"An ideal starting point for newcomers to the series . . . As ever, Connolly creates an unsettling atmosphere with a few well-chosen words, and the final chapters set up some potentially highly volatile encounters in the books to come."
"Beautifully written as always . . . piles thrill upon thrill while uncovering some uncomfortable truths."
"A fabulous piece of work from one of contemporary fiction's great storytellers."
A Song of Shadows
As Parker recovers from near-mortal injury, he comes to the aid of a mother and daughter with dangerous secrets.
Still recovering from his life-threatening wounds, private detective Charlie Parker investigates a case that has its origins in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. Parker has retreated to the small Maine town of Boreas to regain his strength. There he befriends a widow named Ruth Winter and her young daughter, Amanda. But Ruth has her secrets. She is hiding from the past, and the forces that threaten her have their origins in the Second World War, in a town called Lubsko and a concentration camp unlike any other. Old atrocities are about to be unearthed, and old sinners will kill to hide their sins. Now Parker is about to risk his life to defend a woman he barely knows, one who fears him almost as much as she fears those who are coming for her. His enemies believe him to be vulnerable. Fearful. Solitary. But they are wrong. Parker is far from afraid, and far from alone. For something is emerging from the shadows . . .
Excerpt from Chapter I
Only two houses stood on the bay, both of which were former summer homes, one bought in haste and repented at leisure, and the other a family bequest that had remained unloved and unused following the reading of the will. In truth, Soames had despaired of ever selling, or even renting, either of them, and it had come as a surprise and a relief when both attracted occupants within weeks of each other, even if the pleasure in finally securing some income for his clients—and a monthly percentage for himself—was tempered slightly by the identity of one of the renters.
Soames had read about the private detective named Charlie Parker, of course, even before the shooting and convalescence that had brought him at last to Boreas. Soames had some friends and former clients in both the Bangor PD and the Maine State Police, and was privy to barroom details of the man’s life that had never made it into any newspaper. If Parker wasn’t quite trouble, he was closely related to it.
Initially, though, the approach about renting the house came from a lawyer named Aimee Price down in South Freeport, who told Soames that she had a client who needed privacy and quiet, in order to recover from a recent trauma. She came up to Boreas to view the house, decided that it met her client’s needs, and signed a lease, all in the space of a single morning. Yet negotiations over the rent made the meetings of the town council seem somnolent by comparison, and Soames had come out of the whole business bruised, battered, and checking to make sure that Price hadn’t stolen his watch as well. Only when the lease agreement was signed did Price mention the name of her client: Charlie Parker.
“The private detective?” said Soames, as he watched the ink dry on the lease. “The one who got shot up?”
“Yes. Is that a problem?”
Soames thought about the question. It would only be a problem if the people who had tried to kill Parker came back for another attempt. The house had been hard enough to rent as things stood. The owners would be better off burning it to the ground if it became the scene of a massacre. It would also be likely to cost him his seat on the council. He wouldn’t be popular if his lax standards led to Boreas becoming famous for something other than Forrest’s Ice Cream Parlor and the shrimp étouffée at Crawley’s Cajun Citchen. (“The Best Cajun Food in These Parts,” which, all things considered, wasn’t a slogan to set the heart alight, even if Crawley’s did serve damned fine food, although that cutesy misspelling of “kitchen” caused Soames to twitch involuntarily every time he saw it in print.)
He decided that honesty might be the best policy.
“Look, a man like that has enemies,” he said, “and nobody has ever been shot in Boreas. I mean, ever.”
“Maybe you could put it on your sign,” said Price. “You know: ‘Boreas: 75,000 days without a shooting,’ like building sites do for workplace accidents.”
Soames tried to figure out if she was being facetious, and decided that she probably was. It has seemed like a good idea, too, if only for a moment.
“Unhelpful suggestions about signage aside,” said Soames, “his reputation might be a matter of concern.”
“There’s no risk of a repeat of the incident that led to his injuries.”
“You seem very certain of that.”