The Dirty South: Probably the best crime novel you will read this year

John Connolly has written a kind of origin story for Charlie Parker

John Connolly. Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

John Connolly. Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

Noir has always been aware of its debt to classical Greek tragedy, its heroes predestined to an early doom as their flaws and weaknesses are exposed and punished by implacable Fate.

In the private detective subgenre, the detective becomes something of a one-person chorus, observing, narrating and passing judgment. Very few private eyes, however, are as articulate in their lamentations as Charlie Parker, John Connolly’s tortured detective, who has been pursued by Furies over the course of 18 memorable novels since he first appeared in Every Dead Thing (1999).

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