It was an overcast late November morning, the grass splintered by hoarfrost, and winter grinning through the gaps in the clouds like a bad clown peering through the curtains before the show begins. The city was slowing down. Soon the cold would hit hard, and, like an animal, Portland had stored its fat for the long months ahead. There were tourist dollars in the bank; enough, it was hoped, to tide everyone over until Memorial Day. The streets were quieter than they once were. The locals, who coexisted sometimes uneasily with the leaf peepers and outlet shoppers, now had their home almost to themselves once more. They claimed their regular tables in diners and coffee shops, in restaurants and bars. There was time to pass idle conversation with waitresses and chefs, the professionals no longer run ragged by the demands of customers whose names they did not know. At this time of year, it was possible to feel the true rhythm of the small city, the slow beating of its heart untroubled by the false stimulus of those who came from away.
I was sitting at a corner table in the Porthole, eating bacon and fried potatoes and not watching Kathleen Kennedy and Stephen Frazier talking about the secretary of state’s surprise visit to Iraq. There was no sound from the TV, which made ignoring it a whole lot easier. A stove fire burned next to the window overlooking the water, the masts of the fishing boats bobbed and swayed in the morning breeze, and a handful of people occupied the other tables, just enough to create the kind of welcoming ambience that a breakfast venue required, for such things rely on a subtle balance.
The Porthole still looked like it did when I was growing up, perhaps even as it had since it first opened in 1929. There were green-marbled linoleum tiles on the floor, cracked here and there but spotlessly clean. A long, wooden counter, topped with copper, stretched almost the entire length of the room, its black-cushioned metal stools anchored to the floor, the counter dotted with glasses, condiments, and two glass plates of freshly baked muffins. The walls were painted light green, and if you stood up, you could peer into the kitchen through the twin serving hatches divided by a painted “Scallops” sign. A chalkboard announced the day’s specials, and there were five beer taps serving Guinness, a few Allagash and Shipyard ales, and, for those who didn’t know any better, or who did and just didn’t give a rat’s ass, Coors Light. There were buoys hanging from the walls, which in any other dining establishment in the Old Port might have come across as kitsch but here were simply a reflection of the fact that this was a place frequented by locals who fished. One wall was almost entirely glass, so even on the dullest of mornings the Porthole appeared to be flooded with light.
In the Porthole you were always aware of the comforting buzz of conversation, but you could never quite hear all of what anyone nearby was saying, not clearly. This morning about twenty people were eating, drinking, and easing themselves into the day the way Mainers will do. Five workers from the Harbor Fish Market sat in a row at the bar, all dressed identically in blue jeans, hooded tops, and baseball caps, laughing and stretching in the warmth, their faces bitten red by the elements. Beside me, four businessmen had cell phones and notepads interspersed with their white coffee mugs, making out as if they were working but, from the occasional snatches that drifted ov"The haunting creepiness of this thriller will guarantee late-night goose bumps." --Richmond Times Dispatch
"The [Parker series]offer the thought- provoking philosophical and theological depths that are missing from most of the genre." --The Sacremento Bee
"Connolly's genre-bending novels - merging horror, the supernatural and crime - make him a singular presence on the crime scene...[The Unquiet is] hard to put down, harder to forget." --The Observer (England)
"This frightening work of darkness and beauty, written by one of the true masters in the thriller and horror genres, is not to be missed." --Bookreporter.com
"[Connolly's] Parker novels are far from typical whodunits but are multilayered offerings that peel away the soul of the world-weary Parker and most anyone who comes in contact with him." --Patriot News (Harrisburg, PA)
"Connolly fans will delight in the foul return of a recent, albeit forgotten villain featured in one of the author's Nocturnes short story collection...Enter the dual world of John Connolly, where the tangible and the metaphysical often collide, emitting sparks of blood, phantom whispers and the secrets that entomb the living."--The Clarion-Ledger
"You can't put down a book in this series once you've begun it." --Kingston Observer
"Connolly has always had a talent for invoking a frightening sense of place in his stories. Landscapes areas potentially evil as his characters, and in the gothic woods and windblown seascapes of Maine he has found the perfect milieu...Charlie Parker is one of the more fully realized, complex detectives slogging his way through the evils of the world...In a genre full of recurring private eyes, Parker stands unique and consistently complex." --Rocky Mountain News (Denver)
" [John Connolly] writes superbly mesmerizing dialogue. You'll be running shards of it through your mind after the book is finished...The Unquiet ends with the tantalizing suggestion that the detective, after years of relentless, self-righteous violence, has literally lost his soul - and that the ultimate enemy has yet to come. I can't wait." --The Irish Times
"Fans won't be disappointed." --Library Journal
"Connolly is a master ofsuggestion, creating mood and suspense with ease, and unflinchingly presents ahard-eyed look at the horrors that can lurk in quiet, rustic settings."--Publisher's Weekly
"Connolly’s dark,lyrical prose, will leave unshakable images lurking on the edge of the reader’sconsciousness." --Booklist