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Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Poet by Michael Connelly (Jack McEvoy #1)

The Poet (Jack McEvoy, #1)The Poet by Michael Connelly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  Denver crime-beat reporter Jack McEvoy specializes in violent death. So when his homicide detective brother kills himself, McEvoy copes in the only way he knows how--he decides to write the story. But his research leads him to suspect a serial killer is at work--a devious murderer who's killing cops and leaving a trail of poetic clues. It's the news story of a lifetime, if he can get the story without losing his life.

"Read" as an audiobook and I really enjoyed this narrator. Wonderful voice, great intonation, good job at distinguishing characters through voice.

Premise of the book is reporter Jack McEvoy starts investigating the death of his twin, a cop who to all outward appearances committed suicide.  Jack discovers otherwise and in the course of his research and interviews, attracts the attention of the FBI.  Soon it's revealed that they are looking for someone who has quietly killed upwards of seven cops over a decade or more.  The trail leads from Denver, to Chicago, Washington DC, Florida, Phoenix and eventually Los Angeles.

This story had a similar feel to John Sandford's Davenport series, where not infrequently we know what the antagonist - usually a very despicable person - is thinking, planning and doing.  Personally, I don't care for that writing style so I skipped over the bits with the antagonist.  I don't feel I missed anything (other than confirming he was a very despicable man).

I also found aspects of this rather predictable - the romance was a given.  Where the romance went was a bit like watching a train wreck.  I saw it coming and not much to be done about other than step back and watch it unfold. 

The culmination of events was also predictable to some degree - while I didn't know the exact way things were going to unfold during the climatic reveal, I strongly suspected.  I suspected correctly.  A bit disappointing.

What I did like about this was Jack wasn't a cop.  He's a reporter.  He does research and he writes about it.  He doesn't go in with guns blazing (he has no gun), he knows when he's being brushed aside and can use his experience as a reporter to get what he needs/wants to know. He's also not dumb - no contacting the killer and meeting them in a dark abandoned house at midnight. I really like those features in a protagonist in a mystery-thriller.  

So, ultimately, a somewhat predictable plot with an enjoyable narrator.  Recommended with some reservations (predictability).

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