The Poet is a crime novel written by Michael Connelly and was first published in 1996. In this novel, Connelly introduces readers to crime reporter Jack McEvoy. The novel starts off with McEvoy learning of the suicide of his twin brother, who was a homicide detective in Denver. Once he gets past the shock of his brother’s unexpected demise, McEvoy’s skepticism leads him to some questions. He learns of a line of poetry written by his brother. He also finds out about a rash of suicides among police detectives throughout the country where a piece of Edgar Allen Poe’s works are left behind. McEvoy manages to encourage the FBI to begin an investigation and finagles his way into the hunt as well since he understandably wants to have first crack at the story. Of course, there are many surprising revelations that brings McEvoy closer to one of the most devious killers he has even written about.
So this is pretty early in Connelly’s novel writing career, however his talent is quite evident even if the plot does seem rather outlandish. Connelly does have a pretty striking opening line. “Death is my beat,” declares McEvoy, which seems a little overdramatic, but it succeeds in sparking the imagination.
I don’t find McEvoy to be as compelling as Harry Bosch or Mickey Haller, Connelly’s more used protagonists, however this still managed to keep me intrigued enough to stick it out to the end. I try to finish any book I start regardless of how exasperated I get, but I still enjoyed this one reasonably well. Even if this one strained my suspension of disbelief a bit, it didn’t fall apart entirely. I would still consider this a worthy bit of leisure reading and does not shake my overall appreciation of Michael Connelly’s contribution to the crime fiction universe.
And so I move on to another effort to increase my exposure to more classical or acclaimed literature. My next indulgence has a bit of a notorious reputation, but it was a gift from a friend and something that I have been meaning to read anyway. Time to delve into The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.