"Complex, pulse-pounding . . . Connolly’s nuanced characterizations and facility at creating spooky atmospherics make it easy to suspend disbelief"
"A really well-crafted and absorbing doorstop of a novel"
"This is the seventeenth book in the Parker series, and it’s as fresh and surprising as the first."
A Book of Bones
Parker joins the hunt for an ancient volume whose discovery may destroy reality itself.
On a lonely moor in the northeast of England, the body of a young woman is discovered near the site of a vanished church. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull.
Each is a sacrifice, a summons.
And something in the darkness has heard the call.
But another is coming: Parker the hunter, the avenger. From the forests of Maine to the deserts of the Mexican border, from the canals of Amsterdam to the streets of London, he will track those who would cast this world into darkness.
Parker fears no evil.
But evil fears him . . .
Desert, scrub, and a city in the sunlight: Phoenix, Arizona.
“Business?” asked the woman sitting next to Parker, as the plane made its final approach. They hadn’t spoken since the flight left Texas, but Parker had registered her curiosity. He’d passed her as he was being escorted to the gate, bypassing security entirely, a federal agent to either side of hi, their weapons visible. He was surprised it had taken her so long to strike up a conversation. Her self-discipline was admirable.
“I’m sorry?” he said.
She was in her early forties, he estimated, and recently divorced. The pale circle around her ring finger was visible against her southwestern coloration. Her hair was dark, and her eyes were kind, if wary. The separation had probably been painful.
“I was wondering if you’re here on business.”
Parker returned his gaze to the window, but she was persistent.
“Do you mind if I ask what it is you do?”
The correct reply should have been “yes” for a second time, but he didn’t want to appear rude. It would make her feel bad, and he wouldn’t feel much better.
“I hunt,” said Parker. He was surprised to hear the words emerge, as though spoken by another in his stead.
“Oh.” Her disapproval was obvious.
“But not animals,” he added, as the voice decided to make the situation yet more complicated.
“Oh,” she said again.
He could almost hear the cogs turning.
“So, you hunt . . . people?”
The wheels came down, and the plane hit the ground with a jolt that caused someone at the back to yelp in the manner of a wounded dog.
“Like a bounty hunter?” asked the woman.
“Like a bounty hunter.”
“So that’s what you are?”
“Oh,” she said, for the third time. I guess I shouldn’t have asked, but I saw the people with you at the airport, and . . .”
She trailed off. She was holding a magazine in her hands, which she now opened and pretended to read as they taxied to the terminal. Parker had set aside his own book, a copy of Montaigne’s Essays gifted to him by Louis. It was the first time Louis had ever passed on a book to him. Lately, Louis had become quite the bibliophile. They both had, because in recent months they’d been learning a lot about old volumes.
Parker wasn’t entirely clear on why Essays should have particularly engaged Louis, although he had to concede that Montaigne wasn’t short of opinions on just about every subject under the sun, from thumbs to cannibals. Initially Parker had persisted with the book because of its giver, but now Montaigne was getting under his skin. Montaigne knew a lot, yet his essays weren’t about displaying what he knew so much as working toward some understanding of all he didn’t know, which made him an unusual individual by any reckoning. Since the flight had been delayed by almost an hour, he’d had plenty of time to spend in Montaigne’s company.
The plane came to a halt, but Parker didn’t rush to get up. He was seated in the second row, was traveling only with cabin bags, and knew that more federal agents would be waiting for him at the gate. He would be in a car and on his way from the airport before most of his fellow travelers had even claimed their baggage.
The door opened, and the first passengers began to disembark. The woman who had been sitting beside him was now wrestling an overfilled case from the compartment. He helped her to free it, and she thanked him.
“I’m sorry for prying,” she said.
He followed her from the plane, and she fell into step beside him.
“Look,” she said, “if you’re in town for a few days, maybe you might like to meet for a drink. I’ll buy, as an apology, and I promise I won’t ask any more questions about what you do for a living. At least, I’ll try not to.”
“That’s very generous of you,” said Parker, “but I won’t be staying long.”