John Connolly was born in Dublin on May 31, 1968, and raised in the city’s Realto section, a rough neighborhood plagued by drugs. His father was a rent collector and his mother a schoolteacher with an interest in writing. At her urging, he read avidly from an early age. He claimed to an interviewer that he began to write a year after he began reading and that a teacher encouraged him by paying him for each Tarzan story that he wrote. Connolly completed secondary school at the age of seventeen and took a job in the accounting department of a local government office. For three years he largely forgot about writing. At last, bored with the job, he quit and entered Dublin’s Trinity College, majoring in English. Among the subjects he studied was American crime fiction. It was his first introduction to authors who came to influence his own fiction, among them Ross Macdonald, James Lee Burke, and Ed McBain. During one summer, Connolly went to Delaware to work as a waiter. However, he did not like the location and on a whim took a bus to Maine, which entranced him. He returned to Maine during subsequent summer holidays, working there and exploring the state. After taking his bachelor’s degree, Connolly earned a master’s degree in journalism from Dublin City University.
Following graduation, Connolly worked as a freelance writer for The Irish Times, the nation’s leading daily newspaper. He specialized in feature stories, particularly about...
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