I am a lover of the vignette, the anecdote, the ability of the raconteur, that’s why I enjoy the company of writers. They often have interesting stories to tell; stories that promote thinking, provoke thought and examine the absurdity of existence.

I sent the author John Connolly an e-mail letter of thanks for the sheer pleasure that I am experiencing listening to Audible’s unabridged edition of  Connolly’s latest novel, he.

he is a heavily researched fictionalization of the thoughts of an elderly Stan Laurel as he replays his life, alone in his apartment, overlooking the California coast. In a word, the book is remarkable. The short chapters, the lyrical prose, the surreal tales, the amusing anecdotes, the insights, the tragedy, tales of the misfits who found themselves in Hollywood as the motion picture industry commenced is sheer brilliance. Add in all the weirdness, the cruelty, the horrors that unspool to the soundtrack of Laurel and Hardy, and the laughter we shared.

But hidden behind the facade, the artifices that were created as the acetate film stock was sent to cinemas around the world was a creepy horror, as well as some terrible as well as tragic events. They say that horror and humour are like the yin and yang of our reality, and the proof is in this remarkable narrative.

I have rarely experienced a novel as enjoyable and thought provoking as He by John Connolly. Miss this at your peril. ◊

Here’s more information from John Parker at Shots Magazine. And here’s a short clip as well as my 2003 January Magazine interview with Connolly.


Ali Karim is the assistant editor of Shots Magazine and is a contributing editor to January Magazine. He writes and reviews for many US Magazines and was awarded the 2011 David Thompson Memorial Award for Special Services to the Crime and Thriller Genre and in 2013 awarded the Don Sandstrom Lifetime achievement award for services to Crime and Mystery Fandom. Ali contributed to Dissecting Hannibal Lecter edited by Benjamin Szumskyj; The Greenwood Encyclopaedia of British Crime Fiction, edited by Barry Forshaw and ITW’s 100 Thriller Novels, edited by David Morrell and Hank Hagner.


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