How To Read 20 John Connolly Books In Order (Charlie Parker, Samuel Johnson, And More)

John Connolly is an Irish writer best known for his Charlie Parker series.

Following a detective with a dark side as he solves crimes linked to the supernatural, the growing series has become hugely popular with fans of introspective mysteries.

How To Read 20 John Connolly Books In Order (Charlie Parker, Samuel Johnson, And More)

Charlie Parker has yet to be adapted for the screen, even though many fans believe the combination of quips, magic, and atmosphere are perfect for live-action.

Some of Connolly’s books have been optioned, however, so watch out for adaptations!

If you’re interested in a new take on crime fiction, then the Charlie Parker series might be just right.

It’s best to read the series in release order, to get an informed picture of the characters. Sounds a little intense?

Connolly has also written books for younger readers. These have his signature style, without the grim darkness.

In this guide, I’ll take a look at the best order to read John Connolly’s books.

About John Connolly

John Connolly is best known for his series about Charlie Parker, an anti-hero detective with a link to the supernatural.

The Charlie Parker series follows Parker and his misfit companions as they solve crimes.

But there’s always more than meets the eye, and Parker regularly battles the supernatural. 

Through the combination of magic, mystery, and crime, the series explores introspective themes.

Morality and redemption are woven into the plot, as Parker struggles with redemption.

John Connolly “Charlie Parker” Books In Order

It’s best to read the Charlie Parker books in order. John Connolly also wrote Parker: A Miscellany, a nonfiction companion book.

Every Dead Thing

Every Dead Thing: A Charlie Parker Thriller

With the mysterious death of his wife and daughter still hanging over him, Charlie Parker starts investigating a mysterious serial killer: the Travelling Man.

Pros

  • An immediately gripping character.

Cons

  • Connolly hasn’t found his stride yet.

Dark Hollow

Dark Hollow: A Charlie Parker Thriller (2)

Strange occurrences seem to be linked to a historic serial killer. Can Parker solve a crime across centuries?

Pros

  • A very memorable villain.

Cons

  • The plot flounders in places.

The Killing Kind

The Killing Kind: A Charlie Parker Thriller

A mysterious death leads the detective to a secret organization. But even Parker might be surprised at what the Fellowship hides.

Pros

  • An eerie vibe persists.

Cons

  • Not for arachnophobes.

The White Road

The White Road: A Charlie Parker Thriller

The murdered daughter of a millionaire turns out to be a nightmare for Parker — quite literally.

Pros

  • A thoughtful journey.

Cons

  • There are a lot of characters.

The Black Angel

The Black Angel: A Charlie Parker Thriller

A disappearance has links to the mythical — and priceless — Black Angel. But as Parker is about to discover, some myths are based on reality.

Pros

  • An impressive scope.

Cons

  • Starts slow.

The Unquiet

The Unquiet: A Charlie Parker Thriller

Parker finds himself trapped in a tale of revenge. Can he find the truth at the heart of it?

Pros

  • Deep characterizations.

Cons

  • A more predictable detective story.

The Reapers

The Reapers: A Charlie Parker Thriller

Louis’ dark past is catching up with him. Does his disappearance spell a dark future for Parker?

Pros

  • A lighter addition to the series.

Cons

  • Parker is on the periphery.

The Lovers

The Lovers: A Charlie Parker Thriller

A forced retirement means boredom for Parker. But some people want a more permanent end to his detective career.

Pros

  • A look at Parker’s past.

Cons

  • Slow in places.

The Whisperers

The Whisperers: A Charlie Parker Thriller

Evil is being smuggled across the border. To stop it Parker must team up with a dreaded nemesis.

Pros

  • A fantastic subplot.

Cons

  • We’re missing some main characters.

The Burning Soul

The Burning Soul: A Charlie Parker Thriller

Randall Haight wants his past to stay behind him, but as Parker soon discovers, some things are never forgotten.

Pros

  • Interesting introspective moments.

Cons

  • Surprisingly conventional.

The Wrath Of Angels 

The Wrath of Angels: A Charlie Parker Thriller

A plane has crashed in the Maine woods, and hidden in the wreckage is a deadly list. But something worse has survived the crash…

Pros

  • Atmospheric.

Cons

  • Abrupt ending.

The Wolf In Winter

The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller

Prosperous is a thriving community that will do anything to survive. And as Parker will find out, that means anything.

Pros

  • Genuinely eerie.

Cons

  • Some loose ends.

A Song Of Shadows

A Song of Shadows: A Charlie Parker Thriller

Parker is in recovery, but an unlikely friendship threatens to draw him into a dark world.

Pros

  • Horror meets history.

Cons

  • You’ll miss full-power Parker.

A Time Of Torment

A Time of Torment: A Charlie Parker Thriller

Jerome Burnel is a hero close to death. Following his story, Parker sets out for an isolated community with a strange leader.

Pros

  • Rich characters.

Cons

  • A little familiar.

A Game Of Ghosts

A Game of Ghosts: A Thriller (Charlie Parker Book 15)

A man investigating hauntings has gone missing. Can Parker unravel the disappearances, and avoid the same fate?

Pros

  • Some genuinely surprising twists.

Cons

  • A lot of plot threads.

The Woman In The Woods

The Woman in the Woods: A Thriller (Charlie Parker Book 16)

Parker has to track down a dead woman’s identity — and find her newborn baby. But there’s someone else following the same trail.

Pros

  • A sense of doom.

Cons

  • Uneven pacing.

A Book Of Bones

A Book of Bones: A Thriller (Charlie Parker 17)

Something is being summoned from the darkness. But if you want to play with evil, you need to be prepared for Parker.

Pros

  • An expansive story.

Cons

  • Wordy.

The Dirty South

The Dirty South: A Thriller (Charlie Parker Book 18)

It’s 1997, and Parker is a grieving detective. Witness how he became the hunter we know today in this prequel.

Pros

  • Discover more of Parker.

Cons

  • A predictable ending.

The Nameless Ones

The Nameless Ones: A Thriller (Charlie Parker Book 19)

When friends of Louis turn up dead in Amsterdam, the criminals think they can escape justice. Louis will prove they can’t.

Pros

  • Twists and turns.

Cons

  • Lacks Parker.

The Furies

The Furies: A Thriller (Charlie Parker Book 20)

Two separate cases prove to be intertwined in this double novel.

Pros

  • A new take on a mystery.

Cons

  • Less fully realized than others in the series.

John Connolly “Samuel Johnson” Books In Order

Written for younger readers, enjoy the Samuel Johnson series as a light break from Charlie Parker.

The Gates

The Gates: A Samuel Johnson Tale

The Abernathys have accidentally opened a gate to hell. Luckily, Samuel Johnson and his dachshund are here to close them.

Pros

  • Fun and fast-paced.

Cons

  • It takes a while to come together.

The Infernals

The Infernals: A Samuel Johnson Tale

It turns out you can’t just close hell without attracting the attention of demons! And some of them have a score to settle.

Pros

  • Witty and scary.

Cons

  • A darker tone.

The Creeps

The Creeps: A Samuel Johnson Tale

It looks like the entire multiverse might be coming to an end if Samuel, Boswell, and Nurd can’t sort it out!

Pros

  • Sparks the imagination.

Cons

  • The plot seems secondary to the characters.

John Connolly “The Chronicles Of The Invaders Books” In Order

The Chronicles of the Invaders is a sci-fi trilogy for teen readers, written with Jennifer Ridyard. It must be enjoyed in order. 

Conquest

Conquest: The Chronicles of the Invaders (The Chronicles of the Invaders Trilogy Book 1)

Earth is under the control of Illyri, but the Resistance won’t give up the fight. Can they unlock their powers, and reclaim Earth?

Pros

  • Excellent world-building.

Cons

  • Slightly predictable.

Empire

Empire: The Chronicles of the Invaders (The Chronicles of the Invaders Trilogy Book 2)

There’s a darker truth behind the Illyri occupation, but the only people who know are exiled to the furthest edges of the universe. Can they reveal the truth?

Pros

  • An exciting main plot thread.

Cons

  • The Syl storyline is quite basic.

Dominion

Dominion: The Chronicles of the Invaders (The Chronicles of the Invaders Trilogy Book 3)

Banished for years, Syl and Paul arrive to find a universe on the brink of collapse. Is there anyone left who can stop the destruction?

Pros

  • The stakes feel high.

Cons

  • Abrupt ending.

Other John Connolly Books In Order

Bad Men

Bad Men: A Thriller

Sanctuary has been peaceful for centuries, but trouble is on the horizon. For Joe Dupree, that means ghosts are about to rise.

Pros

  • Gripping throughout.

Cons

  • Takes a while to get into.

The Book Of Lost Things

The Book of Lost Things

Twelve-year-old David finds himself transported to a magical land. Monsters lurk and heroes abound, and the Book of Lost Things holds many secrets. 

Pros

  • Incredibly original.

Cons

  • Uneven pacing.

He

He

An account of the lives of Laurel and Hardy, filled with the good, the bad, the funny, and the love between the two.

Pros

  • An almost poetic prose.

Cons

  • Not what you might expect from Connolley.

Nocturnes

Nocturnes (Charlie Parker Book 1)

A selection of short stories exploring horror and the supernatural, also featuring a Charlie Parker novella.

Pros

  • Every story has a palpable atmosphere.

Cons

  • Differing quality.

Night Music: Nocturnes 2

Night Music: Nocturnes Volume 2

Another collection of short stories, Nocturnes 2 features chilling adventures and brushes with the supernatural (plus more Charlie Parker).

Pros

  • A diverse collection of stories.

Cons

  • Some stories are skippable.

Final Thoughts

If you want to enter the world of John Connolly, then you have to be prepared for Charlie Parker.

Parker is the star of most of Connolly’s writing, an anti-hero detective with a dark past, dark present, and, let’s be honest, probably a dark future.

It’s best to read the Charlie Parker series from the start.

Past plots influence new releases, and the growing cast of characters becomes more richly developed with each book.

You can try dipping in and out but be prepared for confusing passages.

When you’re looking for something a little lighter to offset your time with Parker, try Connolly’s Samuel Johnson series.

For young adult readers, it follows Samuel as he finds himself awkwardly embroiled with the creatures from hell.

It’s typically gruesome, as you’d expect from John Connolly, but also delightfully funny.

The best way to approach nearly all of Connolly’s work is chronologically, but he also has some standalone books. If you want a quick taste of Connolly, check out his novellas!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need To Read The Charlie Parker Series In Order?

The best way to read the Charlie Parker series by John Connolly is in release order, as earlier plots inform later events.

Do You Need To Read The Samuel Johnson Series In Order?

The Samuel Johnson series is best read in order, but the books are still fun on their own.

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Anna Davis