John Connolly, author of the Charlie Parker series of thriller novels was in Reading on April 14 to meet his fans and sign books at Waterstones.
A Song of Shadows is the 14th book in the series. “Actually the 13th story was a little novella kind of thing, just to avoid superstition.” he laughed.
“I’m slightly surprised to still be here. Nobody sits down and thinks they’re going to be around for 16 years. You kind of think you’re going to get found out. It was only after about the fourth book that I thought actually they’re not going to come and reclaim the furniture, they’re not going to dump me out on my ear.”
The Black Angel, written in 2005, was the book that changed John’s career. “I realised I was going to be doing it [writing books] for a while, and I then sat down and thought, if I’m going to be doing this for a while what are the characters going to be like? I let them grow older; each book would be very different from the one that preceded it.
“Also the novels follow on from each other, so that if you read them in order there would be a larger story taking place. The character in the second book would turn out to be very important ten books later. Which wasn’t really done that much in mystery. Fantasy literature does it a lot and science fiction and historical fiction. Mystery fiction by tradition tended to have discreet episodes.
“I thought that maybe you could do something a bit more interesting. You could give a character history and a memory and readers were smart enough to pick up on it. So that if that character recurs down the line the reader could say ‘ah, now I see why he was there’.
“So yes, it’s been one long experiment. I wrote my first book when I was 26 and I’m 46 now so Charlie Parker is very different, just as I am different.”
A Song of Shadows: A Charlie Parker Thriller by John Connolly
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Available in hardback, paperback and on Kindle