“The Dirty South: A Thriller” by John Connolly— The Becoming of Charlie Parker

Connolly, John. “The Dirty South: A Thriller”, Atria/Emily Bestler Books , 2020.

The Becoming of Charlie Parker

Amos Lassen

John Connolly takes us back to the very beginning of Private Investigator Charlie Parker’s astonishing career with his first terrifying case. In 1997, someone is slaughtering young women in Burdon County, Arkansas but no one wants to admit it.

A former NYPD detective is in jail in Arkansas and is stricken by grief. He is mourning the death of his wife and child and searching in vain for their killer. His obsession with avenging his lost family leads his life to take a shocking turn. Here is the birth of a conscience and a hunter as Charlie Parker comes into himself.

As Charlie is deeply mourning the loss of his wife and daughter and  searching for their killer, he comes to a small town in Arkansas that is dealing with a series of murders. Charlie decides to help. Set in a small town. We see life there with all of its decay and decadence as well as the struggle for survival in a county that has been left to be  in financial poverty and without hopes and dreams for a better future. Then the lure of money and power brings out the worst in people who have been deprived of both for far so long. The town seems to be filled with corruption and evil and as Charlie Parker passes through he sees that there is nothing there for him as he is on  his own personal quest for resolution. But then there is another murder and Charlie is drawn into the investigation.

We are taken in time to see Charlie, while he is still raw before the Charlie Parker we get to know in Connolly’s books. This is something of a prequel that takes us to the months after the murders that shape Parker’s life. We learn about a man coming to grips with his loss and how he will chose to move forward. To say anymore would ruin the read.

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