The Burning Soul : Charlie Parker

  • by John Connolly
  • Narrated by George Guidall, Tony Ward
  • Series: Charlie Parker
  • 12 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What's the worst thing you've ever done?
"There are some truths so terrible that they should not be spoken aloud, so appalling that even to acknowledge them is to risk sacrificing a crucial part of one's humanity, to exist in a colder, crueler world than before."
Randall Haight has a secret: He is a convicted murderer, a man with the blood of a young girl on his hands. He has built a new life for himself in the small Maine town of Pastor's Bay, but someone has discovered the truth about him. He is being tormented by anonymously sent reminders of his crime. He wants private detective Charlie Parker to make them go away.
But another girl has gone missing, this time from Pastor's Bay itself, and her family has its own secrets to protect. Now, in a town built on blood and shadowed by old ghosts, Parker must unravel a twisted history of violence and deceit involving the police and the FBI, a doomed mobster and his enemies, and Randall Haight himself.
Because Randall is telling lies.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great Story, Uneven Narration

In the small town of Pastor’s Bay, a 14 year old girl has gone missing. Randall Haight, an unassuming local accountant, has a secret. A secret that may lead to him becoming not only a suspect, but a pariah in the small community. To make matters worst, someone knows Haight has a secret, and through a series of anonymous letters, may be willing to use that information to harm him. So, Haight’s lawyer brings in Private Investigator Charlie Parkers, to discover the identity of the would-be blackmailers. Thus begins another complex mystery, the kind that Connolly does so well. Connolly’s Charlie Parker series is a brilliant mix of modern detective tale with a simmering undercurrent of the supernatural. In The Burning Soul, Connolly again finds the right balance, allowing Parker to work the mystery in a straight manner, yet still feel the added levels that the case brings. I have always loved the balance Connolly brings. He never uses the supernatural elements as an easy out. Parker never solves his mysteries by tapping into the spirit world, but through his own bullheaded, straightforward detective work. The central mystery, the disappearance of 14 year old girl, brings with it a wild mix of local Police, FBI, mobsters and lowlifes, and Connolly deftly maneuvers the reader through the intricate plot full of twists, without ever leaving the readers behind. If I had any complaints about The Burning Soul it would be that the peripheral characters of the series, like Louis and Angel, and the Fulci brothers only have minor roles here. Yet, aside from that small complaint, Connolly latest Charlie Parker novel is a winner, with a solid contained plot that will please new readers, yet with enough nods to Parker’s past to keep fans of the series happy.

The audio production was another story. The Burning Soul was read by two narrators, George Guidall who handles the third person POV’s and Tony Ward, who read Charlie Parker’s first person perspective. I found this handling of the story strange, but tolerable. I have never been a huge fan of George Guidall’s voice. I find it too old sounding and gruff, but he’s a professional and handles his material fine. He really doesn’t do much to bring the story to life, just reads it in a workman-like manner. Tony Ward’s reading was rough. There was just something off about it. It sort of reminded me of when the audio is just slightly off on a DVD, and it just feels wrong. Ward’s reading seemed to have strange slurred quality, as if you were talking to a person with a bit of a beer buzz. He rarely changed tones when reading dialogue, having Haight’s female attorney sound quite similar Charlie Parker himself. Despite the fact that the action takes place in New England, not a single authentic New England accent could be found in the production. If it wasn’t for the fact that Connolly’s story was so engaging and that I had to know the outcome of the mystery, I may have given up on this production based on the strange, uneven narration. Yet, Connolly’s story did suck me in, enough so that I was able to put my issues with the audio production aside and just enjoy the tale I was being told.
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- Robert "I am an audiobook enthusiast who reviews audiobooks for his blog, The Guilded Earlobe. You can find me on Twitter @guildedearlobe talking about zombies, robots, monkeys and audiobooks."

Great plot, Narration not so great

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would not change a thing about this book. It was pretty awesome. I won't be a spoiler but I could not have guessed the ending. There are lots of storylines to follow and Mr. Connolly does a masterful job of keeping us engaged and made each storyline easy to follow.

What did you like best about this story?

As usual, Charlie Parker is just a great protagonist. The plot was awesome. The setting on the almost secluded island only added to the plot.

What didn’t you like about George Guidall and Tony Ward ’s performance?

I LOVE George Guidall as a narrator. I think his narration has a wry quality to it that I absolutely adore. I search for books he has narrated and on the strength of his narration alone, I may choose to listen to a book, I would not have considered before. I listened to Neil Gaiman's American Gods because George Guidall was the narrator. Okay, so Tony Ward's performance was a bit strange. It was as though he had something in his mouth like a piece of candy the entire time he was reading his parts. I like books with different narrators. It add a freshness to the material. My ears perk up when I hear a different voice. I did read another review that hinted at the low quality of Tony Ward's performance but I disregarded it, thinking that it was subjective (especially since the reviewer did not like George Guidall as a narrator); but really his review of Tony Ward's narration was spot on. Mr. Ward did sound slightly inebriated. I hope Mr. Ward's performance on this book is an anomaly, I would hate to avoid listening to books simply because he was the narrator.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Oh, you better believe it! Although, I have no idea which actor I would like to play Charlie Parker?

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- Marian

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-06-2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio