After hearing raves about this author up and down the Kintyre peninsula (albeit from Bob and Bill rather than multiple independent sources), I had to give it a spin. I didn't know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised by the local small-town Maine details -- even though the author was born in Dublin and apparently lives there today. It turns out there were both genre and personal reasons for the New England setting. Mr Connolly explains on his web site how he became familiar with the area:
I had worked in Maine for a time while a student, and returned there after I left college. ... I began writing [my first novel] in about 1993, mainly as an escape from journalism. I told nobody that I was writing it.... I would use the money I earned as a freelance to fund the research, going over to the US for as long as I could afford, then returning home and writing up what I had found. ... I went back to the US in the summer of 1997, maxed out my credit card, left my bills unpaid, and the finished novel was eventually sold in 1998. I couldn't believe it. I still can't.
The main characters were well-drawn and the story well-plotted. Nonetheless, there were a few passages in the book that struck me as a bit pedantic (the author clearly did his research on abusers, and it shows). Still not entirely sure what to make of the "hollow men" -- there are hints at some points in the novel that they are essentially the projections of troubled minds ... and yet they are also "real" in the sense that multiple susceptible people can experience or be aware of them simultaneously in the same way.
It appears that there are at least 8 novels in the Charlie Parker series (not including the novella contained in his Nocturne anthology), and I started with #6. Not sure which one to read next!