Every Dead Thing  - John Connolly I tend to avoid crime series like the plague unless they are exceptional such as the Jo Nesbo 'Harry Hole' and Kate Atkinson's 'Jackson Brody' series, they have to be intelligent literary fiction for me to want to revisit a character again.

So for this reason I sniffed at John Connolly's Charlie Parker series under the misapprehension that they were the usual police procedural/serial killer pulp fiction.

Think it was cloud tags that changed my mind...'Gothic...Maine...Thriller...Occult...Louisiana...Crime Noir...Fallen Angels... what is there not to like!

Anyway 'Every Dead Thing' is the first in the Charlie Parker series, alcoholic NYPD cop Charlie returns from a late night drinking session to find his wife and daughter murdered, in the most dreadful way imaginable (not for the squeamish) and the die is set for the rest of the series. They were by murdered by the elusive serial killer called 'The Travelling Man'.

Shocked into sobriety this first book traces Parker's hunt for the his family's killer. The action moves from New York to New Orleans where the novel becomes southern Gothic with a delicious hint of the supernatural. The detail the author goes into may irritate some readers (such as nearly 2 pages on the difference between a male and female skeleton) but I lapped it up.

This book introduces the supporting cast for the rest of the series such as Louis and Angel, the gay but lethal, assassin and'expert home enterer' respectively, continually bickering and bitching bringing a lighter tone to the overwhelming dark.

'Fey' is how I would describe Parker ...the definition is 'marked by an otherworldly air or attitude' Connolly is Irish and raised as a Catholic and it is all there in Parker's character...guilt, redemption, atoning for your sins.

Darkly beautiful and exceptionally well written, elegant and bitter prose.