The Narrows by Michael Connelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jacket Blurb: FBI agent Rachel
Walling finally gets the call she's dreaded for years, the one that
tells her the Poet has surfaced. She has never forgotten the serial
killer who wove lines of poetry in his hideous crimes--and apparently he
has not forgotten her.
Former LAPD detective Harry Bosch gets a
call, too--from the widow of an old friend. Her husband's death seems
natural, but his ties to the hunt for the Poet make Bosch dig deep.
Arriving at a derelict spot in the California desert where the feds are
unearthing bodies, Bosch joins forces with Rachel. Now the two are at
odds with the FBI...and squarely in the path of the Poet, who will lead
them on a wicked ride out of the heat, through the narrows of evil, and
into a darkness all his own...
Read as an audiobook.
Ironically, I had no idea The Narrows picked up where The Poet left off. A lucky chance that I read The Poet first! I will say, it would be helpful to read The Poet before The Narrows - it provides a fair amount of background material that explains the motivations and actions of our protagonists and the FBI.
Ah, the FBI. Let's start there. An ornery, contrary, and a most disagreeable group as portrayed in this book. Secretive. Self serving. Arrogant to a "T". The whole lot of them. Even with each other. Seriously, banning an agent to North Dakota for sleeping with a reporter who had full rights to be on an investigation? I found that incredibly implausible.
And the FBI's effort to maintain intense secrecy with the investigation (both internally and externally) while Bosch goes around telling his contacts that he found and identified the antagonist? Disconnect. But oo! The FBI can threaten to put Bosch in a dark little hole if he doesn't back down despite Bosch finding out more than they did! Big Scary FBI! Whatever... (rolling my eyes here).
I also didn't like the antagonism between Bosch and Elenore Wish and Bosch and Rachel Walling. Must our hero be such a disagreeable cuss that he has to argue with every woman thrown in his way? Though, to be fair, Elenore wasn't exactly a peach to be reading either. But good heaven's, Rachel was delegated to a sidekick with boobs, not the strong lead she had in The Poet.
I also had problems with the ending - in particular, the weather. The reader is told it is a rainstorm of epic proportions, yet, when certain aspects of the final chase scene are described, it's as if its a clear night. I found this disconcerting. If it's pouring out, and the characters can barely see out the car windows, how is a character going to see something sitting on top of a hill?
So, somewhere in all of these personality and weather problems, there was a plot. Bosch found, quite by accident, the location of the Poet. The FBI, in their infinite wisdom (as portrayed in books), shuts the outsider down. Bosch decides to investigate anyway. We have a big climatic conclusion.
Recommended if you've read The Poet (McEvoy #1), A Darkness More than Night (McCaleb #2), and the previous Bosch books.
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