"Connolly builds some painstaking research into a narrative of carefully orchestrated tension. Of course, a principal problem for thriller writers today is the creation of a satisfyingly nasty villain — no stone has been left unturned by legions of thriller writers. But in this area Connolly has few equals — and the chilling monster created here is another key factor in the compulsiveness of this tense novel."
"This second novel is subtler and more complex than the bestselling Every Dead Thing. Connolly's lyrical language and occasional mystical passages are reminiscent of James Lee Burke. His hero is developing into a credible and sympathetic personality."
"Connolly's evocative prose and sharp one-liners make it oddly akin to poetry. What keeps Dark Hollow from being mere thrilling entertainment with a taste for violence is the compelling if problematic sense that moral choice is possible and necessary: that, in the face of evil, something must be done."
PI Charlie Parker seeks justice for a dead woman and her son in a wintry Maine town.
A young woman, Rita Ferris, and her little boy die at the hands of an unknown killer, and the past and present collide violently for Charlie Parker. Still raw from the brutal slayings of his wife and daughter, and the events surrounding the hunt for their killer, the Traveling Man, Parker has retreated to the wintry Maine landscapes of his youth. But his return reawakens the ghosts of the past, forcing him to join the hunt for Billy Purdue, Rita's ex-husband and the chief suspect in the slayings. As the death toll mounts, it becomes clear that someone else is hunting for Billy Purdue, someone who seems to know Parker almost as well as he knows himself, and that the true answer to the puzzle lies thirty years in the past; in a tree with strange fruit; in the troubled history of Parker's own grandfather; and in the violent origins of a mythical killer: the monster known only as Caleb Kyle.
I dream dark dreams.
I dream of a figure moving through the forest, of children flying from his path, of young women crying at his coming. I dream of snow and ice, of bare branches and moon-cast shadows. I dream of dancers floating in the air, stepping lightly even in death, and my own pain is but a faint echo of their suffering as I run. My blood is black on the snow, and the edges of the world are silvered with moonlight. I run into the darkness, and he is waiting.
I dream in black and white, and I dream of him.
I dream of Caleb, who does not exist, and I am afraid.
The Dodge Intrepid stood beneath a stand of firs, its windshield facing out to sea, the lights off, the key in the ignition to keep the heater running. No snow had fallen this far south, not yet, but there was frost on the ground. From nearby came the sound of the waves breaking on Ferry Beach, the only noise to disturb the stillness of the Maine winter night. A floating jetty bobbed close to the shore, lobster pots piled high upon it. Four boats lay shrouded in tarpaulin behind the red wooden boathouse, and a catamaran was tied down close to the public access boat ramp. Otherwise, the parking lot was empty.
The passenger door opened and Chester Nash climbed quickly into the car, his teeth chattering and his long brown coat drawn tightly around him. Chester was small and wiry, with long dark hair and a sliver of a mustache on his upper lip that stretched down beyond the corners of his mouth. He thought the mustache made him look dashing. Everyone else thought it made him look mournful, thus the nickname “Cheerful Chester.” If there was one thing guaranteed to make Chester Nash mad, it was people calling him Cheerful Chester. He had once stuck his gun in Paulie Block’s mouth for calling him Cheerful Chester. Paulie Block had almost ripped his arm off for doing it, although, as he explained to Cheerful Chester while he slapped him repeatedly across the head with hands as big as shovels, he understood the reason why Chester had done it. Reasons just didn’t excuse everything, that was all.
“I hope you washed your hands,” said Paulie Block, who sat in the driver’s seat of the Dodge, maybe wondering why Chester couldn’t have taken a leak earlier like any normal individual instead of insisting on pissing against a tree in the woods by the shore and letting all of the heat out of the car while he did it.
“Man, it’s cold,” said Chester. “This is the coldest goddamn place I have ever been in my whole goddamn life. My meat nearly froze out there. Any colder, I’da pissed ice cubes.”
Paulie Block took a long drag on his cigarette and watched as the tip flared briefly red before returning to gray ash. Paulie Block was aptly named. He was six-three, weighed two-eighty, and had a face that looked like it had been used to shunt trains. He made the interior of the car look cramped just by being there. All things considered, Paulie Block could have made Giants Stadium look cramped just by being there.
Chester glanced at the digital clock on the dash, the green numerals seeming to hang suspended in the dark.
“They’re late,” he said.
“They’ll be here,” said Paulie. “They’ll be here.”
He returned to his cigarette and stared out to sea. He probably didn’t look too hard. There was nothing to be seen, just blackness and the lights of Old Orchard Beach beyond. Beside him, Chester Nash began playing with a Game Boy.
Outside, the wind blew and the waves washed rhythmically on the beach, and the sound of their voices carried over the cold ground to where others were watching and listening.