The Nameless Ones

Written by John Connolly

Review written by John Parker

John Parker is a Graduate-qualified English/Spanish Teacher, owner and director of CHAT ENGLISH, an English Language Centre in Avilés on the north coast of Spain . A voracious reader, he has particularly loved horror fiction for many years.

The Nameless Ones
Hodder and Stoughton
RRP: £20
Released: July 8 2021

So here we go with another John Connolly book. After taking a dip into Charlie Parker’s past in the previous novel, The Dirty South, our favourite detective takes a back seat to two of our other favourite characters, Louis and Angel.   

This time they are journeying over to Europe to settle a few scores with a group of Serbian war criminals. De Jaager,” fixer, go-between and confidante” of Louis has been killed. Jaager means hunter in English and now the hunter has become the hunted. He and four others are mercilessly tortured and killed in what can only be described as a bloodbath. De Jaager himself is crucified.   All of this happens in response to a hit that De Jaager had assigned to Louis, a hit which he carried out for free. For those who wish to refresh their memories, it’s all there in chapter 53, pages 286-287 of Connolly’s superb novel, A Book of Bones.

So Louis and Angel head for Amsterdam where they meet up with another old acquaintance, the big Dutchman, Hendricksen (see Chapter 84 of A Book of Bones). It is he who first enters the house where the slaughter has taken place. Louis is determined to find and punish the five Serbians he knows are responsible for the death of his friend and his people. What he does not know is that there is a sixth killer. And that person could lead to his downfall. And perhaps Parker’s as well?

Spiridon and Radovan Vuksan are our principal villains this time around although as John has often said, villains likely think that their course of action is the right one. And in this case, are they really much different than Louis and Angel? After all, in Chapter 58 of a Book of Bones, Louis remembers how he had considered crucifying the person he had been hired to assassinate, sitting back and watching him suffer while drinking an expensive glass of wine (Malbec). In this novel, Spiridon swigs back Dom Perignon from the bottle while De Jaager and company are tortured.  I would argue that our anti-heroes have a higher sense of morality and are more refined but that should not really excuse their actions.

Of course, the Vuksans and their cohorts are all morally corrupt and spring from the Balkans conflict   of 1991 to 2001. Those of us old enough to remember what happened there can have little or no pity for these people. In the novel, Hendricksen tells a story of his experience in Srebrenica. More than 8,000 people died in that genocide so there is no doubt about just how evil the Vuksans are. There is a lot of bloodshed in this novel, of the most sickening kind. It is as if the Vuksans have become inured to pain and suffering. They have become less than human, regardless of the fact that one of the brothers is uncomfortable with taking part in the atrocities.   

Clearly Connolly has done an immense amount of research for this book as is always the case. Every scene whether it be in London, Amsterdam or Vienna resonates. In Vienna there are important scenes that take place in the ”Friedhof der Namenlosen”, or the Cemetery of the Nameless from which the book takes its name. It all adds to the atmosphere and makes the book so much more interesting.

And as always, John has filled the books with great one-liners and funny scenes that help to relieve the tension. The Fulci brothers, for instance, appear in this book and provide a typically amusing episode which is actually quite grim in reality. Why grim? That I will not reveal but suffice to say I have not alluded to even half of what happens in this book.  There are many great characters I have not spoken about but are integral to the plot.

It is a pacey non-stop thriller that is sure to please John’s many followers around the world. As for new readers, yes, they will be able to jump onto the Charlie Parker train but I would argue that reading A Book of Bones is   advisable if not essential. I daresay that the events of this book were caused by none other than the Principal Backer. Those who wish to revisit that scene need go no further than to reread Chapter 112 of that novel.

So, another triumph for Mr Connolly. As usual we will all be anxious to read the next installment. I have seen a few reviews of this book elsewhere but none of them make reference to what I consider to be a killer ending. I was left with my mouth hanging open, and a question “What the…..”

Buy it now.

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