The Poet, Michael Connelly. Crime Fiction
This is the story of a crime reporter Jack McEvoy, who is told his twin brother, an LA cop, has committed suicide: a bullet to the head while sitting in a parked car, the doors locked. On the inside of the foggy windscreen, written with a finger, is a quote from Edgar Allan Poe.
His fellow police officers are convinced that it is suicide. His twin brother, Jack, doesn’t believe it. He begins his own investigation, and soon finds that there has been an extraordinary number of police suicides. As Jack follows up leads, acting the detective, he finds evidence that indicates a cop killer is behind the deaths. Usually there is a suicide note found with the body, the note is a quote from Edgar Allan Poe.
The local police try to discourage Jack, they tell him to accept the facts, move on, since they are certain it was suicide and the case is closed. But as Jack McEvoy gathers evidence from different states, the FBI become involved when they discover there is a pattern to the suicide/ murders.
Jack and the FBI are now on the trail of “The Poet” who is not just a cop-killer, but a violent twisted man and a pedophile. The story moves at a good pace; it is in first person when Jack is telling the story, but slips into third person when dealing with “The Poet” whose name is Gladden. This works quite well, giving us two characters who are separated, not knowing each other, but working towards a final clash.
Gladden, is utterly disgusting, there is nothing nice about him, or what he does. Some parts of the story are rather unpleasant, as he goes about his business. But even when Gladden is picked up by the police, suspected of photographing naked children, he connects to a like-minded lawyer who rescues him. Nevertheless, it’s easy to keep reading knowing that one day Gladden is going to meet one angry crime reporter and some furious cops.
The story is fairly involved, moving to various cities: Bolder, L.A., Phoenix, Chicago, this is all to the better, giving a constant sense of action, movement, and different backgrounds. The story deals with the grief of those involved in a sympathetic and realistic manner. This is a theme of the book, letting us see deeper into the characters than most detective novels.
The descriptions, the action, the background are all top-rate. Which means the book is both interesting and exciting. You watch as Jack McEvoy slowly closes in on Gladden. But Gladden has friends, pedophile friends in a network who support each other, like an underworld club- oh there is more, but wait till you read the novel.
Yes, there is a love interest, in the form of Rachel Walling, an FBI investigator, but is she helping Jack uncover the truth, or is she protecting someone?
The story has many twists and turns, but the last twist was just too much. It came after it seemed the story was wrapped up. It was as though we were waiting for the credits to slide up, only to find there was another reel to go. Sometimes an author has to know when to stop. Still, it is a good novel.
The author of The Poet, Michael Connelly was a police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, so he knows the procedures and the methods used, there is no sense of “Oh that couldn’t happen”.
Well worth reading.
Marcus Clark, 2017-01-22