The nameless ones by John Connolly

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Mrs Bondarchuk is a loyal neighbour to Mr Louis and Mr Angel in their New York apartment. She is their eyes and ears and not quite the harmless old lady she appears, but then neither are Angel and Louis who, we learn, are associates of private detective Charlie Parker and not averse to killing bad people. “Sometimes this is how it must be done. It’s wrong and it stains the soul, but it has to be, because the other option is much worse.”p76. When De Jaager, an old ‘fixer’ in Amsterdam Louis knew and respected, is tortured and killed brutally, his family raped and their bodies placed in a macabre crucifixion arrangement, Louis realises the killing had to do with reprisal from Serbian war criminals Spiridon and Radovan Vuksan of the Zemun crime syndicate who are settling a few old scores before retreating back to Serbia. Sparked by this, killings come thick and fast; connections are made with people smugglers, money launderers, Serbian mafia and Netherlands narcotics rings and unofficially assisted by FBI agents, Lois and Angel set out across Paris, London, Vienna, London and Amsterdam to avenge De Jaager’s death. Private detective Charlie Parker who must feature in previous books is mentioned and there is some connection to the murder of his daughter but the character plays no role in this book. We learn a lot about Eastern European events since 1980 and I sometimes struggled with the numerous characters all apparently intent on killing each other in the most gruesome way; no sooner do we get to know their names than they are killed and replaced with a new set.

Readers who enjoy the anticipation of horror descriptions and who enjoyed Connolly’s 18 other books in this series will embrace this well constructed thriller but for me the cruelty and self-justification left me feeling diminished.

Themes: Crime, Murder, Eastern Europe history, Thriller.

Sue Speck