The Whisperers

John Connolly’s THE WHISPERERS starts off with promise: In Iraq, a museum full of ancient and valuable artifacts is ransacked, and millions of dollars of precious items are stolen. One such item is ominously reported to cause its owners to hear whispers after prolonged contact …

Fast-forward to the present day, when Iraq War veterans are back home in Maine, and the newspapers are starting to report more and more suicides. These deaths are chalked up to PTSD, but P.I. Charlie Parker thinks there is more to it than that. When he is carjacked, tortured and humiliated for information, the case turns personal as he attempts to find out what, exactly, is being smuggled across the Canadian border and why these soldiers are dying.

The premise of the novel seems to guarantee a fast-paced, action-packed adventure, with a bit of paranormal intertwined with a good, old-fashioned mystery. Unfortunately, Connolly’s story is slow to pick up, with more than half of the 400 pages reading like setup. Furthermore, he has an annoying habit of starting chapters with “I” or “They” or “We” without ever clearly identifying who the subject of any given storyline might be, leaving the reader with a variety of stories to puzzle together.

Those who enjoy bulky mystery novels will certainly find some entertainment in this, as Connolly’s writing is strong where his plotting lacks, but unfortunately, the complicated, multicharacter storylines — coupled with what felt like an exceedingly slow pace — did not provide the altogether satisfying summer read that the back-cover blurb had promised to deliver. —Kerry Serrini

Buy it at Amazon.


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Comment by Chris
2010-07-15 19:59:12


One additional note on this book is that it is the latest in the Charlie Parker series. Based on your review, it sounds like this episode is less welcoming to readers who haven’t been around for all of it. I’m not all that surprised at the slow pacing and complicated storyline; at this point, the series has basically developed an entire mythology. It actually sort of reminds me of the Repairman Jack series (I think Bookgasm has reviewed those books), but the mythology is more unspoken and shadowy. The Repairman Jack series spells it out more (and doesn’t really offer the unreliable, possibly crazy with grief protagonist as a source for the supernatural stuff).

Anyway, nice review. I look forward to getting the book.

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2010-07-15 21:59:56

it’s always hard to come into a series without background knowledge. a book in a good series should be able to stand alone, but often readers get more from a series that they are invested in, where the character(s) are known.

the premise of this book does sound good–intriguing, mysterious–but with so many pages of intro, i don’t think it’s for me. i’m waiting for the new ‘van dorn’ mystery from clive cussler on audio! 🙂 it’s on hold at the library.

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Comment by Kerry
2010-07-16 07:22:57

Chris – You are right, it is part of a series, and I don’t have the background on that series – maybe if I did, I could have gotten into it more. I hope you enjoy it!

Nat – I’ve never read Cussler. Hope the new Van Dorn mystery is good – he’s been on my authors-to-read-one-day list for a while now!

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