Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page

The Whisperers

John Connolly

Average Review Rating Average Rating 4/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton

Published : 2010

Copyright : John Connolly 2010

ISBN-10 : PB 1-4447-1118-0
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-4447-1118-9

Publisher's Write-Up

Charlie Parker returns in the chilling new thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Lovers.

The border between Maine and Canada is porous. Anything can be smuggled across it: drugs, cash, weapons, people.

Now a group of disenchanted former soldiers has begun its own smuggling operation, and what is being moved 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.

But the soldiers' actions 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...

'A tour de force finale in a book which will sure be a bestseller this summer. It well deserves to be.'

Independent on Sunday

'This is one of Connolly's darker, scarier novels, all the more effective for the way the supernatural elements arise organically out of the realistic detail.'


'Brilliant, terrifying and effortlessly seductive, I defy anyone to put this thriller down - it is sensational.'

Daily Mail
Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Ben Scott (310311) Rating (4/10)

Review by Ben Scott
Rating 4/10
Connolly weaves a strange tale in his tenth instalment of the Charlie Parker series as the line between the supernatural and reality becomes increasingly blurred before being scuffed out of recognition. This is not what I expected when I hurriedly grabbed a book off the shelf to help out on my journey back to the Midlands. As per usual I had left myself with too little time and become too engrossed in perusing the book shelf. A well known store is doing its ‘buy on get one half price’ offer and having picked up the excellent A Week in December I panicked and grabbed the one with the most intriguing cover. Yes, I am that basic human being, suckered in by marketing and the packaging. In my defence my train was leaving in two minutes and even though I have lived in Brighton for six months now, I had managed to take the wrong turning on my walk in, again.

Anyway I expected a normal detective thriller. And I got that to a certain extent. Detective Charlie Parker, who unsurprisingly has a dark past which he wrestles with, is hired to investigate an apparent suicide of a soldier who had returned from Iraq. Naturally things begin to spiral and he uncovers a smuggling racquet involving other ex-soldiers. However, the mystery surrounds just what the objects are and from where the Whispering comes that drives men to take their own lives...

The main draw I found with this book was its use of elements of psychological Gothicism, something I had not come across before in this modern form. Unfortunately for the book I found it only to be sporadically effective, an issue when it underpins the main action. The psychological aspects to it are intriguing and the characters created (The Collector and The Captain predominantly) gave a certain sense of framework to a very real, yet abstract, issue; that of Post Traumatic Stress in returning troops which forms the central idea that the story explores. But this creation of characters outside of reality made me question how much of the lyrical world Connolly creates can be taken at face value. Are we to believe that Parker is truly connected to another world by supernatural beings? Or that he is being worn down by psychological trauma? If we are to believe in the former, and the consequent validity of the Collector, then are we also to accept that his ilk exist outside of this story in the world of Parker et al. I would side with the latter and to be honest, for me it did not work. Adding attire to the voices in your head and projecting them into reality is an interesting experiment; however, they were given too much prominence, a heightened sense of importance and realism. Put quite simply this blending of genres, fantasy and detective thriller, did not work, it was like eating jelly and gravy, fine by themselves but not together.

What this book mainly lacked though was character development. I will be honest I did not really care about any of them within the book, Parker was acceptable, Angel and Louis mildly amusing and that is about it. The character of Herod, a horrendous creation whose inner corruption manifests itself in physical decay, was under-developed and deserved more from his creator. And herein my problem with the book lies; I have not read the earlier books in the series. I do not know, and therefore do not care about, Parkers past. If I had read the previous books then perhaps the climax of this novel, and I use the term ‘climax’ very loosely, would have not left me with a confused look on my face and the feeling that I had wasted my time. Therefore the book gets a low rating. If you are a fan of the Parker series then do not deride me, simply have the good grace to send me the rest of the series so I can catch up!
Ben Scott (31st March 2011)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends