The Sisters Strange is the longer of the two, and begins with the seemingly simple murder of a coin collector. But this is John Connolly, and nothing stays simple for long – Charlie Parker is pulled into the increasingly twisty case by an outsider concerned for one of the two sisters the expanding mystery threatens to consume. This story is lighter on the supernatural elements that have come to be this author’s trademark, but not without them entirely.
The Furies, the second and titular story, sees Parker on something else entirely; two separate cases with a mother afraid for her daughter, though in completely different ways. Where The Sisters Strange holds back the supernatural in favour of the monstrosity humans are capable of though, The Furies throws itself wholeheartedly into that mysterious realm of ghosts and monsters – though of course, plenty of the humans involved are more than capable of presenting their own threat. The two stories are linked by a seemingly inconsequential run-down hotel; The Braycott, home to those on the downward path or all the way along it.
John Connolly writes some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read, and it’s another trademark of his that this beautiful writing captures some of the worst horrors to be found in the human imagination – always setting them off with Charlie Parker, the investigator who’s seen it all and still tries anyway. His determination to help, as well as the bonds and banter he shares with the widening cast of side characters he’s come to call friends, keep the series from ever sinking too far into despair, lightening such heavy topics with a ray of hope amid the darkness.
Both of these stories make it clear that even when investigating smaller cases – at least compared to some of the previous books in the series – Charlie Parker is a force for good and a character with plenty of stories left to tell. The Furies is an excellent example of a series that delights in horrifying and uplifting its readers simultaneously; long may it continue to do so.