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Bad Men

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New York Times bestselling author John Connolly masterfully intertwines mystery, emotion, violence, and the supernatural in this raw and gripping thriller. He has been told the girl's last words, and he feels unaccountably afraid. The dead ones. They were dead, but they had lights. Why do the dead need light? Three hundred years ago, the settlers on the small Maine island of New York Times bestselling author John Connolly masterfully intertwines mystery, emotion, violence, and the supernatural in this raw and gripping thriller. He has been told the girl's last words, and he feels unaccountably afraid. The dead ones. They were dead, but they had lights. Why do the dead need light? Three hundred years ago, the settlers on the small Maine island of Sanctuary were betrayed to their enemies and slaughtered. Since then, the island has known peace. Until now. A gang of four men are descending on Sanctuary, intent on committing a brutal and relentless massacre. All that stands in their way are rookie police officer Sharon Macie and the strange, troubled officer Joe Dupree. But Joe is no ordinary policeman. He knows the island has been steeped in blood once and that it will never again tolerate the shedding of innocent blood. The band of killers who are set to desecrate Sanctuary will unleash the fury of its ghosts upon themselves and all who stand by them. On Sanctuary, all hell is about to break loose ...


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New York Times bestselling author John Connolly masterfully intertwines mystery, emotion, violence, and the supernatural in this raw and gripping thriller. He has been told the girl's last words, and he feels unaccountably afraid. The dead ones. They were dead, but they had lights. Why do the dead need light? Three hundred years ago, the settlers on the small Maine island of New York Times bestselling author John Connolly masterfully intertwines mystery, emotion, violence, and the supernatural in this raw and gripping thriller. He has been told the girl's last words, and he feels unaccountably afraid. The dead ones. They were dead, but they had lights. Why do the dead need light? Three hundred years ago, the settlers on the small Maine island of Sanctuary were betrayed to their enemies and slaughtered. Since then, the island has known peace. Until now. A gang of four men are descending on Sanctuary, intent on committing a brutal and relentless massacre. All that stands in their way are rookie police officer Sharon Macie and the strange, troubled officer Joe Dupree. But Joe is no ordinary policeman. He knows the island has been steeped in blood once and that it will never again tolerate the shedding of innocent blood. The band of killers who are set to desecrate Sanctuary will unleash the fury of its ghosts upon themselves and all who stand by them. On Sanctuary, all hell is about to break loose ...

30 review for Bad Men

  1. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    A lot of murder, rape, torture, spousal abuse and general unpleasantness. I don't enjoy being in the minds or presence of sadistic people. The story jumped around too much and did not progress coherently. Charlie Parker and gang are missing. This book can be skipped since it doesn't advance the series. At 450 pages, it's also too long. Although even 100 pages of this mess would be too much. A lot of murder, rape, torture, spousal abuse and general unpleasantness. I don't enjoy being in the minds or presence of sadistic people. The story jumped around too much and did not progress coherently. Charlie Parker and gang are missing. This book can be skipped since it doesn't advance the series. At 450 pages, it's also too long. Although even 100 pages of this mess would be too much.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mihai

    He who has not yet read this dark poet has missed a treat. 5 stars.John Connolly really shines in this standalone story. Even better than my favorite in the Charlie Parkers series, The Woman in the Woods.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    Exceptional as one might come to expect from Connolly, this is actually a semi stand alone book, although still set in Maine, it does tie into the Charlie Parker series and features a couple of cameo appearances by Parker himself. This thriller had plenty of action and a fair share of supernatural elements in addition to great writing, as always. I think what sets Connolly's books apart and well above the rest is his ability to write characters, the subtle terrifying evil of the titular ones and Exceptional as one might come to expect from Connolly, this is actually a semi stand alone book, although still set in Maine, it does tie into the Charlie Parker series and features a couple of cameo appearances by Parker himself. This thriller had plenty of action and a fair share of supernatural elements in addition to great writing, as always. I think what sets Connolly's books apart and well above the rest is his ability to write characters, the subtle terrifying evil of the titular ones and the sheer goodness of the good men and women, the quiet grace with which they carry themselves through life. Connolly writes about the subtleties of human kindness and decency that could melt a seasoned misanthrope's heart and make one wish and hope for the world where good can in fact triumph over evil, although at high cost, where ghosts could be given purpose or put to rest and a semblance of justice can and should be expected. Highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I can honestly say that I have never read a "bad" or even "mediocre" book by John Connolly, to date. BAD MEN is a stand alone novel (although Charlie Parker does make a couple of cameo appearances). A group of ruthless men are on the hunt for a woman who betrayed her husband, their "leader". Throughout the entire tale is an underlying supernatural story of a massacre that happened on the island centuries before....in fact, the characters brought back to the island now seem to share an uncanny li I can honestly say that I have never read a "bad" or even "mediocre" book by John Connolly, to date. BAD MEN is a stand alone novel (although Charlie Parker does make a couple of cameo appearances). A group of ruthless men are on the hunt for a woman who betrayed her husband, their "leader". Throughout the entire tale is an underlying supernatural story of a massacre that happened on the island centuries before....in fact, the characters brought back to the island now seem to share an uncanny link to those from history.... The isolated island atmosphere scenes are incredibly vivid, and the supernatural link felt especially powerful here. In an area such as that, it's almost too easy to believe that these things could be happening. I found this to be an outstanding, fast-paced novel, cementing John Connolly's status as one of the most consistently best writers in the business. Highly recommended!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Bad Men equals bad plot, bad writing and bad characters. I really wanted to like this book but, halfway through, I started getting uneasy. The story was confusing, head hopping between dozens of different characters, many of whom were so flat out crazy it wasn't possible to believe that people this sick could walk down a street without sending every dog into freak out mode. The paranormal stuff wasn't adding up and made even less sense as the book progressed. Six sociopaths, including one cannibal Bad Men equals bad plot, bad writing and bad characters. I really wanted to like this book but, halfway through, I started getting uneasy. The story was confusing, head hopping between dozens of different characters, many of whom were so flat out crazy it wasn't possible to believe that people this sick could walk down a street without sending every dog into freak out mode. The paranormal stuff wasn't adding up and made even less sense as the book progressed. Six sociopaths, including one cannibal, break their boss Moloch out of prison so he can track down his wife who, they hope, is still holding the money she stole from him. Money worth around three quarters of a million dollars. Money she stole 3 years before. Money they're not even sure she still has. Okay, split that 7 ways and then decide if your share is worth killing two cops and leaving a trail of bodies across several states. Not that the police or FBI seem especially adept in this story. Except for getting killed in a prison break so obvious I bet they teach it in Police work 101, the cops are absent despite running a nationwide man hunt. This allows everyone to get to Sanctuary island in the middle of a blizzard to recreate a slaughter that happened back in 1691 and no, that one isn't well explained either. Basically, this book was a mess. I expected better from John Connolly.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Moloch dreams. Dreams of a slaughter. Dreams of a Sanctuary, that is anything but. A place with a history of violence. A place with a future of violence. Marianne dreams, as well. Dreams of running. Dreams of being chased by her past. Dreams of escape. It is all going to come together on the island, where there are forces greater than either of them can imagine that have awakened and are hungry. Hungry for vengeance. John Connolly does it again with another excellent supernatural thriller. This on Moloch dreams. Dreams of a slaughter. Dreams of a Sanctuary, that is anything but. A place with a history of violence. A place with a future of violence. Marianne dreams, as well. Dreams of running. Dreams of being chased by her past. Dreams of escape. It is all going to come together on the island, where there are forces greater than either of them can imagine that have awakened and are hungry. Hungry for vengeance. John Connolly does it again with another excellent supernatural thriller. This one is paced very well and has a smooth flow of plot. The characters are thoroughly fleshed out and there is plenty of story to keep you engaged until the last page. Solid 4+ Stars! Highly Recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Nikki

    Bad Men was thoroughly engaging from the first page until the last. There really weren't very many moments that let up from an unrelenting pace driving us to a final showdown of human vs the supernatural; both equally determined to come out on top. The villain of this read, Moloch, was steadfast in his goal of obtaining his wife and dishing out his brand of vengeance along the way. I felt that things never really varied and that there was no real conflict put in his path to at least make him stumb Bad Men was thoroughly engaging from the first page until the last. There really weren't very many moments that let up from an unrelenting pace driving us to a final showdown of human vs the supernatural; both equally determined to come out on top. The villain of this read, Moloch, was steadfast in his goal of obtaining his wife and dishing out his brand of vengeance along the way. I felt that things never really varied and that there was no real conflict put in his path to at least make him stumble. The author has a way with words and his characters are true to life. Bad Men is a great way to spend an evening or two. Recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    A little while ago I read Ghost Road Blues, a book about a small town with a dark past being visited by both man-made and supernatural evils, with the current ills echoing those of the past. It's a decent read, but I felt it could have been done better. That's where this book comes in. This is the first of Connolly's adult novels I've read, but I expected good things, having enjoyed his short stories and his YA trilogy. The prose is excellent and the book is constructed beautifully, bouncing betwe A little while ago I read Ghost Road Blues, a book about a small town with a dark past being visited by both man-made and supernatural evils, with the current ills echoing those of the past. It's a decent read, but I felt it could have been done better. That's where this book comes in. This is the first of Connolly's adult novels I've read, but I expected good things, having enjoyed his short stories and his YA trilogy. The prose is excellent and the book is constructed beautifully, bouncing between storylines in ways that always felt right. The supernatural aspects are focused on ghosts as opposed to the messy Monster Mash that GRB and others indulge in. It's not perfect. Some of the dialogue clunks, one or two of the criminals could have been taken out of the story with no damage done, but it is very good. Joe Dupree is a great character and the island of Sanctuary is awesome. I'll be reading more Connolly soon, hopefully starting the Parker novels. Looking forward to it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Toria

    I finished the book, but I don't think I got anything good out of it. Wished I had DNF it. It was to messy and not at all enjoyable or exciting read. I finished the book, but I don't think I got anything good out of it. Wished I had DNF it. It was to messy and not at all enjoyable or exciting read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I love John Connolly, but I think I might have to stop reading his books. It shouldn't come as a shock to me every time I crack open the pages of a Connolly book and read something so horrifying that my brain can't process it. 80% of the time I am reading one of his books, my heart is racing and, 100% of the time, all of the lights in my apartment are on. This book is similar to Connolly's Charlie Parker books (Parker even makes a cameo appearance), and it had the same dark feel and supernatural I love John Connolly, but I think I might have to stop reading his books. It shouldn't come as a shock to me every time I crack open the pages of a Connolly book and read something so horrifying that my brain can't process it. 80% of the time I am reading one of his books, my heart is racing and, 100% of the time, all of the lights in my apartment are on. This book is similar to Connolly's Charlie Parker books (Parker even makes a cameo appearance), and it had the same dark feel and supernatural elements. My opinion of this book is that Connolly wanted to kill off some characters the readers care about, which he seems reluctant to do in the Parker novels. I was stunned by how ruthless Connolly was in this novel, but I suppose it would be best to keep in mind that readers should expect the unexpected from him.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    My copy of this book has the quote "With Bad Men there's no chance of indifference." Unfortunately that's exactly the feeling this one left me with. This is the only John Connolly book I've read that I can say that of and the first I haven't given at least 4 stars. I'll no doubt soon return to the brilliant Charlie Parker series but this one seems equally highly rated and to me was underwhelming. My copy of this book has the quote "With Bad Men there's no chance of indifference." Unfortunately that's exactly the feeling this one left me with. This is the only John Connolly book I've read that I can say that of and the first I haven't given at least 4 stars. I'll no doubt soon return to the brilliant Charlie Parker series but this one seems equally highly rated and to me was underwhelming.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anne (Booklady) Molinarolo

    3.50 Stars I have only read one book by John Connolly - the first in his Charlie Parker Series. So I thought I'd revisit Connolly, since his thrillers are on the darker side. And Bad Men is certainly dark, foraying into Horror and the Supernatural. That both pleased and dismayed me. Connolly begins the novel with a dream of actual happenings on the fictional Maine Island called Dutch Island. But 350 years ago the Island was known as Sanctuary. And a former resident leading a pack of bad men slau 3.50 Stars I have only read one book by John Connolly - the first in his Charlie Parker Series. So I thought I'd revisit Connolly, since his thrillers are on the darker side. And Bad Men is certainly dark, foraying into Horror and the Supernatural. That both pleased and dismayed me. Connolly begins the novel with a dream of actual happenings on the fictional Maine Island called Dutch Island. But 350 years ago the Island was known as Sanctuary. And a former resident leading a pack of bad men slaughters all of the residents on the island. The dreamer realizes he was actually there. The dream is too real. Are they memories or just a vivid dream? On the Island itself, some strange things are happening. Some deaths, evidence of break-ins, and sightings of a "grey" girl. The moths, too. The melancholy gentle giant, Joe Dupree knows all too much that something is about to happen. He is the law enforcement the island has, besides another rotating officer from the mainland. Dupree is also close to a woman and her son. Marianne Elliot claims she's a widow, but she is hiding something from Dupree and Sanctuary residents. Soon more bad men will arrive and blood will flow on the island once more. The novel begins with a fierce pace and never lets up. Connolly never gives the reader a chance to breathe, and I definitely needed to. The novel is gritty and very dark, maybe a little too much.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. dnf. Once I realised this book was about ghosts I stopped reading. No problem with that, it's just not my reading taste. dnf. Once I realised this book was about ghosts I stopped reading. No problem with that, it's just not my reading taste.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Gibson

    This is my first Connolly novel. I know he is a popular mystery writer—just look at his wall of books at Borders—but I didn’t know what to expect. To my surprise I found his writing to be articulate and beautifully detailed. I was also surprised at the intense level of violence. Not shocked, mind you, Chuck Palahniuk is one of my favorite writers, so this has a long way to go before ever reaching ‘shock’ level. It was just the sheer bravura of death and destruction that caught me off guard. I hav This is my first Connolly novel. I know he is a popular mystery writer—just look at his wall of books at Borders—but I didn’t know what to expect. To my surprise I found his writing to be articulate and beautifully detailed. I was also surprised at the intense level of violence. Not shocked, mind you, Chuck Palahniuk is one of my favorite writers, so this has a long way to go before ever reaching ‘shock’ level. It was just the sheer bravura of death and destruction that caught me off guard. I have to give the author credit. He is not afraid to kill characters off. And there are a lot of them. So many, in fact, for the first few dozen chapters you’re not sure just what the hell is going on. Just when you get to know the small isolated Maine island Sanctuary (with copious details of its deadly history) the story switches to Florida, then the Carolinas, then all over the place and every character has a back story. The author, to a fault, doesn’t introduce anyone without immediately expounding their history which is usually brutal—even if the character is killed in the same chapter. I didn’t do a body count as I read along, but it was in the dozens. I have to say I got a little annoyed with story after story, death after death. But he ties it all together and finally, when about two dozen of the main characters finally meet on the creepy island there is a big ‘ah-hah’ moment and the story kicks into high gear. Connolly is pretty good with the sinister detail as the story turns supernatural. You are waiting for it to happen—and when it does, he is at his best. I am not sure if his other novels have the ‘Dean Koontz’ effect or not but I picked up a couple more at the flea market and am willing to try some others. If you put up with a lot of extraneous wasted character development the end is worth getting too. Well, isn’t it always? No, maybe not always.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Selvianty Yusuf

    omg how do I put this? There's too many characters in this book and John Connolly talked about them all. And it was intense! I wasn't bored at all with his descriptions on each characters and their backgrounds. And he managed to make a story where everything looks or sounds so dark and gloomy. How did you do it Mr Connolly? Ok, a lot of people probably would disagree with me because the story walks so slow. Yes, I said walks. Connolly built the story slowly to create an atmosphere of something s omg how do I put this? There's too many characters in this book and John Connolly talked about them all. And it was intense! I wasn't bored at all with his descriptions on each characters and their backgrounds. And he managed to make a story where everything looks or sounds so dark and gloomy. How did you do it Mr Connolly? Ok, a lot of people probably would disagree with me because the story walks so slow. Yes, I said walks. Connolly built the story slowly to create an atmosphere of something sinister and cruel. It's a story about Bad Men. Men. As in plural. And a mysterious island with a dark past. Can't talk about it more because it might contain spoilers. When these Bad Men came to the island to seek something, the intensity rose. The Past and Present entwined to each other and set in motion to clear the pathway for Future. With many sacrifices. If you happen to visit the island, don't go to the Sanctuary. P.S.: The island is a fiction sadly. But you'll want to believe it's there. Because Connolly describe it so well with the terrain and its history.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    I only made it to page 123 of this book before finally giving up. I just didn't care about the story. I found it rambled on and on about stuff I didn't care about, and my mind would wander while reading so I didn't know what was going on. I don't feel I'm missing out on anything by not finishing this one. I only made it to page 123 of this book before finally giving up. I just didn't care about the story. I found it rambled on and on about stuff I didn't care about, and my mind would wander while reading so I didn't know what was going on. I don't feel I'm missing out on anything by not finishing this one.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dyah

    The main reason I wanted to read this book is because I'm curious about Sharon Macy; the police woman sometimes mentioned in Charlie Parker books and it seems that they have history. In Bad Men, Macy is a rookie cop, and I get to know a little about her past and family. And it is enough for me to say "No, she's not a suitable partner for Parker." Bad Men tells a story about a haunted island named Sanctuary/Dutch Island. Long time ago, all of its residents are slaughtered, and their ghosts are rest The main reason I wanted to read this book is because I'm curious about Sharon Macy; the police woman sometimes mentioned in Charlie Parker books and it seems that they have history. In Bad Men, Macy is a rookie cop, and I get to know a little about her past and family. And it is enough for me to say "No, she's not a suitable partner for Parker." Bad Men tells a story about a haunted island named Sanctuary/Dutch Island. Long time ago, all of its residents are slaughtered, and their ghosts are restless because the culprit got away. Now every time there's an evil/corrupt man in the island, the ghosts get rid of him/her one way or another. Then a group of killers arrive on the island...going after someone who betrayed their leader and took their money. They have no idea what's waiting for them... Rather than Macy, Bad Men focuses more on Joe Dupree or Melancholy Joe, the main policeman on Sanctuary. The Dupree family has always been the guardian of the island since a long time ago. I like Joe. Really like him. And my heart breaks for him, because what happens to him is not fair :( No, I don't need to read more stories about Sanctuary. It's enough to know that when you got some bad men chasing you, just go to Sanctuary and it will take care of them for you :p **Thank you Mas Jun for securing this book for me at Big Bad Wolf :)**

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jenni DaVinCat

    This book kind of reminded me of a cross between Hex and Harbor, mostly for the setting but partially for plot. It's an island with a tight knit group of inhabitants, with the island having a long and bloody history. As history often repeats itself, it's important to the book to understand the violence that once occurred there. Even though this version of the book comes in at over 500 pages, I wouldn't have minded more depth into both the history and present day events for the island. That's a f This book kind of reminded me of a cross between Hex and Harbor, mostly for the setting but partially for plot. It's an island with a tight knit group of inhabitants, with the island having a long and bloody history. As history often repeats itself, it's important to the book to understand the violence that once occurred there. Even though this version of the book comes in at over 500 pages, I wouldn't have minded more depth into both the history and present day events for the island. That's a fairly light criticism, because I do felt that I had a good understanding of both as well as most of the characters who lived on the island. It was interesting and therefore I want more of it. I did have a little bit of trouble keeping track of the 'Bad Men', as there are a fair amount of them. They're all bad, hence the name, but they all have different quirks to their badness. There's no shortage of bad deeds and Connolly makes this clear during sections from any of the 'Bad Men' perspectives. What was great about this, and part of why it reminded me of those 2 great books I mentioned earlier was how Connolly took a fairly normal story but added other elements to it, in order to turn it into something more extraordinary. Yes, it is a story about 'Bad Men' but it's a lot more than just a story about 'Bad Men'. Yes, it's a story about an island and the people who live there, but it's a lot more than that too. I can't say that I'm a fan of Connolly's Parker series. I truly wish that he would write more books that didn't have to do with Charlie Parker. I know people love the character and the series, but The Book of Lost Things and his two short story collections are absolutely fantastic. Bad Men didn't blow me away quite as much as The Book of Lost Things, but it was still an excellent read and I found myself having a hard time putting it down. I finished it in two days, which should tell you how interested I was. If he ever writes anything else outside of the Parker series, I will 100% make sure that I read it. He's a great writer and has excellent ideas.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    Dutch Island, also called Sanctuary Island, off the coast of Maine is a small tight-knit community. Police Officer Joe Dupree is the law enforcement on the island. The worst violations he ever sees are teenagers breaking curfew and the harmless antics of the town drunk. He likes the relative peace and quiet, because he is one of the few that knows the dark history of the island, of the incident in 1693 in which the original settlers of Dutch Island were brutally raped, tortured, and murdered by Dutch Island, also called Sanctuary Island, off the coast of Maine is a small tight-knit community. Police Officer Joe Dupree is the law enforcement on the island. The worst violations he ever sees are teenagers breaking curfew and the harmless antics of the town drunk. He likes the relative peace and quiet, because he is one of the few that knows the dark history of the island, of the incident in 1693 in which the original settlers of Dutch Island were brutally raped, tortured, and murdered by a savage group of evil men. He knows, too, the history of how his great-great-great grandfather and two other men, who were away on the mainland on the day of the massacre, spent the rest of their days hunting each of the men responsible and exacting their own brand of vengeance. History has forgotten. Dupree wants to forget, but the island remembers. And the island is getting restless. When strange tragic events begin to happen with more frequency, Dupree and the handful of other inhabitants cursed with the knowledge of Dutch Island's bloody history gird their loins. Something bad is coming their way. His name is Moloch. John Connelly's novel "Bad Men" is a nail-biting horror thriller in the tradition of the best of Stephen King. It's Connelly's first stand-alone novel, a break from his long-running detective series featuring Charlie Parker (although Connelly can't help but include a significant cameo). Dark, graphic, and beautifully written, "Bad Men" is the psycho killer story turned on its head, as the unstoppable evil killer finds himself facing a much more powerful, older, and more vengeful entity. This book is seriously intense and almost impossible to put down. If you love good thrill-a-minute horror stories in the Stephen King/Peter Straub/Dean Koontz vein, you must read "Bad Men".

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dylan Derby

    This book is very well written and for most people I think they would really enjoy the book. The bad men ( plus one woman) are easily the best part of the book and every page that Moloch and his crew were on they were demonstrating just how bad they really were, that is up until they get to the island. I wish I had not read the inside flap or I think I would have enjoyed the book a good bit more. the inside flap says the book is about Bad Men descending on an island and chaos and destruction and This book is very well written and for most people I think they would really enjoy the book. The bad men ( plus one woman) are easily the best part of the book and every page that Moloch and his crew were on they were demonstrating just how bad they really were, that is up until they get to the island. I wish I had not read the inside flap or I think I would have enjoyed the book a good bit more. the inside flap says the book is about Bad Men descending on an island and chaos and destruction and death erupting when they do and I thought that sounded awesome. Sadly however they don't even get to the island until the last 100 pages and they all drop like flies. I mean literally none of them put up an even half way decent fight, and for that matter there actually is not even a single fight when they are all on the island and the bad men just pretty much die one after the other all in 100 pages and that ruined this book for me completely. I mean I spent 250-300 pages reading about how crazy, evil, and ruthless these killers are, following them as they kill their war to the island, and when they finally get there in the last third of the book, they legit all get completely shafted like they are nothing at all.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Emi

    So, I was thinking about having a quiet evening in home, with a book, some tea, and silence. Good and enjoyable silence... Well, that was the plan. Until sun came down and I get to the last chapters in this book. In that moment, the silence became something creepy. So, so creepy. This book literally made my skin crawl and sent shivers down my spine. The ghosts... John Connolly invokes a trully scary scenario here and, at the same time, he has an unique way to evoke something scary and tender at So, I was thinking about having a quiet evening in home, with a book, some tea, and silence. Good and enjoyable silence... Well, that was the plan. Until sun came down and I get to the last chapters in this book. In that moment, the silence became something creepy. So, so creepy. This book literally made my skin crawl and sent shivers down my spine. The ghosts... John Connolly invokes a trully scary scenario here and, at the same time, he has an unique way to evoke something scary and tender at the same time. John's ghosts are scary, and even terrifying, but they all have this sad and melancholic side that can be even tender. This can be considered a Charlie Parker's book. He appears there, makes some cameos, but it's an amazing story anyway. I loved this book. Is one of the best of John, I think. It has tension, an interesting story and very good characters. The end broke my heart a little, but I recommend this. It's an amazing book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    J.F. Penn

    An island with a bloody history that echoes in the present. As violent men come closer to the Sanctuary, supernatural forces start to emerge on the island. A woman with a child, defended by a giant with his own roots in the past. On the edge of horror, I love John Connolly :)

  23. 4 out of 5

    KATHLEEN

    This book has only a couple cameo appearances by Charlie Parker. I really missed him. "Bad Men" as a title is pretty simplistic, but they are words uttered by a child to describe those who are invading the island where he lives (Dutch Island f/k/a Sanctuary.) There are also good people in this book. As we swing over the United States collecting our bad guys, we meet a few of the good people. At least, until they're murdered. A man named Edward Moloch is getting bonded out of jail courtesy of his l This book has only a couple cameo appearances by Charlie Parker. I really missed him. "Bad Men" as a title is pretty simplistic, but they are words uttered by a child to describe those who are invading the island where he lives (Dutch Island f/k/a Sanctuary.) There are also good people in this book. As we swing over the United States collecting our bad guys, we meet a few of the good people. At least, until they're murdered. A man named Edward Moloch is getting bonded out of jail courtesy of his lawyer. It has taken a few years to achieve this. But Moloch wants to do more than disappear from the sight of the law. He wants his revenge on the wife who had the guts to leave their abusive relationship, steal money he got illegally, and tip the authorities off about him. As he lies in jail he dreams about his violent revenge upon her, except it seems, it already happened, in a previous life. But where? When he knows where his wife is, that question will be answered. The island of Sanctuary has a long memory, too. Massacres far in the past are not forgotten by the spirits which inhabit the island. Something besides blood soaked into the ground. The island has taken its revenge before. Mrs. Moloch has hidden there with Moloch's son. Moloch is going to track her down. The island is waiting for them. In this book there's a hero cop who suffers from gigantism and a sensitivity to the ghosts of the island, sometimes represented by something no more frightening than moths who fly amongst the snow. A female rookie cop has been sent over from Portland to work with him, but neither possesses the firepower they will need for this fight. This book might have been better written by Stephen King. I know I have said that about Connolly before. King would have carefully described the small-town sort of place that is Sanctuary. He would have eased into the supernatural part instead of beginning with it on page one. He might have spent less time bouncing all over the country picking up hitmen and just had them waiting for Moloch when he got out. And I hope he would have spent more time on the actual attack on the island. Still, I feel like I'm nitpicking too much. Let's just say I will really be glad to get back to Charlie Parker.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rex

    I haven't read a lot of John Connolly's work but have enjoyed what I have read immensely. He is most famous for his Charlie Parker detective series, but I have only read one of these. I really didn't like it all that much. But, as I said, his other books - and his short stories - appeal to me greatly. It's hard to classify Bad Men. It started out rather strange but then became a very hard-boiled, intense crime story full of really horrible (yes, "bad") men and the havoc they wreak on everyone aro I haven't read a lot of John Connolly's work but have enjoyed what I have read immensely. He is most famous for his Charlie Parker detective series, but I have only read one of these. I really didn't like it all that much. But, as I said, his other books - and his short stories - appeal to me greatly. It's hard to classify Bad Men. It started out rather strange but then became a very hard-boiled, intense crime story full of really horrible (yes, "bad") men and the havoc they wreak on everyone around them. It's very powerful and the characters are drawn extremely graphically and well, even if I did find there were too many of them and sometimes a bit hard to differentiate. In many ways it reminded me of a couple of Quentin Tarantino films and the style is very much what we have come to expect from him. For some reason Charlie Parker does make a very minor, tangential appearance. However, about three quarters of the way through, the novel changes gears severely and delves much more into the supernatural. It transitions into something reminding me much more of Stephen King, although I'm sure Connolly would prefer I stop comparing him to others at this point. I did not enjoy this novel as much from this point onward because I was much more intrigued by his deranged cast of sociopaths that the rather other spirits, ghosts or specters that popped up toward the end. The shift from hard, intense reality to accepting the intervention of other worldly beings was hard for me to make. So ultimately I enjoyed reading this rather long (500+ pages) novel but not enough the rate it five stars and give it an enthusiastic recommendation. I have some other Connolly works I intend to read, so we'll see how my opinion of this author evolves.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Hutchings-walsh

    Despite having to restart it 3 times to get all the characters' names straight in my head after a little time away from it, I became enraptured with the story and really liked the bittersweet end. Great book. Despite having to restart it 3 times to get all the characters' names straight in my head after a little time away from it, I became enraptured with the story and really liked the bittersweet end. Great book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Soo

    Notes: Not as engaging as the Charlie Parker stories but a cool mix of history, supernatural & crazy people.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gmaharriet

    John Connolly does it again! Who else could combine murder mystery, romance, small town ambience and the supernatural? I could hardly stand to put this down, and when I finished, I wanted more. I was saddened by the ending, but he tied it up in a satisfying way.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aric

    I really wanted to like this a lot but for some reason it just didn't click with me. As I often say lately, don't go with my impressions. I'm a big fan of John Connolly's Charlie Parker series and the private detective has a brief cameo in "Bad Men" just as I think one of the characters in "Bad Men" shows up in his series if I recall correctly. Perhaps, I was finding fault that it WASN'T a Charlie Parker book. Back around Colonial time, a group of bad men massacre the residents of Sanctuary, an i I really wanted to like this a lot but for some reason it just didn't click with me. As I often say lately, don't go with my impressions. I'm a big fan of John Connolly's Charlie Parker series and the private detective has a brief cameo in "Bad Men" just as I think one of the characters in "Bad Men" shows up in his series if I recall correctly. Perhaps, I was finding fault that it WASN'T a Charlie Parker book. Back around Colonial time, a group of bad men massacre the residents of Sanctuary, an island off the coast of Maine. Fast forward to more modern times and another assemblage of criminals are en route to the same isle with bad intentions as equal to those that had come before stirring up the spirits of the massacred colonists. Those spirits seem to stir up a shark-like feeding frenzy and like those frenzies there is no discernment in what is preyed upon. But still the bad men come...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Corey Woodcock

    Back and forth on whether to go 4 or 5 stars on this, really it could’ve gone either way, so I’ll settle on a solid 4.4 First I gotta say, I’m so glad I discovered John Connolly, and I foresee a long literary relationship with the guy. This book was extremely satisfying as a fan of Stephen King and crime novels like John Sandford, as it’s somewhat a mix of the two, though this one leans very heavily on the horror; in fact I would without a doubt consider this a horror novel. Joe Dupree is an awkw Back and forth on whether to go 4 or 5 stars on this, really it could’ve gone either way, so I’ll settle on a solid 4.4 First I gotta say, I’m so glad I discovered John Connolly, and I foresee a long literary relationship with the guy. This book was extremely satisfying as a fan of Stephen King and crime novels like John Sandford, as it’s somewhat a mix of the two, though this one leans very heavily on the horror; in fact I would without a doubt consider this a horror novel. Joe Dupree is an awkward giant of a man with a long and deep rooted family history on Dutch Island, Maine aka Sanctuary. The island hasn’t felt right lately, and ghosts of the past, his past and the islands, are bubbling up as a vicious snowstorm and some very Bad Men are coming straight towards him. There’s not much more to say without giving things away-just read this book. I have a few mild gripes I suppose. There were a lot of characters, and while it wasn’t a big issue, Connolly probably could’ve cut a couple to make it a little easier on the reader, but overall it wasn’t a big issue. My main gripe is that I wish we had gotten to know Joe Dupree a little better. I found him intriguing and likable; I just wanted a little more time getting to know him! We spend a lot of time getting to know the antagonist though, and being with him is a brutal place to be. This book is filled with terrifying shit. Scary people, and some otherworldly ghouls. I know which I thought was worse, but I’ll let each reader be their own judge. Connolly’s prose is smooth, effortless, and even a little fancy. Reading this has put me right on track to see what Charlie Parker’s story is, as he had a cameo here and I already like him. Definitely recommended to horror and thriller readers alike. If you’re a fan of crime novels, you may find it a little heavy on the supernatural but it will without a doubt be enjoyable. Horror readers will feel right at home, as will Stephen King fans.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    It takes sixty pages before you begin to feel you might understand where the narrative is going but you're wrong. Things will get much worse and more complicated before it all becomes clear. You do have to keep the opening images in the back of your mind in order to understand the places of the modern characters. Many people will say that both evil and good will become part of places where very strong emotions have vented, that they become part of the very soil and sometimes react to modern event It takes sixty pages before you begin to feel you might understand where the narrative is going but you're wrong. Things will get much worse and more complicated before it all becomes clear. You do have to keep the opening images in the back of your mind in order to understand the places of the modern characters. Many people will say that both evil and good will become part of places where very strong emotions have vented, that they become part of the very soil and sometimes react to modern events. The men in this novel are more than just bad men, they are mentally unbalanced, downright insane and/or seriously damaged psychologically. People at risk often turn to people like this when they need something these damaged souls appear to offer and they usually pay a high price for it. Women without training who desperately need money will turn to men on the fringes of their society and become victims of abuse, or worse. There are a number of women in this book who are trying to work themselves out of bad situations but it is difficult to do without help and help requires trust. By the end there has been vengeance, there has been a final settlement but there have been far too many ugly deaths. Even if the angry earth is on your side you cannot count on things ending as you would like because the earth does not value people as we do. This is a portrait of the effect of evil on a lineage of people.

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