Former New York police detective Charlie Parker is on a mission to right wrong. His quest wasn’t meant to take him to the deadbeat Arkansas town of Cargill, but his stopover at a local motel coincides with the murder of a young black woman, the third victim of what seems a perverted serial killer...
Set in 1997, Connolly’s 18th novel in the Charlie Parker series returns to the beginnings of the detective’s career in a finely written thriller haunted by a powerful sense of the struggle between good and evil.
And then, of course, there’s Connolly’s use of language. The epigraph that introduces the novel and states that “vengeance and retribution require a long time” is entirely apt given the arc of Charlie Parker’s future career, although the fact that the quote is taken from Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities is even more telling. Connolly’s deliberately arch and formal style is an anachronistic delight in an era of minimalist miserabilism and lends a considerable gravitas to Parker’s musings on life, death and the afterlife.
A beautifully measured novel that is equal parts gripping mystery and an unsentimental meditation on grief, The Dirty South is very probably the best crime novel you will read this year.