The Poet, by Michael Connelly

Jack McEvoy is a crime reporter whose brother Sean, a policeman, kills himself after being unable to solve a case of child murder. Unable to believe what's happened, Jack starts digging, and soon comes to the conclusion that Sean was murdered, and that he wasn't the only cop to "commit suicide" after investigating this type of crime.

I think Connolly used to be a crime reporter himself, and that this is a relatively early work in his canon. So far as I know it's stand-alone; it doesn't feature as part of any series (no Harry Bosch, although I'm pretty sure that A Darkness More than Night mentioned "The Poet").

One of the things I was not so keen on was that while the story was told mainly in a first-person account of McEvoy's hunt for the killer, there were occasional sections about the killer, written in the third-person. And, as in a lot of this type of fiction, these sections have talk about the delusional aspects of the killer's psyche ("I am awaiting my becoming" and stuff like that). I don't think I've ever felt this kind of thing is very interesting or convincing, so I'd rather have missed these and focused on the investigation: it would have been more powerful if you'd not felt that you had a bit of an edge on McEvoy's investigation. But as I say this is something that seems to be popular with other authors too (Val McDermid, Thomas Harris) so it's not a specific criticism of Connolly.

But it was a pretty good tale, although perhaps not as good a read as A Darkness More than Night. The pace was good enough to stop you thinking about some of the inconsistencies in the plot, although the end-game section was a bit of a disappointment.

As it happens there is a ton of Connolly books in the charity shop so I've managed to stock up.

Completed : 05-Apr-2008

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