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Connolly, John

Entry updated 14 February 2022. 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; 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. The series darkens complexly as it progresses, especially in the six-volume Fractured Atlas subseries 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 becomes clear that for the ghosts involved may be Secret Masters protecting us (or not), a supposition hinted at further in A Game of Ghosts (2017), amplified in The Woman in the Woods (2018) and brought to climax in The Book of Bones (2019), these volumes increasingly focused on Villains (one of them seemingly Immortal) who are seeking "the Fractured Atlas", an instruction manual that once reassembled will in Basilisk-like fashion kill God. The main line of the sequence is resumed with The Nameless Ones (2021).

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 Irish genre fiction. [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/Mark Harrison]
  • The Unquiet (New York: Simon and Schuster/Atria Books, 2007) [Charlie Parker: hb/Carlos Beltran]
  • The Reapers (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2008) [Charlie Parker: hb/Carlos Beltran]
  • 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: Fractured Atlas: hb/]
  • A Song of Shadows (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2015) [Charlie Parker: Fractured Atlas: hb/Susan Derges]
  • A Time of Torment (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2015) [Charlie Parker: Fractured Atlas: hb/Susan Derges]
  • A Game of Ghosts (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2017) [Charlie Parker: Fractured Atlas: hb/]
  • The Woman in the Woods (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2018) [Charlie Parker: Fractured Atlas: hb/]
  • A Book of Bones (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2019) [Charlie Parker: Fractured Atlas: hb/Colin Underhill/Alamy]
  • The Dirty South: Witness the Becoming of Charlie Parker (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2020) [Charlie Parker: hb/]
  • The Nameless Ones (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2021) [Charlie Parker: hb/]

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

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


previous versions of this entry

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