Jerry B's Reviews > The Poet

The Poet by Michael Connelly
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's review
Jul 04, 2010

really liked it

Fine standalone police thriller -- but one too many endings!

Our book club recently introduced ourselves to Michael Connelly with his (non-Harry Bosch) great crime thriller "Void Moon", so we've been busy catching up on some of his earlier work, including this also non-series novel "The Poet". While it takes a little background work to lay out the premise, we do get hooked hard and then it's off to the races to see what happens. When Denver reporter Jack McEvoy gets the call that his twin brother Sean, a homicide detective particularly distraught over an unsolved horrible youth murder/mutilation, has committed suicide, he spends the next several weeks both doubting that conclusion and looking for perhaps other clues or similar occurrences. That Jack is a specialist in homicide reporting (a little hard to believe given the size of his newspaper) gives him access to information that would be a lot easier with a now ubiquitous internet, just a fledgling source of mostly porn at the writing of this story in 1996. At any rate, Jack discovers other cop deaths ruled suicides where some doubt existed and cryptic notes were left (as in his brother's case), and soon made enough connections to bring in the FBI and re-open several cases. The rest of the book is a race between the pedophile we readers learn is killing many of the victims and the cops and FBI agents chasing the clues at breakneck pace (as do the pages turn!), before any more policemen have to pay the ultimate price.

Our only gripe about this tremendously clever, well-written suspenseful novel (as seems to be Connelly's claim to fame) is that it has one too many endings! Like many readers have complained, a late-breaking twist (or two!) just was a little too over the top to believe, making the denouement implausible and unsatisfying. Had the editors the courage to change the last 20 pages or so, we would have a 5-star police procedural. As it is, it's still a gripping story that kept us entertained throughout a very fast-paced read; and so we're on to Michael's other early works!
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