A brilliantly chilling novel by New York Times bestselling author John Connolly about a chain of killings, linked obscurely by great distances and the passage of years, and the settling of their blood-debts -- past, present, and future.
As a small boy, Louis witnesses an unspeakable crime that takes the life of a member of his small, southern community. He grows up and moves on, but he is forever changed by the cruel and brutal nature of the act. It lights a fire deep within him that burns white and cold, a quiet flame just waiting to ignite. Now, years later, the sins of his life are reaching into his present, bringing with them the buried secrets and half-forgotten acts of his past.
Someone is hunting him, targeting his home, his businesses, and his partner, Angel. The instrument of revenge is Bliss, a killer of killers, the most feared of assassins. Bliss is a Reaper, a lethal tool to be applied toward the ultimate end, but he is also a man with a personal vendetta.
Hardened by their pasts, Louis and Angel decide to strike back. While they form a camaraderie that brings them solace, it offers them no shelter from the fate that stalks them. When they mysteriously disappear, their friends are forced to band together to find them. They are led by private detective Charlie Parker, a killer himself, a Reaper in waiting.
Connolly's triumphant prose and unerring rendering of his tortured characters mesmerize and chill. He creates a world where everyone is corrupt, murderers go unpunished, but betrayals are always avenged. Yet another masterpiece from a proven talent, The Reapers will terrify and transfix.
The past comes back with a vengeance in bestseller Connolly's unsettling eighth novel to feature ex-NYPD detective turned disgraced PI Charlie "Bird" Parker (after The Unquiet). Parker's confidantes Louis and Angel--an ex-hit man and his lover--are targeted by members of a shadowy group of assassins known as the Reapers, of which Louis was a member. From Gabriel, his father-figure and mentor, Louis learns that the father of one of his long-ago targets is tracking him down bent on revenge. Thrown into the already explosive mix is Bliss, a former colleague of Louis's who went rogue and has his own reasons for wanting Louis dead. When Louis and Angel head upstate for a showdown with the killers, Parker follows as back up. Series fans may initially be disappointed to see Parker on the sidelines, but Connolly's rich prose and compelling plot more than compensate. 10-city author tour. (June) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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May 26, 2008
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Excerpt from The Reapers by John Connolly
There are so many killings, so many victims, so many lives lost and ruined every day, that it can be hard to keep track of them all, hard to make the connections that might bring cases to a close. Some are obvious: the man who kills his girlfriend, then takes his own life, either out of remorse or because of his own inability to face the consequences of his actions; or the tit-for-tat murders of hoodlums, gangsters, drug dealers, each killing leading inexorably to another as the violence escalates. One death invites the next, extending a pale hand in greeting, grinning as the ax falls, the blade cuts. There is a chain of events that can easily be reconstructed, a clear trail for the law to follow.
But there are other killings that are harder to connect, the links between them obscured by great distances, by the passage of years, by the layering of this honeycomb world as time folds softly upon itself.
The honeycomb world does not hide secrets: it stores them. It is a repository of buried memories, of half-forgotten acts.
In the honeycomb world, everything is connected.
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The St. Daniil sat on Brightwater Court, not far from the cavernous dinner clubs on Brighton Beach Avenue and Coney Island Avenue where couples of all ages danced to music in Russian, Spanish, and English, ate Russian food, shared vodka and wine, and watched stage shows that would not have been out of place in some of the more modest Reno hotels, or on a cruise ship, yet the St. Daniil was far enough away from them to render itself distinct in any number of ways. The building that it occupied overlooked the ocean, and the boardwalk with its principal trio of restaurants, the Volna, the Tatiana, and the Winter Garden, now screened to protect their patrons from the cool sea breeze and the stinging sands. Nearby was the Brighton playground, where, during the day, old men sat at stone tables playing cards while children cavorted nearby, the young and the not-so-young united together in the same space. New condos had sprung up to the east and west, part of the transformation that Brighton Beach had undergone in recent years.
But the St. Daniil belonged to an older dispensation, a different Brighton Beach, one occupied by the kind of businesses that made their money from those who were on nodding terms with poverty: check-cashing services that took 25 percent of every check cashed, then offered loans at a similar monthly rate to cover the shortfall; discount stores that sold cheap crockery with cracked glaze, and firetrap Christmas decorations all year round; former mom-and-pop grocery stores that were now run by the kind of men who looked like they might have the remains of mom and pop rotting in their cellars; laundromats frequented by men who smelt of the streets and who would routinely strip down to filthy shorts and sit, nearly naked, waiting for their clothes to wash before giving them a single desultory spin in the dryer (for every quarter counted) and then dress in the still-damp clothes, folding the rest into plastic garbage bags and venturing back onto the streets, their garments steaming slightly in the air; pawnshops that did a steady trade in redeemed and unredeemed items, for there was always someone willing to benefit from the misfortune of another; and storefronts with no name above the window and only a battered counter inside, the shadowy business conducted within of no interest to those who needed to be told its nature. Most of those places were gone now, relegated to side streets, to less desirable neighborhoods, pushed farther and farther back from the avenue and the sea, although those who needed their services would always know where to find them.
The St. Daniil remained, though. It endured. The St. Daniil was a club, although it was strictly private and had little in common with its glitzier counterparts on the avenue. Accessed through a steel-caged door, it occupied the basement of an old brownstone building surrounded by other brownstones of similar vintage although, while its neighbors had been cleaned up, the edifice occupied by the St. Daniil had not. It had once formed the main entrance to a larger complex, but changes to the internal structure of the buildings had isolated the St. Daniil between two significantly more attractive apartment blocks. The club's home now squatted in the middle of them like some poor relation that had muscled in on a family photo, unashamed of its ignominy.