Hodder & Stoughton, £14.99

Private investigator Charlie Parker again teams up with dodgy friends Louis and Angel for John Connolly's latest novel, 'The Black Angel'.

The epic fight against evil begins when Louis' cousin, Alice, goes missing from the streets of New York where she has been working as a prostitute.

Entrusted with keeping an eye on his wayward cousin, who also battled a heroin addiction, Louis is devastated when he finds out how she spent her final hours and guilt spurs him on to exact revenge on her killers.

With Parker calling in favours from old colleagues at NYPD, the trio piece the sequence of events together and stumble across an evil cult hell bent on releasing the ultimate evil, the black angel, which has remained hidden in Eastern Europe for centuries.

Parker, Louis and Angel chart a dangerous path ultimately leading them to the Sedlec Monastery, an ornate church of bones, in Czechoslovakia.

Leaving behind his girlfriend, Rachel, and new baby daughter, Sam, to follow the case, Parker not only finds his life constantly under threat, but also his way of life. Having already lost his wife and first-born daughter, is his current relationship strong enough to withstand the dangers of his chosen career?

Dubliner Connolly constructs a complex and gripping read in 'The Black Angel', with the significance of seemingly unrelated vignettes becoming apparent as the book unfolds. Although a work of fiction, much of the historical detail is true (The church of bones exists in Sedlec). Fast paced and well written, 'The Black Angel' is perhaps Connolly's most unsettling novel yet.

Joanne Ahern