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  • Clair Lamb

October 26, 2021

Dear Folks,

Apologies for getting in touch again so soon after our last little rendezvous (*assumes coquettish pose, puts little finger of right hand to bottom lip, gets moved along by the police*), but it’s just one of those times, given that this week sees not one but two new books hit the shelves, one with considerably more heft than the other, considering its size, although both are much loved. All of which is to say that just because I’m reaching out again shouldn’t lead you to assume that I’m stalking you, going through your bins, watching you last thing at night, or inspecting your home after lights out, because that would be wrong. I know, because the judge told me last time. Mind you, you are out of milk.

Moving swiftly along . . .

Tuesday, October 26 is the long-awaited publication date for THE NAMELESS ONES in all formats in the USA and Canada. At noon New York time, I’ll be talking about the book with The Mysterious Bookshop, an event that will stream worldwide on their YouTube page and their Facebook page, and will be available to watch after the fact. (Last week’s event with The Poisoned Pen is also available for playback on YouTube or Facebook.)

While supplies last, signed bookplates, playing cards and tote bags are available with the purchase of the book from these fine stores:

Thursday, October 28 is the much-anticipated publication date for SHADOW VOICES in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Every copy of the first printing is signed, and the first 1,000 copies have been distributed to stores with tote bags and envelopes of ephemera related to the authors featured in the book. The stores that have those bags and envelopes, while supplies last, are listed below. Mind you, some have already sold out of their tote/envelope editions, but if you ask nicely, one of them may be able to oblige:

An essay I wrote for The Irish Times, which you can read here, says a bit about why I felt it was important to compile SHADOW VOICES. (Apologies for referring to Douglas Hyde as the first president of the Irish Free State. He was, of course—and as I’m well aware—the first president of Ireland, but by this point not only do I struggle to see the wood from the trees where this book is concerned—all 450,000 words of it, give or take—I struggle even to discern trees from other trees. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done as a writer. All I can ask, to quote Kate Bush, is that readers be kind to my mistakes.)

Early responses to the book have been better than my publishers or I had hoped, and it looks like the book will go into a second printing during the coming week, so these copies, in quite a small first edition, will, I suspect, prove to be quite collectible. We are very close to having news about when and how SHADOW VOICES will be available to readers in the USA and Canada, so watch Twitter, Facebook, and the website for that information. In the meantime, for the collectors among you, most of the stores listed above are happy to ship abroad.

We’re officially launching SHADOW VOICES on Thursday with The Gutter Bookshop, but I understand that all the tickets for that event have been claimed, with a waiting list in operation. Still, you’re welcome to come along from about 7:30 p.m. onward to pick up a copy of the book and say hello, and you should also feel free to bring copies of books from the last year or two to be signed, given my absence during the Great Unpleasantness. We would invite you to wear costumes, but since October 28 is also the day that Samuel Johnson showed initiative by trick-or-treating at the Abernathys’ house, precipitating the events of THE GATES, this feels unwise.


Saturday, October 30 brings a special Halloween edition of my radio show, ABC to XTC, on RTÉ Gold, which streams from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Dublin time, and is available for playback via the RTÉ Player app or the RTÉ Gold website for a few weeks after that.

Monday, November 1 is the beginning of a weeklong rebroadcast of “Five Ghost Stories by John Connolly,” read by the legendary Tony Doyle, on BBC Radio 4. “The Erlking” runs on Monday, “Mr Pettinger’s Demon” on Tuesday, “Mr Gray’s Folly” on Wednesday, “The Ritual of the Bones” on Thursday, and “Nocturne” on Friday. These stories originally aired in 2000, and revised versions were published in NOCTURNES several years later. Tony, God rest him, passed away shortly after doing the readings. I think he was a bit skeptical about “The Ritual of the Bones” before he began, but it ended up being his favourite among the readings. He did a fantastic job, and my only regret is that commitments abroad meant that I never got to meet him, and to thank him for his efforts. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Wednesday, November 3 is the second event for SHADOW VOICES, this one in Belfast at The Great Hall, Queen’s University, in association with No Alibis bookstore and the Seamus Heaney Centre/QUB. Tickets are free but required, and attendance is limited to 60; if any tickets remain, you can reserve them here.

Somewhere in there, the true completist might consider a viewing of HORROR EXPRESS just in the spirit of the season . . .

Apart from that, a reminder that next year’s Parker book has been delivered, and is scheduled to be published in late August 2022 in the UK and elsewhere by Hodder & Stoughton, and one month later by Atria in North America.

So that’s rather a lot of me for one four-week period, even for myself, but I am deeply grateful to the publishers and booksellers on both sides of the Atlantic who are making it all possible. And most grateful of all to you, of course, because without you, there wouldn’t be much point to it, would there? You’re a lovely bunch, and no mistake.

A happy Halloween to all of you, and thanks, as always —


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