F.R.'s Reviews > The Poet

The Poet by Michael Connelly
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's review
Sep 17, 2010

liked it

This is undeniably an efficient thriller, albeit one that uses far too many huge red herrings. Thrillers are of course supposed to use red herrings to confuse and distract, but the ones in this novel stand on top of a piano, dressing in neon lights, singing “Red Herrings are here again!” Okay, they don’t give away who actually dunnit, but it’s perfectly clear that they are not the answer to the puzzle.

A journalist investigates the suicide of his brother and discovers there’s a serial killer targeting cops. One of the things I liked most about this book was the central character Jack McEvoy, mainly because it’s never clear in which direction his moral compass is pointing. His job is to get the story and if he has to step over a few people along the road then that’s all fine. It’s largely told first person so we get his point of view and his justifications, but it is notable how often other characters (family, friends, acquaintances) step out of their way to tell him about the moral stink he carries.

The rest of the characters are underdeveloped at best, while some rarely raise themselves about the level of a pencil sketch. And Connolly’s prose veers from the prosaic to the actively clunky. (Some examples: “I thought I knew evil. But I didn’t know anything”; “The real trial had already been held in my heart and the verdict was in.” But despite these flaws, this has everything you’d want and expect from an airport thriller.
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message 1: by Kemper (last edited Sep 17, 2010 09:09AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kemper Nice review. I felt pretty much the same way. The behavior of the main character and some formulaic stuff in the rest of the book took away from a pretty good story.

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