Author: John Connolly, 2002.
Genre: Dark Crime Thriller. Supernatural/Horror elements. Racial Issues.
Other Details: Paperback. 502 pages.
In South Carolina, a young black man faces the death penalty for the rape and murder of Marianne Larousse, daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the state. It's a case that nobody wants to touch, a case with its roots in old evil, and old evil is private detective Charlie Parker's speciality. But Parker is about to make a descent into the abyss, a confrontation with dark forces that threaten all that Parker holds dear: his lover, his unborn child, even his soul. . . For in a prison cell, a fanatical preacher is about to take his revenge on Charlie Parker, its instruments the very men that Parker is hunting, and a strange, hunched creature that keeps its own secrets buried by a riverbank: the undiscovered killer Cyrus Nairn. Soon, all of these figures will face a final reckoning in southern swamps and northern forests, in distant locations linked by a single thread, a place where the paths of the living and the dead converge. A place known only as the White Road. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.
During the course of the novel Parker has a number of visions of a sinister black Cadillac that appears to be waiting for a passenger. Is it waiting for him or another? In this fourth novel the supernatural elements of his journey seem to be coming more to the fore with ravens that may or may not be dark angels and a ghostly woman. Charlie's ability to commune with the dead features is still quite understated though he seems to have accepted his role and the nature of the world between life and death represented by the white road.
I am unsure why I waited so long to pick up the fourth in this series though I was pretty upset by the spiders in Book 3 and so this has languished on my TBR pile for ages. No more! I wish I had read it earlier as part of the storyline follows right on from the events in The Killing Kind and I had to refresh my memory on some of the points naturally forgotten given it being six years since I read that book.
Connolly writes extremely well and tackles the difficult issue of racism in the Southern USA and the legacy of slavery. So there are strong racial slurs, sexual violence and quite a body count within the pages. The novel at times is not easy reading but is a superb thriller.
John Connolly's page on 'The White Road' - includes excerpt and Q&A about the novel.