Secrets, Ghosts, and Hidden Agenda's

Title: The Lovers by John Connolly
Publisher: Atria
344 pages
Genre: Mystery, fiction

Synopsis: Parker is working in a bar in Portland, having been deprived of his P.I.'s license. He uses his enforced retirement to begin a different kind of investigation: an examination of his own past and an inquiry into the death of his father, who took his own life after apparently shooting dead two unarmed teenagers, a search that will eventually lead to revelations about Parker's own parentage.

Meanwhile, a troubled young woman is running from an unseen threat, one that already seems to have taken the life of her boyfriend, and a journalist-turned-writer named Mickey Wallace is conducting an investigation of his own into Charlie Parker in the hope of writing a non-fiction book about his exploits.

And haunting the shadows, as they have done throughout Parker's life, are two figures: a man and a woman, the lovers of the title, who appear to have only one purpose, and that is to bring an end to his existence . . . 

Review: This is the 8th Charlie Parker novel and I really believe you have to read these in order.  Each one seems to build on the next and if you jump in somewhere in the middle I think you will lose too much.  Charlie was an NYPD cop like his father but the brutal slaying of his wife and daughter (which is dealt with in the first book, Every Dead Thing) lead him down a different path.  With the help of his notorious criminal friends Luis and Angel, Charlie often finds himself involved in cases that lead to people dying.  But those people always seem to deserve it.

I love this series but it is very dark, and sometimes downright scary.  Connolly's writing is fabulous and his characters are fascinating.  They definitely don't live in a world where things are black and white but rather are always viewed in shades of grey.  Charlie's life seems to attract darkness, darkness that he seems to vanquish but always seems to lead him to trouble.

Charlie is now working in a bar, hoping to get his permit to carry a weapon back, but not sure if he wants his PI license back.  He likes not having a choice when it comes to taking a case, he doesn't want to be drawn back into the darkness again right now.  He wants a break, he also wants to learn about his past.  One of the darker characters from a past book revealed secrets about Charlies past which have haunted him and now its time to look into them.

As Charlie digs into his past, the death of his father, the two unarmed kids his father killed and who are his true parents might be, he once again starts a chain of events that seems to take on a life of its own and of course people start dying.  His investigation leads to the revelation of a hidden group that seem to know everything about Charlie and the lovers that keep popping up through his life that seem to want him dead.  They may even know who they are.

Biblical, creepy and absolutely absorbing I still can't figure out if Charlie is on the side of good or evil.  I guess its all in how you look at it.