THE BLACK ANGEL (Thriller-US/Europe-Cont) – G- Connolly, John - 6th in series
Atria Books, 2005 - ARC

Charlie Parker is trying to settle into life with his partner and new baby. At a party celebrating the baby's baptism, the Aunt of Charlie's friend, Louis, arrives telling him his niece, a prostitute and addict, has disappeared. But when Charlie, Louis and his partner, Angel, go looking for her, they find something much bigger, and rooted in history, killing young women.

I have loved Connolly's previous books. Although brutal, there was a balance of lyrical writing, crisp humorous dialogue, an element of mysticism, and a sense of hope at the end. They grabbed me at page one and kept me there until the end. I did not find that with this book. First, had I not read the previous books, I'm not certain I'd have understood who Charlie, Louis and Angel were and relationship between them. Second, although interesting, for more than half the book there was so much expository history, it slowed the pace to where I'd put the book down and have trouble picking it back up. Third, it was unrelentingly dark with very little of the wonderful dialogue which usually offsets the brutality. Fourth, rather than being left with a sense of hope, I was left with a feeling of despair. I regret Mr. Connolly's move from mystery with mysticism to thriller. However, I do read the occasional thriller. I more regret losing all those elements I felt made Mr. Connolly's books exceptional, as they were not apparent here.

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