unearthed, raising a number of questions. Chief among them, what happened to her baby? Forensic analysts have determined that the woman gave birth to a child just before dying. The only clue, which may not be a clue at all, is a religious symbol left near the scene.
To get answers, Charlie Parker is hired by Moxie Castin to identify the woman and see if he can figure out what happened to the child. Assisting him is the ever loyal Louis, though longtime fans will notice the absence of Angel, who does appear but is largely sidelined while he undergoes an operation to help battle a serious medical issue (his fate could become a focal point later on). Together, Charlie and Louis get busy, only to quickly discover that they aren’t the only people looking into the woman in the woods — setting them on a collision course with a number of baddies, including a truly evil Englishman who tops them all.
Quayle, a British attorney who’s hunting a mythical book that could forever change the world by completely altering the way humans perceive gods, is perhaps the very epitome of evil. One of Connolly’s darkest antagonists to date, the supernatural themes that were slowly built up in this series are on full display here as Quayle and Parker square off, a fight made more complicated after Louis manages to start a small war with a local deadbeat named Bobby Ocean. As if all that isn’t enough, there’s a boy in the woods who receives calls on his toy phone. . . including one from a woman who’s said to be dead.
Connolly excels at introducing a simple idea or message and then wrapping copious amounts of danger and conflict around them by utilizing a number of sub-plots and secondary characters. That’s certainly the case this time around, as the issue at heart deals with an abused woman fleeing her situation to make a better life. That in and of itself is straightforward, but from there on out, Connolly is purely unpredictable. He’ll even trick readers into thinking they can guess the ending, before leaving them shocked and clamoring for book seventeen.
Rich with characters and told with his usual blend of humor and darkness, The Woman in the Woods has all the mystique of John Connolly’s best thrillers, topped off with his most evil antagonist yet.
Author: John Connolly
Series: Charlie Parker #16
Pages: 496 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.