A Time of Torment by John Connolly

A Time of Torment
John Connolly

Emily Bestler Books/Atria

Jerome Burnel was once a hero–now he’s an ex-con on parole from a five year prison sentence for possessing child porn. Burnel approaches PI Charlie Parker to plead his innocence of all charges and to ask protection from the real villains.

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“. . . Charlie Parker returns with a vengeance . . .”

Some time before his arrest Burnel had been a “good guy with a gun” who’d shot dead two sadistic crooks engaged in an attempted gas station hold-up. Now Burnel is certain friends and relatives of those men planted the porn and ordered the appalling physical abuse he suffered in prison. He’s also sure they’re out to kill him and complete their revenge. 

Parker feels Burnel is telling the truth. Inquiries lead to ex-convict Harpur Griffin, the man who led the vicious rape of Burnel in jail. When Griffin dies in a vehicle fire, Burnel disappears, violating his parole and putting himself right at the top of the suspects list for Griffin’s murder. The only real clue Parker has to Burnel’s disappearance is the name the “Dead King”, uttered by Griffin during a last prison assault on Burnel. 

With his sidekicks Angel and Louis, Parker follows the trail to West Virginia and an area of Plassey County known as the Cut. The lair of a centuries-old secretive and isolated community, the Cut has a terrifying reputation in the county. Even the law treads carefully around the Cut and its vicious and sadistic people, but Charlie Parker is not a man to tread lightly in fear of anyone. When the trail leads right into the heart of the Cut and the lair of the Dead King, unspeakable crimes are revealed and all hell breaks loose.

In A Time of Torment, Charlie Parker returns with a vengeance in a thriller that leads to a creepy climax.

Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews