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Whisperers: A Charlie Parker Thriller

Whisperers: A Charlie Parker Thriller

Written by John Connolly

Narrated by Holter Graham


Whisperers: A Charlie Parker Thriller

Written by John Connolly

Narrated by Holter Graham

ratings:
4/5 (37 ratings)
Length:
12 hours
Released:
Jul 13, 2010
ISBN:
9781442305151
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

"'Oh, little one,' he whispered, as he gently stroked her cheek, the first time he had touched her in fifteen years. 'What have they done to you? What have they done to us all?' "

In his latest dark and chilling Charlie Parker thriller, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly takes us to the border between Maine and Canada. It is there, in the vast and porous Great North Woods, that a dangerous smuggling operation is taking place, run by a group of disenchanted former soldiers, newly returned from Iraq. Illicit goods—drugs, cash, weapons, even people—are changing hands. And something else has changed hands. Something ancient and powerful and evil.

The authorities suspect something is amiss, but what they can't know is that it is infinitely stranger and more terrifying than anyone can imagine. Anyone, that is, except private detective Charlie Parker, who has his own intimate knowledge of the darkness in men's hearts. As the smugglers begin to die one after another in apparent suicides, Parker is called in to stop the bloodletting. The soldiers' actions and the objects they have smuggled have attracted the attention of the reclusive Herod, a man with a taste for the strange. And where Herod goes, so too does the shadowy figure that he calls the Captain. To defeat them, Parker must form an uneasy alliance with a man he fears more than any other, the killer known as the Collector. . . .
Released:
Jul 13, 2010
ISBN:
9781442305151
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

John Connolly is the author of the Charlie Parker series of thrillers, the supernatural collection Nocturnes, the Samuel Johnson Trilogy for younger readers, and (with Jennifer Ridyard) the Chronicles of the Invaders series. He lives in Dublin, Ireland. For more information, see his website at JohnConnollyBooks.com, or follow him on Twitter @JConnollyBooks.

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Reviews

What people think about Whisperers

4.1
37 ratings / 17 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    You can almost see the headline this was inspired by, the fact that looting happened in Iraq is a matter of fact, not conjecture, but the idea that one of the items was a demon box is interesting and different. I enjoyed this story. Charlie Parker is beginning to realise that his job as detective is more to fund his actions as a supernatural investigator and that he has a role in the world investigating those things that go bump in the night.He has a specific set of skills that allow him to fight the things that prey on humanity and while sometimes humanity is a festering pile of poo, there are people who should be saved.In this story Parker is drawn in to the missing items by a rash of suicides among some former Iraq combatants, disillusioned and disenfranchised they are dealing in some items that they found in their travels and now something has gone wrong.It's an interesting read that I found hard to put down.
  • (4/5)
    This is one of the Parker novels which deals with real ongoing issues and is a dark novel because of it. It illuminates current reality and adds a hint of the supernatural to it. For me it highlighted the plight of the war veteran. Someone who has sacrificed for their country and been given the shaft by their commanding officers and those in the higher echelons of the war department. An engrossing read.
  • (4/5)
    Charlie Parker has to deal with a lot of tough ex-military types, well rehearsed in torture techniques, who don't want a private detective probing too deeply into their business of smuggling precious ancient treasures looted from the Museum of Baghdad, Parker has to call on the service of two old friends, Louis and Angel, to look after his back. I was torn between three and four stars. The ending, however, elevated the rest of the book so I opted for four.
  • (5/5)
    John Connolly's books fall between two genres horror and crime with a little bit of da vinci code thrown in. I love Charlie Parker, yes like all cops he's got his past and his demons but these in no way interfere in a cracking storyline. In essence ancient artifacts have been stolen from Iraq and are being smuggled into the US via Canada for what else profit...for the bad men :(( The Whisperers are a curse/demons that are securely locked in a small box and just waiting to be released on an unsuspecting world...Into this story enter a host of characters...The Collector..The Captain...Herod (being eaten alive by a speeding cancer...which only adds to his evil), and lets not forget Charlie's two able bodied helpers Angel and Louis....add a number of ex servicemen who are mysteriously dying/committing suicide, an array of evil gangsters...together with the aptly named Jimmy Jewel (didn't he have a comedy show with Hilda Baker ;)...and we have a top class thriller and as they say....grabs you from the first page and never lets go!.....so for all fans of dark and highly entertaining crime/horror fiction this is a must read...enjoy...and sleep tightly otherwise the Whisperers will get you......
  • (5/5)
    I can't say enough about this book! It's the classic struggle of good and evil taken to new levels. Charlie Parker is back with his good buddies Louis and Angel. Rarely does a book fulfill every aspect possible of a thriller. This one does. And in its turn, it not only points out the evil man can do but also the good that is in our hearts. The ending was priceless. It came full circle and just made me feel good. Awesome book!
  • (3/5)
    An experiment in style? I hope this wasn't a new direction - it just was not as strong as prior Charlie Parker stories - there was more about the "evil" than any real movement of the principal characters - I felt that the author might have been trying too hard and was just not fully plugged into this book.
  • (4/5)
    With Connolly's Charlie Parker series you never know where the story will take you but it's guaranteed to be a hazardous, headlong ride and to have something really, really, strange happen along the way.Something "hinky" is going on in Maine with the vets who have recently returned from Iraq. They are dropping like flies and the circumstances of their deaths, all suicide, bring up more questions than answers. There is a bit too much money floating around, a few too many border crossings, and the vets all seem to have known or served with each other. Parker is left to sort out the clues, settle an old man's mind, and save the world from an ancient evil.
  • (3/5)
    I have never read John Connolly and this was an enjoyable pasttime. This is a Charlie Parker series set in Maine. The story centers on the military, especially the Iraq war and the aftermaths. My impression of Maine as the quaint fishing village quickly disappears amid the smuggling due to the closeness to Canada and the many coastal entries. The characters ae interesting, but the story lacked females, even though one of the females has a big surprise at the end. I am still unsure about certain characters, such as the Collector and the Captain. Herod-if I met him on the street, I would run the opposite direction. Connolly does a good job exposing the individual and his demons, such as Charlie's loss of wife and daughter twice.
  • (5/5)
    This is the first Charlie Parker (PI) book I've read, but only a couple times did I feel slightly 'out of the loop' - so I guess that's good for others who might pick this up but haven't read the whole series to this point.Parker is called in to investigate the suicide of a former soldier who served in Iraq and whose friends also seem to be committing suicide at an alarming rate. Soon he finds himself looking into a smuggling ring run by one of those former soldiers - Joel Tobias...a guy that just seems "hinky". Conveniently located in Maine not too far from the Canadian border, Parker figures it is drugs, but the reader gains insight from the very beginning and knows a good bit more than Parker throughout the story. The chapters change perspective - although when it's in first person, mostly Parker is the narrator - but often the reader is getting a sneak peek at what is going on with other characters and begins to put pieces together as Parker arrives at the scenes of some of the crimes. It is an interesting way to tell the story, because it sounds like the mystery would be given away, but it really isn't. While the reader knows more than Parker, he's a smart guy and is putting things together quickly on his own and it's almost a partnership between you and him trying to get to the bottom of what's happening.There were still a couple twists at the end that I was not expecting - one character I hadn't suspected. I found the supernatural element a little hokey/stereotypical at times, but not overly so. It was a real page turner for me. I've not read much Connolly except for The Gates and while this Parker book wasn't quite as funny as that was, it had its moments, even in the midst of some serious topics. Connolly is going on my list of authors that I want to read more from.
  • (5/5)
    John Connolly once again balances the fine line between suspense and the paranormal in his ninth Charlie Parker novel, The Whisperers. This book explores a group of soldiers who served together in Iraq who are dying off, seemingly by their own hand. They are also involved in smuggling antiquities looted from the Baghdad Museum (chief among these is a mysterious box from which ghostly whispers emit; hence, the title); at the head of this ring is one particular soldier, the ruthless Joel Tobias. Peripheral characters abound, from other soldiers involved in the operations to collectors of antiquities who are at the buying end of the smuggled goods operation. Parker is drawn into the situation when the father of one of the dead soldiers contacts him regarding one of his female employees, who he suspects of being physically abused by Tobias, and also because he, deep down, suspects that Tobias had something to do with his son's death. Parker quickly finds himself drawn into a much more complex web than he could have imagined at the outset.Connolly's novel is quite timely. It deals with the war, neither condemning nor condoning it, simply treating it as an ongoing facet of contemporary existence with consequences on U.S. shores that must be dealt with. It also deals with the very real issue of PTSD, hearkening back to the Vietnam era and seeking parallels there. Furthermore, it deals with an economy deep in recession and the effects it has on the actions of everyone, from desperate waitresses who stay with abusive boyfriends, to PIs who take cases they normally wouldn't have, to ex-soldiers who get involved in criminal operations. For these reasons, the novel is very fresh.As always, Connolly's villans are chilling. The deformed Herod, seeking treasure, is decidedly creepy and ruthless, as is his supernatural counterpoint, the Captain. The Collector is back, and Connolly hints that he and Parker will have yet more complex dealings in future novels, something to look forward to. Joel Tobias is an excellently drawn portrait of a ruthless, greedy man with a strong capacity for violence and a certain remorselessness. The smuggling soldiers are all taunted by the supernatural whispering to which the title alludes, the psychological devastation that ensuses causing sympathy even for these crooked characters.One thing that makes Connolly stand out from the pack of suspense writers is his fine writing style, here, as always, on display. He is extremely talented, with nuanced and expertly-crafted prose. No sentance is a throwaway, and there is no stale dialogue. Angel and Louis, always welcome additions to a Parker novel, provide some situations for some very snappy exchanges, and Parker's dry wit never deserts him. But there are also elegaic passages, beautifully written studies of landscape, psychology, and people. Connolly keeps several narrative styles juggled in the air at once and never drops a ball.Nine novels into the series, and the endings have yet to get predictable. The book is quite suspenseful, with its blend of soldiers, hired guns like Angel and Louis, the police, and the supernatural. Connolly puts all these elements into a box (no pun intended on the mysterious box that is at the center of the plot), shakes it up, and leaves the reader to guess at what will come out, where the bodies will fall, who will end up allied with whom.Highly recommended, as is this whole series.
  • (4/5)
    John Connolly is an amazingly talented writer. His Charlie Parker series is among the best of any detective series. I have read these books over and over again and there are bits and pieces of Connolly's honeycomb world that haunt my dreams.This latest in the series is both more political (in dealing with the after effects of the Iraq War, particularly PTSD and the treatment of returning veterans) and more explicitly paranormal that some of his books. As always, Connolly builds a strong and compelling plot, peoples it with characters you can care about, and then blows the roof off. My only complaint about this book is the Louis and Angel, two of the absolute best secondary characters in any book ever written, make only a smallish cameo appearance. More Louis and Angel, please!I loved the shout-out to James Lee Burke in the book, as well. One of my complaints about most books is that people don't seem to read in them - it's always nice to have a character who not only reads, but who reads great stuff!As to the book, this was an excellent read, as always. Mr. Connolly remains one of my all-time favorite writers.
  • (5/5)
    'The Whisperers' continues to relate the troubled life of Charlie Parker,private detective and receiver of messages from the dead.This particular book concerns a group of ex-soldiers who have all been involved in the theft of artifacts from the Baghdad Museum. Among these valuable items is a box made of gold and which has seven locks carved in the forms of spiders, In this box is something which is best left undisturbed.The soldiers begin to die,seemingly by their own hands and at this point Parker is asked by the father of one of the dead men to investigate.In the course of the story we meet several figures from earlier books,including Louis and Angel,as well as the person known only as 'The Collector'. A new and relentless killer appears who is known as Herod.The ending is one of the most thrilling is the whole series,and that is saying something.Always a problem as to where to shelve John Connolly. Does he go into the Crime section or does he fit better into Ghosts & Horror ? Where ever he ends up,for me at least,he is one of the best writers in either genre.
  • (5/5)
    Thoroughly enjoyable as always from John Connolly. Maybe not quite as good as his peaks but most authors could only dream of achieving those. In terms of his recent Charlie Parker output I consider this to be a step up on "The Lovers". I was particularly impressed with the exploration of PTSD and how it was related back to his own experiences. As ever the entrance of Louis and Angel bring both comedy and menace. The ending thankfully suggests further adventures to come and the suggestion that the characters inhabiting the periphery such as the Collector may be more afraid of Parker than previously supposed opens a further realm of possibilities. On the surface, the narrative also functions well involving the fall of Baghdad and the looting of treasures from the museum there to a mysterious group of deaths among former soldiers involved in smuggling items across the US / Canadian border. Recommended.
  • (3/5)
    "As you know Bob, stress affects the amygdala of the brain.""The Whisperers" is not the strongest Charlie Parker novel. Pacing is awkward. The story is interrupted by didactic passages that could be lifted from Wikipedia. The villain, although truly vile and loathsome, doesn't pack enough supernatural menace to dominate the story. The evil mastermind for the human bad guys isn't woven into the narrative from the beginning. When the backstory is revealed, the mastermind doesn't come across as "puppetmaster" who could manipulate the people and events that led to the release of the demon-box.Louis and Angel are brought in as an obligation, for some wise cracks with the local yokels, but they don't contribute to the plot. The previous novel in the Charlie Parker series, "The Lovers," was heart-breaking as well as heart-stopping, with stunning revelations about Charlie Parker, his family, and his destiny. "The Whisperers" doesn't move forward the arc of Charlie Parker's story.
  • (3/5)
    Soldiers newly returned from Iraq are committing suicide. The father of Damien Patchett hires Charlie to find out the truth behind his son’s “alleged” suicide. Bennett Patchett doesn’t trust Joel Tobias who served with Damien in Iraq. Bennett is fond of a former employee who has taken up with Joel and believes Joel is abusing her. Charlie’s investigation leads him to the Canadian border where he discovers Joel and other returning soldiers might be involved in smuggling. Exactly what, Charlie isn’t sure. But the book had opened with a scene in Iraq where artifacts were being stolen. When Charlie starts to get too close he gets a sample of waterboarding as a warning to stay away. This is when Charlie calls in those colorful friends, Angel and Louis. Meanwhile there is a strange character named Herod who is hell bent on recovering the stolen items and has his own unique way of getting to the truth. Toss in The Collector who was introduced several books back and the strange “whispers” from demons within one of the artifacts and Connelly is dipping his toe into F. Paul Wilson territory. The Charlie Parker series has always had a bit of the paranormal in it since he seems to see and hear his deceased wife and daughter but I have never been sure whether The Collector is on the side of good or evil, much less if he is alive or dead.Although I love this series, I was a bit taken back by some of the references in this book. Besides waterboarding, Connelly also brings up the wars, military recruiting of the “unfortunate,” treatment of our military when they return. And criticism isn’t complete unless someone mentions Bush and Cheney. This is like the “ugly baby” syndrome. You don’t mind if your husband or relative tells you your baby looks like a Cabbage Patch doll, but if a stranger in line at the store tells you your baby is ugly, then you are offended. I checked the acknowledgements section to see where this author…from Ireland…obtained his information. The one and only newspaper he checked (or perhaps his editor and publisher gave him the information) was the New York Times. He should have at least also checked the Washington Times and several other media to get a more “fair and balanced” picture. His handlers do him a huge disservice by instructing him to learn the pulse of the delicate subject of politics in America, a country that is majority center-right, from one left-leaning newspaper.
  • (3/5)
    This seemed like two books to me. One is a mystery/suspense novel that incidentally deals forthrightly and courageously about the effects of war on soldiers (especially Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and the breach of faith by veterans’ agencies that are supposed to help treat these problems.But in addition, there is a paranormal strain that underlies the plot, consisting of: ghouls; whispering voices that command self-destruction; ancient demons locked away in secret boxes; and contemporary demons that roam around - chiefly in Maine, it appears – bestowing pain and causing havoc. Oh how I wish there were only the one book, and that it was the one described in the first paragraph. Because the fact is, I don’t think the plot needs the paranormal aspect at all. It still would have been compelling – (more so, in my opinion), and actually would only require a slight adjustment to make the plot work without the Beings from Beyond. But as it happens, Charlie Parker, the private investigator who is featured in this series, is no stranger to communication with other worldly beings, as evidenced by references not totally clear to me about enigmatic events and characters from earlier books. In fact, he’s not all that “embodied” himself – I’m not sure who (or what!) he is, because the reader is kept at a distance. He narrates only some chapters, and we don’t really find out much about him. He’s just an occasional voice, but one apparently familiar to the paranormal beings.The story concerns a group of soldiers from Cape Elizabeth in Maine who had served together in Iraq, and are now smuggling antiquities stolen from Baghdad and shipped to Canada. Maine, as the author explains, has 400 miles of land border with Canada, much of it wilderness. In addition, it has 3,000 miles of seacoast, and some 1,400 small islands. He labels it “a smuggler’s paradise.” But the operation is not edenic. One by one, the boys involved are committing suicide. Charlie Parker is hired by one of their fathers to find out why, if he can. In the process, he looks into the nature of combat stress, the mental state of veterans when they return home, and what help they can (or cannot) expect from the government to help them readjust to “everyday life.” As the author argues, "you can't simply train a human being to fight and kill, expose him or her to sustained periods of deep stress, then expect an easy return to civilian life." Yet, in addition, Parker suspects something “hinky” is going on, but he can’t quite nail it down. What he does know, however, is that if he doesn’t find out, his life, and the lives of the remaining boys from the same squad, are in danger.Evaluation: I liked the fact that the book integrated the problem of returning vets into the plot, and I liked the attention to the Canadian border problems. In general, however, I’m not a big fan of demons and ghouls and things that hang out in basements. As I have indicated in previous reviews, I think there are plenty of unsavory, violent characters in real life without having to conjure up purported emissaries from hell and whatever place “The One Who Waits Behind the Glass” is from. [Consider, for example, the story of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Is not this much scarier than the idea of ancient demons in a secret box?]The addition of Indiana-Jones-type ghouls to reality is not my cup of tea, but it’s not a bad book otherwise. I would, however, recommend that if this appeals to you at all, you begin earlier in the series, so you pick up all the references.
  • (5/5)
    John Connolly once again balances the fine line between suspense and the paranormal in his ninth Charlie Parker novel, The Whisperers. This book explores a group of soldiers who served together in Iraq who are dying off, seemingly by their own hand. They are also involved in smuggling antiquities looted from the Baghdad Museum (chief among these is a mysterious box from which ghostly whispers emit; hence, the title); at the head of this ring is one particular soldier, the ruthless Joel Tobias. Peripheral characters abound, from other soldiers involved in the operations to collectors of antiquities who are at the buying end of the smuggled goods operation. Parker is drawn into the situation when the father of one of the dead soldiers contacts him regarding one of his female employees, who he suspects of being physically abused by Tobias, and also because he, deep down, suspects that Tobias had something to do with his son's death. Parker quickly finds himself drawn into a much more complex web than he could have imagined at the outset.Connolly's novel is quite timely. It deals with the war, neither condemning nor condoning it, simply treating it as an ongoing facet of contemporary existence with consequences on U.S. shores that must be dealt with. It also deals with the very real issue of PTSD, hearkening back to the Vietnam era and seeking parallels there. Furthermore, it deals with an economy deep in recession and the effects it has on the actions of everyone, from desperate waitresses who stay with abusive boyfriends, to PIs who take cases they normally wouldn't have, to ex-soldiers who get involved in criminal operations. For these reasons, the novel is very fresh.As always, Connolly's villans are chilling. The deformed Herod, seeking treasure, is decidedly creepy and ruthless, as is his supernatural counterpoint, the Captain. The Collector is back, and Connolly hints that he and Parker will have yet more complex dealings in future novels, something to look forward to. Joel Tobias is an excellently drawn portrait of a ruthless, greedy man with a strong capacity for violence and a certain remorselessness. The smuggling soldiers are all taunted by the supernatural whispering to which the title alludes, the psychological devastation that ensuses causing sympathy even for these crooked characters.One thing that makes Connolly stand out from the pack of suspense writers is his fine writing style, here, as always, on display. He is extremely talented, with nuanced and expertly-crafted prose. No sentance is a throwaway, and there is no stale dialogue. Angel and Louis, always welcome additions to a Parker novel, provide some situations for some very snappy exchanges, and Parker's dry wit never deserts him. But there are also elegaic passages, beautifully written studies of landscape, psychology, and people. Connolly keeps several narrative styles juggled in the air at once and never drops a ball.Nine novels into the series, and the endings have yet to get predictable. The book is quite suspenseful, with its blend of soldiers, hired guns like Angel and Louis, the police, and the supernatural. Connolly puts all these elements into a box (no pun intended on the mysterious box that is at the center of the plot), shakes it up, and leaves the reader to guess at what will come out, where the bodies will fall, who will end up allied with whom.Highly recommended, as is this whole series.