Charlie Parker Books in Order: How to read John Connolly’s Series?

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The Charlie Parker series of supernatural crime thrillers is written by Irish author John Connolly that was launched in 1999. The story of the Charlie Parker series focuses on a former New York City policeman hunting the killer of his wife and daughter. Parker is now a private investigator whose cases are pushing him into the realm of the supernatural.

For him, Evil is all too real. That made him an occult detective, a man who embraces the dead, and they, in their turn, have found a way to reach out to him.

How to read the Charlie Parker Series in Order?

Every entry in the Charlie Parker book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.

  1. Every Dead Thing – Tortured by the unsolved slayings of his wife and young daughter, former NYPD detective Charlie “Bird” Parker is a man consumed by guilt, regret, and the desire for revenge. When his former partner asks him to track down a missing girl, Parker finds himself drawn into a world beyond his imagining: a world where thirty-year-old killings remain shrouded in fear and lies, a world where the ghosts of the dead torment the living, a world haunted by the murderer responsible for the deaths in his family-a serial killer who uses the human body to create works of art and takes faces as his prize.
  2. Dark Hollow – Charlie Parker befriends a down-and-out mother with a small child. When she turns up dead, Charlie’s first suspect is her estranged husband. Charlie follows the man’s trail to Maine and there he becomes entangled in a series of strange occurrences which all seem to harken back to a string of unsolved murders that took place generations before.
  3. The Killing Kind – Charlie Parker is hired to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Grace Peltier-which neither her father nor a former US Senator believe was suicide. The trail leads to a mass grave in northern Maine where a Baptist community disappeared forty years earlier. The deaths of the Baptists and Grace are connected and point in the direction of a shadowy organization known as the Fellowship.
  1. The White Road – In South Carolina, a young black man faces the death penalty for the rape and murder of Marianne Larousse, daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the state. It’s a case that nobody wants to touch, a case with its roots in old evil, and old evil is private detective Charlie Parker’s speciality.
  2. The Reflecting Eye (Short story published in the anthology Nocturnes) – The photograph of an unknown girl turns up in the mailbox of an abandoned house once occupied by an infamous killer. This discovery forces Parker to confront the possibility that the house is not as empty as it appears, and that something has been waiting in the darkness for its chance to kill again.
  3. The Black Angel – Intrigued by the mysterious abduction of a young woman, Charlie Parker’s longtime friend and professional killer, Louis, begins a solo search for the girl. The ties of friendship inevitably draw Parker into the search, as he soon discovers that the girl’s disappearance is linked to a church of bones in eastern Europe, to the slaughter at a French monastery in 1944, and to the myth of an object known as the Black Angel. But the Black Angel is not a legend.
  4. The Unquiet – Daniel Clay, a once-respected psychiatrist, has gone missing, following revelations about the harm done to children in his care. Now, a killer obsessed with finding the truth about his own daughter’s disappearance is seeking revenge, and Charlie Parker finds himself trapped between those who want the truth about Clay to be revealed, and those who will go to any lengths to keep it hidden.
  1. The Reapers – The Reapers are the elite of killers, the best at their trade, and Louis, confidante of troubled private detective Charlie Parker, is one of their numbers. Now the sins of his past are about to be visited upon him, for someone is hunting Louis. The instrument of his revenge is Bliss, the killer of killers, the most feared of assasins, and a man with a personal vendetta against Louis.
  2. The Lovers – Stripped of his license, Charlie Parker takes a job in a Portland bar. Alone and directionless, he faces at last a shadow he has lived with since his childhood: what made his father, a respected police officer, apparently shoot dead two unarmed teens and then commit suicide. His quest leads him back to the little New York town where he grew up, to the secret history of the NYPD, and to the existence of mysterious friends and hidden enemies.
  3. The Whisperers – In the dark reaches of Maine’s North Woods, a group of Iraq War veterans are engaged in a ruthless smuggling operation across the Canadian border. But what they have unleashed is far more dangerous than even they realize-an ancient evil locked away in Iraq for centuries. Now, as veterans begin dying mysteriously, Charlie Parker is called in to stop the bloodletting.
  1. The Burning Soul – When a girl disappears from a small Maine town, her neighbor-a recluse named Randall Haight-starts receiving anonymous letters that contain tormenting references to a different teenage girl, murdered long ago. For many years, Randall has kept a secret: when he was fourteen, he was convicted of killing that girl. Now, his former life has returned to haunt him, and he hires private detective Charlie Parker to make it go away.
  2. The Wrath of Angels – Deep in the Maine woods, a wrecked plane is discovered. It was never reported missing, and there are no bodies, but what it conceals is powerful beyond comprehension: a record of those who have struck a deal with the devil. A new battle is about to commence in the war between light and darkness, and the list proves to be a deadly weapon. While private detective Charlie Parker fears his own name is there, he is certain that it must be secured from evil.
  3. The Wolf in Winter – The isolated community of Prosperous, Maine, has always thrived. While others suffered, the people there have remained fortunate, wealthy, secure, and insular throughout the centuries. Miles to the south, in Portland, a homeless man dies, and the disturbing manner of his death brings Prosperous to the attention of the private investigator Charlie Parker. But this community has its own way of protecting itself, and its sheltered residents have marked Charlie for death so that Prosperous may survive.
  1. A Song of Shadows – Parker has retreated to the small Maine town of Boreas to regain his strength. There he befriends a widow named Ruth Winter and her young daughter, Amanda. But Ruth has her secrets. Old atrocities are about to be unearthed, and old sinners will kill to hide their sins. Now Parker is about to risk his life to defend a woman he barely knows, one who fears him almost as much as she fears those who are coming for her.
  2. A Time of Torment – Jerome Burnel was once a hero. He intervened to prevent multiple killings, and in doing so damned himself. His life was torn apart, imprisoned and brutalized. But in his final days, with the hunters circling, he tells his story to Charlie Parker. He speaks of the girl who was marked for death, but was saved; of the ones who tormented him, and an entity that hides in a ruined stockade.
  3. A Game of Ghosts – A private detective named Jaycob Eklund has vanished and Charlie Parker is assigned to track him down. Parker’s employer, Edgar Ross, an agent of the FBI, has his own reasons for wanting Eklund found. Eklund is no ordinary investigator-he is obsessively tracking a series of homicides and disappearances, each linked to reports of hauntings.
  1. The Woman in the Woods – In the beautiful Maine woods, a partly preserved body is discovered. Investigators realize that the dead young woman gave birth shortly before her death. But there is no sign of a baby. Charlie Parker is hired by a lawyer to shadow the police investigation and find the infant but Parker is not the only searcher. Someone else is following the trail left by the woman, someone prepared to leave bodies in his wake.
  2. A Book of Bones – On a lonely moor in northern England, the body of a young woman is discovered. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull. Each is a sacrifice, a summons. And something in the darkness has heard the call. Charlie Parker has also heard it and from the forests of Maine to the deserts of the Mexican border, from the canals of Amsterdam to the streets of London, he will track those who would cast the world into darkness.
  3. The Dirty South – A Prequel… It is 1997, and someone is slaughtering young black women in Burdon County, Arkansas. But no one wants to admit it, not in the Dirty South. In an Arkansas jail cell sits a former NYPD detective, stricken by grief. He is mourning the death of his wife and child, and searching in vain for their killer. He cares only for his own lost family. But that is about to change . . .
  1. The Nameless Ones – In Amsterdam, four bodies, violently butchered, are discovered in a canal house, the remains of friends and confidantes of the assassin known only as Louis. The men responsible for the murders are Serbian war criminals. They believe they can escape retribution by retreating to their homeland. They are wrong. For Louis has come to Europe to hunt them down: five killers to be found and punished before they can vanish into thin air. There is just one problem. The sixth.
  2. The Furies – Charlie Parker must protect two women under threat as Portland shuts down in the face of a global pandemic. Unbeknownst to him, however, these clients are more capable of taking care of themselves than anyone could have imagined.

Related Charlie Parker Book

  • Bonus: Parker: A Miscellany – a nonfiction companion to John Connolly’s Charlie Parker novels that uses music as a jumping-off point. The book includes introductions to each of the Parker novels, through A SONG OF SHADOWS; liner notes for each of the six CDs compiled to go with hardcover editions of certain Parker novels; a long essay called “The Music Lover,” about the author’s life as a fan; and revised versions of three previously published essays about Charlie Parker, Irish crime fiction, and the author James Lee Burke.

If you like our article about the Charlie Parker reading order, don’t forget to bookmark it! You may also be interested in the David Ash series or the Felix Castor series.

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  1. More of a question than a comment…I saw on an online used-book site a book in this series called “Dark Hollow, Vol. 2” and haven’t seen it anywhere else. Do I need to read this one, to understand the series? I don’t want to miss anything important, but haven’t seen this particular book advertised anywhere else. Do you know what the deal is with this? Thanks!

    1. It seems that “Dark Hollow, Vol. 2” is just “Dark Hollow” but, because it’s the second book in the series, there’s a “volume 2” attached to it in some places. That’s what I deduced from what I found, maybe someone knows more about it, but I don’t think you’ll miss anything in that case.

  2. Read the Woman in the Woods first and loved it so that I wanted to read the series from the beginning. I just finished Every Dead Thing and found it mesmerizing, astonishing. Evokes a favorite author, James Lee Burke, whose prose is so spellbinding that plot trails a bit behind even the characters. Now I’m on to Dark Hollow. Not easy to successfully mix mystery and the supernatural though it really does seem logical. I also like Jo Nesbo, gifted one to a friend and fellow mystery reader, but she couldn’t read it saying it was “too dark” and scared her. I’m laughing because so far the Charlie Parker series makes the Harry Hole series seem a bit like Mary Poppins (a bit of hyperbole there).

  3. I came across the Charlie Parker books while browsing the library one day, several years ago. I was living in my car, it was a dark time in my life. The books really took my mind away from my day to day problems. Because I was dependant on the library, I couldn’t read them in order but that’s ok. Since then I’ve read all of John Connolly’s books. He is my favorite author, other books just don’t seem as enjoyable anymore. I hope he continues to write for many years to come.

  4. I would read “The Dirty South” first, followed by “Every Dead Thing”. I’m encouraging my wife to take the series, & that’s the order on which I started her.

  5. I am just reading The Nameless One, I have read all Charlie Parker novels can’t wait for the next one.Is there a date for the next book,I can start at the first book and find out things I missed first time round.Is there anymore information on angels life Louis life was hit on in the black angle.

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