"The Poet", by Michael Connelly

The Poet - Michael Connelly

Book #1 in the Jack McEvoy series

Not surprising Mr. Connelly is a bestselling author. “The Poet” is an intense and captivating mystery of a reporter’s single-minded pursuit of the serial killer who murdered his twin. This was his first departure from his crime novels featuring Harry Bosch, we all came to know very well. This novel was published in 1996 and won the Anthony Award and the Dilys Award the following year. Why did I take so long to read it? (Too many books on my TBR list).

The story is told mainly in the first person narrative from the perspective of reporter Jack McEvoy and his nemesis the mysterious character named “Eidolon”, Mr. Connelly switches to the third person when the story is told from the view point of Gladden, the pedophile. The transition from one character to the other is professionally done and very smooth. I really like how Michael Connelly takes us into the world of reporting. His experience as a former writer for a newspaper makes the reporter stuff such as deadlines and chasing down leads sound so authentic. Being written a long time ago makes some of the technology outdated but if you were around then you will definitely remember the phone booth, the sound of a modem dialing…a bit of nostalgia…does no harm…

Of course death is at the heart of this novel. A serial killer is at large, his target: homicide cops and the killer’s calling card is a quotation from the woks of Edgar Poe. When Jack decides that the best way to exorcise his grief is by writing a feature on police suicides he soon finds himself involved in an FBI investigation of a serial killer referred to as the Poet….Jack meets Rachael Walling, the lead investigator.

This is a page-turner I had a hard time to put down so captivated I was to see how Jack would manage to pull through the intricate web of conspiracy he found himself in. The mystery has great characterization, a plot line that moves along at a steady pace, rich and colourful narration and strong dialogue. No wonder this was and still is a winner.