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Connolly, John

Entry updated 18 September 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1968-    ) Irish journalist and author, active from the mid-1990s, partner of Jennifer Ridyard, with whom he has collaborated. He is best known for his Charlie Parker noir crime thrillers beginning with Every Dead Thing (1999), featuring an ex-police detective, normally in private practice after the devastating family tragedy that initiates the series; his unusual methods are seen as suspicious and possibly renegade, but are generally – and increasingly – explained by his ability to speak to the dead, who manifest as ghosts or Immortal Secret Masters, as first explored in The Dark Angel (2005), their presence in some ways prefiguring the immortal cadres whose conflicts call the tune in David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks (2014), or the transformed humans who feed ancient gods (see Cthulhu Mythos) in exchange for immortal immunities. The series darkens complexly as it progresses, especially in the six volumes beginning with The Wolf in Winter (2014) and A Song of Shadows (2015), which edge with some tact into the world of Holocaust Fiction, pointing towards a story arc with apocalyptic implications. It gradually here becomes clearer that the inhuman entities represent at least one Pariah Elite, protecting us (or not); the supposition is hinted at further in A Game of Ghosts (2017) and brought to climax in The Woman in the Woods (2018) and A Book of Bones (2019), these volumes increasingly focused on Villains (including at least one seemingly Immortal Supervillain) who are seeking "the Fractured Atlas", an instruction manual that once reassembled will bring the sequence as a whole directly into the realm of full-blown Fantastika, conveying the planet itself into the grasp of terminal Eschatology: for in Basilisk-like fashion the Atlas will kill God; and end the world, which "will become a reflection of the Atlas". But the aeons-long plot fails; the gods remain, literally Underground. The main line of the sequence is resumed with The Dirty South (2020). The Lost Things sequence beginning with The Book of Lost Things (2006) is Young Adult fantasy.

Of more direct sf interest, though less intensely realized, are two Young Adult series. The Samuel Johnson sequence, beginning with The Gates (2009), is set in an Alternate World where Samuel Johnson is a teenager, Boswell is a dachshund, and an sf-like inter-Dimensional gateway whose accidental opening (a Large Hadron Collider has malfunctioned) opens a portal to Hell. The Chronicles of the Invaders sequence beginning with Conquest (2013) with Jennifer Ridyard is set in a desolate Near Future Earth some time after an Invasion by the Alien Illyri (via Wormhole) has transformed the world: humans live in Dystopian conditions; aliens inhabit sealed Keeps. The seductive beauty of the invaders (see Exogamy) fuels a romance between a human lad involved in the Resistance movement and the equally rebellious young Illyri woman who is the first to be born on Earth. The ramifications of this generate complexities in the next volumes of the sequence, Empire (2015) and Dominion (2016), as the faction-torn Illyri empire implodes in Space Opera battles and desolation; but the young protagonists, aided by Superpowers, may have saved civilization.

Shadow Voices: 300 Years of Irish Genre Fiction: A History in Stories (anth 2021) argues strongly, through Connolly's extensive introduction and notes appended to the sixty-seven tales here assembled, against fatuous distinctions between genre and "real" literature, and for the centrality of genre fiction, generously defined, in the history of Irish writing. [JC]

John Connolly

born Dublin, Ireland: 31 May 1968



Charlie Parker

  • Every Dead Thing (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1999) [Charlie Parker: hb/uncredited]
  • Dark Hollow (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2000) [Charlie Parker: hb/Mark Harrison]
  • The Killing Kind (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2001) [Charlie Parker: hb/Mark Harrison]
  • The White Road (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2002) [Charlie Parker: hb/Mark Harrison]
  • The Black Angel (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2005) [Charlie Parker: hb/Larry Rostant]
  • The Unquiet (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2007) [Charlie Parker: hb/Larry Rostant]
  • The Reapers (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2008) [Charlie Parker: hb/]
  • The Lovers (New York: Simon and Schuster/Atria Books, 2009) [Charlie Parker: hb/]
  • The Whisperers (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2010) [Charlie Parker: hb/]
  • The Burning Soul (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2011) [Charlie Parker: hb/]
  • The Wrath of Angels (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2012) [Charlie Parker: hb/Hoo-Ha]
  • The Wolf in Winter (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2014) [Charlie Parker: hb/Hoo-Ha Ltd]
  • A Song of Shadows (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2015) [Charlie Parker: hb/Susan Derger]
  • A Time of Torment (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2016 ) [Charlie Parker: hb/Susan Derger]
  • A Game of Ghosts (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2017) [Charlie Parker: hb/Susan Derger]
  • The Woman in the Woods (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2018) [Charlie Parker: hb/Susan Derger]
  • A Book of Bones (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2019) [Charlie Parker: hb/Colin Underhill/Alamy]
  • The Dirty South (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2020) [Charlie Parker: hb/Westendól/Getty Images]
  • The Nameless Ones (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2021) [Charlie Parker: hb/Shutterstock]
  • The Furies: Two Charlie Parker Novels (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2022) [coll: Charlie Parker: hb/from John Singer Sargent]

Lost Things

Samuel Johnson

  • The Gates (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2009) [Samuel Johnson: hb/]
  • Hell's Bells (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2011) [Samuel Johnson: hb/Owen Richardson]
    • The Infernals (New York: Simon and Schuster/Atria Books, 2011) [vt of the above: Samuel Johnson: hb/Jeffrey Nishinaka]
  • The Creeps (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2013) [Samuel Johnson: hb/Alan Dingman]

The Chronicles of the Invaders

  • Conquest (London: Headline, 2013) with Jennifer Ridyard [Chronicles of the Invaders: hb/Xavier Arnau]
  • Empire (London: Headline, 2015) with Jennifer Ridyard [Chronicles of the Invaders: hb/Trevellion Images]
  • Dominion (London: Headline, 2016) with Jennifer Ridyard [Chronicles of the Invaders: hb/the-parish-com/Shuttlecock]

individual titles

  • Bad Men (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2003) [hb/]

collections and stories



  • Nocturnes (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2004) [coll: Nocturnes: hb/Phosphor Art]
    • The Underbury Witches (Leicester, Leicestershire: New Island Publishers, 2006) [novella: cut version of the above: this story only: pb/Artmark Design]
  • Night Music: Nocturnes Volume 2 (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2015) [coll: Nocturnes: illus/hb/Jim Tierney]

individual titles


  • Horror Express (Hornsea, East Yorkshire: PS Publishing, 2018) [in the publisher's Midnight Movie Monograph series: hb/Neil Snowdon & David Chatton Barker]

works as editor


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