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John Connolly

About The Author

John Connolly was born in Dublin and his previous jobs include barman, local government official, waiter and dogsbody at Harrods. He has long been a freelance contributor to the Irish Times.

He published his first book in 1999, Every Dead Thing, which introduced his memorable anti-hero former NYPD detective Charlie Parker, a man consumed by violence, regret and the desire for revenge. The book won the Private Eye Writers of America's Shamus Award, which rewards best first novels in the detective genre. Connolly has often commented on his passion for American writers of crime fiction such as Ed McBain, James Lee Burke and Ross Macdonald.

He has also written a stand alone crime novel, Bad Men, a fantasy title, The Book of Lost Things, about a twelve-year-old boy who grief at the death of his mother traps him in a fantasy land, and a collection of supernatural tales, Nocturnes, originally written for BBC Radio 4. In 2009 he published The Gates, the first of three supernatural fantasy novels featuring a young Samuel Johnson fighting the forces of Darkness; the third in the series, Creeps, is published in October 2013.

The Wrath of AngelsIn 2012, he co-edited Books to Die For, an award-winning collection of essays by more than 120 crime writers from around the world that forms an indispensable guide for any fan of crime fiction to the very best in the hard-boiled and noir crime. Contributors include James Ellroy, Ian Rankin, Kathy Reichs, Mark Billingham, Michael Connelly and Sara Paretsky.

The eleventh book in the Charlie Parker series, The Wrath of Angels, is newly available in paperback. The wreckage of a plane is discovered in Maine woodland; hidden on board is a list of people who have supposedly done a deal with the Devil. Charlie Parker joins the race to find it, but the forest holds another secretsomeone, perhaps something has survived the crash.

Here John shares somes of his favourite books, many of which have inspired his own writing. His choices vary from hard-boiled detective fiction to a French classic, and masterful writers as diverse as PG Wodehouse and Richard Ford.

He also shared with us which books he'll be giving and is hoping to receive for Christmas 2015.

Author photo © Mark Condren

Author Picks

The Sportswriter
(Paperback)
Richard Ford
 
I can remember reading this book in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare during the summer of 1989. I was working as a bartender at the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival in the aftermath of the very traumatic break-up of my first serious relationship. If you’re feeling heartbroken and lovesick, then being a bartender at a matchmaking festival is unlikely to make you feel much better about the world, although it might work as a kind of remedia amoris. Anyway, at the end of The Sportswriter the narrator, Frank Bascombe, who has suffered the collapse of his marriage as well as a post-marital relationship with a younger woman, tries to come to some conclusions about what has happened to him. This is what he decides: “As I’ve said, life has only one certain closure. It is possible to love someone, and no one else, and still not live with that one person or even see her.” It was, in a strange way, a kind of revelation for me: not so much about life, but about fiction. In that moment, a writer encapsulated all that I was feeling in a couple of sentences, and there was a kind of consolation in it. Someone – a man that I had never met, and perhaps never would – understood perfectly what I was going through. Incidentally, I still have that original paperback copy of The Sportswriter on my bookshelf, along with a signed first edition of the book that I bought much later. I get a little Proustian rush of memory each time I see that battered paperback – you don’t get that from an e-book! - and I would be distraught if I lost it, but I have no affection at all for the signed hardback. My love for the book is tied up with that original copy. I should never really have bothered buying the signed hardback.
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The Three Musketeers
(Paperback)
Alexandre Dumas
 
I think that this may be the perfect adventure novel. I read it while I was in college, probably when I should have been reading something far duller and worthier. I had found a used Penguin edition, the one with a cover illustration of a musketeer taken from a painting by Meissonier (although I’ve just had to look at the jacket of the book to check that fact – Meissonier, incidentally, had a quite spectacular beard…), and I started the book expecting a difficult read. Instead I was enraptured from the first page. I can recall few books that have filled me with such pleasure throughout. Then, with two chapters still to read, I left the book on a bus, so I simply went out and bought a new copy rather than muck about trying to find another cheap used edition, even though money was scarce at the time. I’ve subsequently read the other four books in the Musketeer sequence. They become more poignant as the series progresses and the characters age, and so they lack the sheer joie de vivre of The Three Musketeers, even if that novel is not without its shocking moments. You know, just writing about that book makes me want to reread it....
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The Code of the Woosters: (Jeeves &...
(Paperback)
P. G. Wodehouse
 
I don’t think I could ever truly like anyone who didn’t love P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves & Wooster stories. My agent prefers the Lord Emsworth books, for which I can just about forgive him, but it still remains a sore subject between us. The crucial word here lies in the title of the second of those books: “joy”. Quite simply, these are joyous stories, capable of being read over and over without ever losing their capacity to transport the reader to a better, sunnier world. Even if that were not the case, I would still treasure these stories if only for giving the world, in Right Ho, Jeeves, one of the greatest attempted insults in literature, courtesy of Bertie Wooster: '“Very good,” I said coldly. “In that case, tinkerty tonk.” And I meant it to sting.'
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The Chill
(Paperback)
Ross Macdonald
 
I probably wouldn’t be writing without the influence of Ross Macdonald, and I certainly wouldn’t be writing the kind of novels that I do. Macdonald is one of the four great Californian crime novelists of the last century (Hammett, Chandler and Cain being the others, I think), but he’s also the most neglected. He fell out of fashion for a generation or so, his reputation taking a kicking from a new breed of hardboiled writers who mistook the compassion in his work for sentimentality, and confused cynicism with realism in the work of others. The Chill, written in 1963, is one of the most perfectly plotted mystery novels ever written, with a jaw-dropping twist at the end, but it’s also infused with a humanity and empathy that’s lacking, or at least less pronounced, in the writing of the other three novelists mentioned above. When I began reading Macdonald he was largely out-of-print on this side of the Atlantic, and the copies I collected were used Fontana titles with mildly sexualized and hence hugely inappropriate covers, given that Archer, Macdonald’s P.I., is largely celibate for most of the series. Thankfully, Penguin Classics has begun reissuing Macdonald’s books in lovely new editions. They’ll be an adornment to any mystery lover’s bookshelf.
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Black Cherry Blues
(Paperback)
James Lee Burke
 
Burke is the second big influence on my writing. If Macdonald is the genre’s great poet of empathy, then Burke is the great poet of landscape. Few writers in any genre can conjure up the sights and smells of a place – in his case, the bayous of Louisiana - better than Burke, but he’s also an adornment to mystery writing because he’s a fine writer who just happens to have chosen the mystery field in which to work, and therefore proves that, at its best, genre fiction can stand proudly alongside first division literary fiction. Although he writes about Montana and Texas as well, my preference is for the Louisiana novels featuring the police detective Dave Robicheaux, and Black Cherry Blues was the first of those novels that I read. I’ve met Burke a couple of times since then, and travelled to Montana to interview him while I was publicizing my first book. I was a bit tongue-tied, to be honest, and also managed to get lost while walking in the Great Rattlesnake Wilderness near Burke’s home. I think his neighbours’ dogs eventually found me.
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Bleak House
(Paperback)
Charles Dickens
 
I was supposed to have read this in university but never quite got around to it. After all, it’s pretty long, even by the standards of Dickens, and I had a lot of other things to read at the same time, as well as people to meet, pints to drink, and enigmatic, attractive women waiting to reject me. I eventually got around to reading Bleak House in 2000, when I was travelling to South Africa for my first promotional tour outside Ireland and the UK. I was determined to crack it, so it was the only book that I brought with me. Mind you, it’s so long that I was still reading it on the plane back to Ireland, but after it all other fiction seemed a bit thin, in every way. In Bleak House are seeds of the legal thriller and the detective novel, but that’s just by the by. It is, for me, the greatest novel in the English language. Reading it is like being caught up in some great labyrinth, but one from which you really don’t want to escape. I now read a novel by Dickens every year because I don’t want to go to my grave without having read everything that he wrote. To be honest, some are a easier than others: Nicholas Nickleby, for example, was a pleasure, but Our Mutual Friend felt a bit like homework, and let’s not even discuss Hard Times…
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Available Titles By This Author

The Wrath of Angels
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
The Burning Soul
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
The Lovers
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
The Reapers
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
The Whisperers
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
The Unquiet: A Charlie Parker...
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
Bad Men
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
Every Dead Thing
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
Nocturnes
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
Dark Hollow
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
The Black Angel
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
The Gates
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£7.99
 
The Killing Kind
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
The White Road
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£8.99
 
Hell's Bells: Samuel Johnson Vs the...
(Paperback)
John Connolly
 
 
£7.99
 
Books to Die For
(Hardback)
John Connolly; Declan Burke
 
 
£25.00
 

Currently out of stock

Past Events for this Author

Latest Blog
#FoylesFive: Children's Pride
26/06/2017

Andi from our Birmingham branch shares her favourite children's books that are perfect for Pride.

How to Change the World: Stop Harming Women
22/06/2017

Human rights barrister and a researcher at the Gender and Social Justice Centre at Cambridge University, Dexter Dias introduces his new book and explains how we can change the course of the 21st century if we can stop harming women.

The Book that Inspired Pink Floyd and Walt Disney
20/06/2017

We're celebrating the opening this month at the London Palladium of The Wind in the Willows: the Musical with a selection of things you might not know about the bok and its author, Kenneth Grahame.

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