John Connolly is the best-selling author of a number of ass-kicking mystery and horror novels.

His main hero, Private Detective Charlie Parker, is a bad-ass anti-hero who sees dead people and keeps company with murderers and criminals. After the death of his wife and daughter he goes off the deep end, before resurfacing months later to wreak havoc on New York Maine America's criminal underworld.

He has also written The Book of Lost Things, a coming-of-age story set in London during WWII about a kid who gets lost in a fantasy world after a bomber crashes in his back garden, and Nocturnes, a collection of short stories packed full of enough Nightmare Fuel to scare the bejesus out of anyone.

Oh, and he's Irish. Who knew?

These works provide examples of:

  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Deber's death is hinted to be this for Louis.
  • Abusive Parents: Angel's father is never stated to have laid a finger on him but he sold him to paedophiles for booze money for eight years.
  • Action Film Quiet Drama Scene: Backstory is often presented in this manner.
  • Aloof Ally: Walter Cole. The Collector is possibly beginning to settle into this as well, and it is implied that Louis occupied this role before the beginning of the series.
  • Always Camp: Decorators, as hinted at in The White Road

 He looked like a runway model for a decorator’s convention, assuming that the decorator’s tastes veered towards five-six, semi-retired gay burglars. Now that I thought about it, when I lived in East Village there were any number of decorators whose tastes veered in that direction

  • Anti-Hero
  • Atonement Detective: Parker is the embodiment of this trope. The Black Angel suggests that this is the whole reason for Parker's existence in-universe. He is one of the angels the fell from heaven after Lucifer's revolt, but rather than descending to hell, he became stranded on earth, spending his many lifetimes helping others - dead and alive - in penance for his sins.
  • Backstory: Copious amounts of it. In Bad Men and in the Parker Novels up until The Unquiet, characters would be introduced with pages of backstory, only to be killed off immediately.
  • Badass Decay: Angel, from The Killing Kind onwards.
  • Badass Gay: Louis and Angel.
  • Baddie Flattery: Subverted. Parker delights in talking to the bad guys like this.
  • Belated Backstory: It's stated in Every Dead Thing that Angel is "capable of stealing the fluff from under the president's nostrils", but backstory in The White Road tells us that he is in fact "the dumbest damn burglar since Watergate".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Angel (it's in the name) and Rachel. Especially pregnant Rachel.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Louis, usually accompanied by Angel. The Reapers puts Parker into the role.
  • Black Knight: Parker, although he doesn't like it. Louis is a purer example.
  • Body Horror: The rapidly spreading cancerous tumour in The Cancer Cowboy Rides.
  • Bookworm: Arno in The Reapers, Earl in The Whisperers.
  • Bound and Gagged: And tortured in The Whisperers.
  • Break the Badass: Angel in The Killing Kind
  • Break the Cutie: Rachel, in a process that is drawn out across five books.
  • The Cameo: Charlie Parker makes one in Bad Men, Connolly's only non-Parker crime/thriller to date. Sharon Macy (the lead detective from Bad Men) returns the favour in the ninth Parker novel, The Whisperers and is implied to be Charlie's new love interest, although at the time of writing this seems to have lapsed into an Aborted Arc.
  • Can't Bathe Without a Weapon: Louis.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Parker is particularly prone to this.
  • Collector of the Strange: The Collector. Duh.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Angel and Louis have seen significantly less screen-time ever since The Reapers, whereas previously they were a constant background presence.
  • Continuity Cameo: Parker appears near the start of Bad Men. Macy is considered as a possible love interest for Parker after her appearance at the end of The Lovers.
  • Cool Car: Parker's Mustangs, possibly the Lexus (the mini-arsenal hidden beneath the spare tyre might help).
  • Contract on the Hitman: Bliss.
  • Crazy Dog Lady: Mrs Bondarchuck.
  • Creepy Child: The changeling in The New Daughter, Jennifer, James Jessop...
  • Creepy Doll: The New Daughter, and the cover art for The Unquiet.
  • Curse Cut Short: Louis mutters "mother-" in The Black Angel, winning bonus points for not actually being interrupted by anything.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: And then some!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Louis
  • Description Porn: Endless descriptions of the Maine landscapes, especially in winter. One memorable description of Louis' naked torso. Description of torture and death intended to strike fear into the hearts of the hero/villain.
  • Dirty Business
  • Dirty Cop: In Every Dead Thing and Bad Men.
  • Dumb Muscle: Tony and Paulie Fulci, Jackie Garner, The Klan Killer(s).
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Angel and Louis, who eventually got their own book. More recently, the Collector seems to be becoming this.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Bird
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Jackie Garner, the Fulcis.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Notable in that Louis is aware of his "flaw", his love for Angel. However, while this comes up occasionally in the narrative, it is only relevant in one scene in which Louis doesn't even appear. The Big Bad took Angel at the end of The Killing Kind in order to hurt Parker, not Louis. He probably wasn't even aware of the inevitable consequences of his act.
  • Freudian Excuse: Parker had never killed a man before the death of his wife and child. Angel’s first every burglary was the result of child abuse and Louis only became an assassin only after killing the man who murdered his mother.
  • Friendless Background
  • Friend to All Children: Parker, due to his daughter's death. Lampshaded on a couple of occasions. Angel as well, to an extent. particularly to children who have been sexually abused, as it relates heavily to his own childhood
  • Friend on the Force: Walter Cole, SAC Ross.
  • Gentle Giant: Joe Dupree in Bad Men, Bear in The Killing Kind.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Faulkner in The White Road.
  • He Knows Too Much: Cebert Yaken and Virgil Gossard in The White Road. Scary in that it is invoked by the antagonists.
  • Heroic BSOD: Parker's state of mind at the start of the series.
  • High Hopes, Zero Talent: Angel's career as a burglar.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Louis was bullied in school.
  • Lame Comeback: This gem from Every Dead Thing:

 Louis: Says the guy with a towel on his dick.

Angel: It's a big towel.

 "It's a guy thing. I can do guy things."

  • Impersonating an Officer: Louis gains the trust of a possibly witness in Every Dead Thing by flashing his gym membership.
  • Incredibly Obvious Tail
  • Insanity Defence: Faulkner invokes this with a suicide attempt.
  • MacGyvering: Louis uses grain, rags and spare shotgun clips to blow up a barn, killing their immediate pursuers with the unintentional bonus of allowing their rescuers to find them.
  • Mirror Scare: The Grady house in The Reflecting Eye is this dialled Up to Eleven.
  • Monster Clown: In Some Kids Wander By Mistake, the eponymous children are transformed in clowns, terrifying creatures who wear heavy make-up to cover up the permanent face-paint.
  • Murderer POV: It doesn't help that the good guys to almost as much killing as the bad guys.
  • Neat Freak: Louis
  • No Pronunciation Guide: A lot of readers were pronouncing Louis as "Lewis" for years. Word of God on the author's website FAQ confirmed the pronunciation as "Louie", but it wasn't clarified in-universe until the seventh book in the series.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: Hanson. Although it takes a while for the "noble" part of the trope to come into effect.
  • Opposites Attract
  • One Head Taller: Louis and Angel
  • Only One Name: Angel, Louis, Brightwell, Blue, Bliss, Gabriel, Golem, Kittim, Bear...
  • Scary Scorpions: Part of a ritual that takes place in a boarding school, created by combing the bones of the creature with the blood of a Scholarship Student.
  • Selective Slaughter: Louis agreed to work as an assassin for Gabriel on the condition that he would never have to kill a woman.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Collector
  • Talk About the Weather: Angel does this in The Reapers, while being chased down by an assassin who is out for Louis' blood.
  • Talking to the Dead
  • Talking Your Way Out: Presumably how Angel survived his first encounter with Louis.
  • Tell Me About My Father: The Lovers revolves around this trope.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Parker has a tendency to do this, somewhat irking his enemies.
  • The Promise: Set up in The Reapers, when Louis promises Angel that they will “deal with [the Russians] when the time comes”. Whether or not it will ever be carried out remains to be seen.
  • Theme Naming
  • There Are No Coincidences: "The honeycomb world", a recurring motif.
  • Sympathetic Criminal: Angel, big time.
  • Ugly Cute: Angel, possibly.
  • Undying Loyalty: Angel (and Louis, by extension) to Parker. Louis to Gabriel.
  • Viral Transformation: In The Cancer Cowboy Rides.
  • We Do Not Know Each Other: The first types is frequently invoked, particularly with Parker, Louis and Angel. The second type is played for laughs at Sam's Christening in The Black Angel when Louis pretends not to know Angel, who insists on following him around and talking to him.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Charlie's dog Walter, whom he claims to have named after his old friend Walter Cole. No reason is given, although it's presumably affectionate, perhaps done because Walter is one of the few friends Charlie has left at the time he acquires the dog (and possibly the only one he's able to admit to knowing in public).
  • White Collar Crime: Parker spends a while investigating such cases in order to make Rachel feel safer but he thinks it's sleazy work and it makes him feel unclean.
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