In ‘The Poet’ Michael Connelly has taken a break from his Harry Bosch series and introduced us to reporter Jack McEvoy who also appears in a number of other later books.
Jack McEvoy is a reporter for a Denver newspaper working on the crime beat. His twin brother Sean is a Denver homicide detective.
When Sean commits suicide while leading the investigation on a grisly unsolvable murder, Jack decides that the best way to work through his feelings is to write a report about his brother’s death and cop suicides in general (bad luck about the feelings of his parents and Sean’s wife).
But when Jack starts to investigate police suicides he finds others that are extremely similar to his brother’s – a homicide detective, working on a grisly unsolvable murder and leaving a bizarre suicide message. The messages turn out to be quotes from Edgar Alan Poe and Jack is soon able to prove that Sean’s death and a number of others were in fact murder.
With the murders occurring across the country, the FBI quickly takes over the investigation. Jack somehow manages to get himself on the inside of the FBI team in exchange for not publishing the story and scarring the killer into hiding.
Jack also rapidly falls for FBI Agent Rachel Walling who is leading the investigation.
Clues lead the team to the serial paedophile William Gladden. The novel is interspersed with chapters from Gladden as he evades capture and plans his next killing.
The one question that Jack wants answered by Gladden is – why?
This was a very intense novel as the FBI team work together (not always effectively) to track the serial killer of homicide detectives.
There was also a lot of tension between Jack and Rachel as they begin a rocky and completely unprofessional relationship.
There was some fairly stereotypical typecasting of the FBI Agents, but some of the work they did seemed pretty realistic.
I had to turn a blind eye to some of the outdated technology such as dial up modems and no mobile phones. But on the whole the novel was pretty good and totally riveting.
The next Michael Connelly novel is another Harry Bosch one – ‘Trunk Music’.
Book Published 1996