Oh, mid 90s, how quaint you seem in this book published in 96 with your dial up internet connections, faxes, pagers, landline phones, and new fangled digital cameras Perhaps the thing dating this the most is the idea that The Rocky Mountain News editors biggest concern is that they ll get scooped by another newspaper in the fast paced world of print journalism, and not that their entire industry will collapse and they ll be out of business by 2009 Of course, if all their reporters acted like Jack McEvoy, it s no wonder they went broke Jack s twin brother was a cop who apparently shot himself, but when Jack decides to exploit his tragic death by writing a story about police suicides, the research indicates that a serial killer has been stalking cops across the country and making it look like they killed themselves Soon Jack has blackmailed his way onto an FBI task force chasing the killer by ruthlessly threatening to expose the hunt and maybe spooking the guy, but letting his brother s murderer potentially go free is a small price to pay to get a really righteous scoop He runs up a huge expense account bill by tagging along as the FBI tracks the killer across the country, and he never really does give the Denver paper the juicy exclusives they re expecting So it seems like the old Rocky Mountain News had some pretty sloppy business practices going on when it came to covering stories.You can probably tell that I wasn t overly fond of Jack as a character I found him self absorbed and incredibly stupid at times It s too bad, because this was a better than average serial killer story with new take on the premise and lots of good twists and turns to keep it interesting If I would have found Jacksympathetic, I probably would have liked it . Wow, from the opening line Death is my beat. to the chilling conclusion, this haunting tale grabs you by the scuff of your neck and never lets go Meet Jack McEvoy a reporter who makes his way covering murder stories Little does he know that the next story he will write involves the death of his own brother, an apparent suicide Jack has a difficult time accepting that his brother Sean, a homicide detective, would take his own life, further still he does not understand his brother s last words, written by his hand just before death Out of space Out of time He begins to investigate the possible meaning in that message and in the process uncovers other deaths and other quotes, left by a suicidal hand It would seem that other detectives also quoted Edgar Allan Poe in their final dying moments As Jack s investigation continues it becomes clear that he is on the path of a serial killer of unprecedented savagery Onthan one occasion as I followed Jack on his hunt for the killer I was sure I had it figured out Not This one keeps you guessing, delivering unexpected twists and turns as you navigate the final chapters, most likely white knuckling each page at break neck speed A haunting and irresistable thriller Jack McEvoy is a newspaper reporter in Denver When his twin brother, Sean, a homicide detective, is found dead in his car by what s ruled a self inflicted gunshot, Jack decides he wants to write his story But, thehe probes, his suspicions grow about it possibly being a murder As he continues his research, Jack lands himself into an FBI investigation that points to a diabolical serial killer While this case is referenced in early Harry Bosch stories, Harry doesn t make an appearance here But, it s important to get the background on the case origins before Harry does get involved so that s why it is part of the Harry Bosch Universe Now, regarding the story This one is really different because Jack s a reporter, not a detective or private investigator so he doesn t have cop instincts I had to check myself on occasion when Jack didn t react the way I thought he should have, like a cop That s a tribute to Connelly because I think he got it right as a journalist In addition to Jack s first person narrative, we also get the voice of the suspect, which was pretty awful due to the subject matter but quite essential to the story I enjoyed this twisting and turning, around the bend and back case I must admit to being a bit shocked at the ending, even though I had growing suspicions The narrator was fine but I associate Buck Schirner with the Monkeewrench series so that was a distraction And, he sounds older than Jack Otherwise, it was a very interesting story with lots of tangents. I really liked this book It has a strong beginning and a lot of credible characters What I liked most was the fact that it seemed to end on page 450 I thought Ok, not a bad solution, but a bit obvious But then I noticed there were still 100 pages to go Finally I realized the end was not the end, but only a fake end, and then the real story was about to begin Very strong and surprising until the very last page. 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 Some things are better left unsaid, so the saying goes.I personally disagree with that sentiment While very few topics are considered taboo any, a few cultural taboos still linger subjects upon which many writers still fear to tread due to its general unpleasantness Cancer used to be taboo So did adultery and homosexuality Taboos succeed in creating an atmosphere in which feelings never get expressed and problems never get solved Taboos generally make things worse.Pedophilia is, in some ways, still a taboo subject It s probably taboo for a good reason, as the word itself is cringe worthy It stops conversations dead, makes everyone feel uncomfortable, and brings to mind nothing but disturbing thoughts and images It s understandable why pedophilia is a taboo subject, but it s also important to note that it s an issue that needs to be addressed Keeping quiet and turning a blind eye is what got the Catholic church in trouble regarding this issue, so it s not an issue that can simply be swept under the rug any Of course, tactfulness and discretion is always in order.Outside of memoirs and other nonfiction, pedophilia is not an issue many fiction writers are willing to tackle The few writers willing to confront the subject matter often find ways of doing it subtly bringing it up without actually having to bring it up Those few writers who don t tiptoe around the subject are often accused of being too in your face or graphic It s a tough subject to deal with in writing.Michael Connelly, in his riveting but disturbing novel The Poet , attempts to write about pedophilia without walking on eggshells It s graphic and horrifying and makes the reader naturally uncomfortable, which are the book s strengths AND weaknesses I consider The Poet a successful failure of a novel To explain Connelly uses the subject matter of pedophilia to create a taut, edge of the seat crime thriller, something which he succeeds in doing He also succeeds in creating a thoroughly unpleasant read, precisely because of the subject matter The Poet is an excellent thriller, but it is not a fun read.Of course, I may be coming at this reading with a unique perspective, one that I did not have a year ago Indeed, if I had read this book a year ago, i m sure that may appreciation for this book would have been much different What s changed Well, for one, I m now a father.Prior to having a child, I never fully appreciated or understood how truly life changing it was to become a parent, nor how completely in love one person can be with another In my child s face I see a perfect genetic blend of my wife and me I see my past and my future, and I see a hope for the human race I also now understand the intense feelings of protectiveness that inherently comes with parenthood I would do anything to shelter and protect my little girl from the evils of the world.Pedophiles are the natural enemies of parents They are a parent s polar opposites Whereas parents want to nurture and see grow, pedophiles want to defile and destroy Whereas parents want to keep pure, pedophiles want to sully and contaminate.Prior to having my child, I was, perhaps, somewhat of a bleeding heart liberal and a Christian in my views toward pedophiles maybe they CAN be rehabilitated and cured of their sickness, and it is the judicial system s and the church s duty to try Pedophiles aren t monsters, after all They are still human beings, albeit flawed, and, most likely, victims themselves.Nowadays, to that I say Bullshit.Pedophiles are evil and incomprehensibly so Whatever possesses a human being to do something so ugly and inhuman to a child is beyond comprehension and beyond my sympathetic and empathetic capabilities I don t care if they were victims themselves I no longer care or believe that they can be rehabilitated, because I would never allow a known pedophile rehabilitated or otherwise anywhere near my child And, despite my Judeo Christian upbringing and belief in tolerance and nonviolence, I would have no hesitation or guilt in defending my daughter, even if it includes killing a pedophile It frightens me to say that, but it is true.In The Poet , one of Connelly s characters, a seasoned FBI agent named Rachel Walling, expresses similar views to the protagonist, Jack McEvoy He and the reader are, I suppose, expected to feel shocked and appalled by her statement She is, after all, an agent of the Law She is beholden to upholding the Law and supporting the basic moral tenet that murder is wrong and unforgivable, and yet she admits to having no problems wanting to put a bullet in the brains of a pedophile I found myself surprised to feel no shock or disgust at what she was saying I whole heartedly agreed with her.There is a certain genius in Connelly s writing talent that one is never sure how one is supposed to feel about anything in the book There is no manipulation of emotions He leaves it up to us, the readers, to bring our own sense of morality to the reading.Take the protagonist, Jack McEvoy, for example He is a Denver journalist who, after the very controversial and publicized suicide of his older brother the lead homicide detective of an investigation into the brutal murder of a young schoolteacher , stumbles upon evidence that the police originally missed that confirms that his brother s suicide was actually a murder McEvoy quickly doesresearch that reveals a serial killer s trail across the country.While his investigative skills carry the investigation, the reader is never fully convinced that he is doing it for the right reasons Is he doing all this to avenge his brother, or is he simply hoping to find that Big Story, the one that may finally get him a Pullitzer Prize and a higher paying job as a staff reporter for a newspaper like the Chicago Tribune or the Los Angeles Times At times, McAvoy seems like a good guy, just trying to clear his brother s reputation At other times, he looks like a self aggrandizing asshole Connelly refrains from making any editorial judgment.The killer himself is an interesting character study in duality At once perverted and vicious, the killer s life is gradually revealed in bits and pieces that are meant to help us understand, if not necessarily sympathize, with why he does what he does From an objective standpoint, the killer s life is a sad one, and he appears like almost all pedophiles to have been a victim of gross sexual abuse as a child himself.From a subjective standpoint, I didn t give a shit I hated him, and my hatred made me uncomfortable It is not a side of myself that I liked seeing Sadly, this discomfort carried over to the rest of the novel, tainting what I would have otherwise considered an excellent thriller Through no fault of Connelly s.I respect Connelly for not walking on eggshells and for telling it like it is I admire the fact that he was not afraid to be graphic when necessary because turning a blind eye to this kind of inhumanity is, in my opinion, just as dangerous as those who perpetrate this type of inhumanity While some things may very well be better left unsaid, continued physical and sexual abuse of children should never be one of those things that are swept under the rug or dismissed or simply ignored because it s too uncomfortable a subject matter. Loved this one and now starting on the second Hope it is as good Great story great characters. Wow, what a book Excellent story, great attention to detail and fantastic characters Connelly has confirmed himself in my mind as the best in the game Everyone else pales in comparison. This is less of a review than it is a sort of caveat to my rating the caveat being that I listened to this book I don t know if there are multiple audio versions of The Poet out there, or if they just love to re copyright things every few years, but the 1996 audible edition felt like it undermined the story s natural suspense Don t get me wrong, Michael Connelly s brand of mystery thriller writing isn t exactly subtle, but echo chamber effects made moments of tension feel downright hokey.That being said, the many twists and turns made it a worthwhile experience and I definitely still trust Richard s recommendations Jack McEvoy s role as a reporter makes him into a different sort of leading man McEvoy is a storyteller by trade, so it feels natural that his narrative voice frames the tension so well Most homicides are little murders That s what we call them in the newspaper business Their effect on others is limited, their grasp on the imagination is short lived They get a few paragraph on the inside pages Buried in the paper the way victims are buried in the ground Theresa Lofton s was no little murder It was a magnet that pulled at reporters from across the country Theresa Lofton was the girl in two pieces There were moments at which I had to make a concerted effort to suspend disbelief, but in the end, it was an enjoyable read, just not a recommended listen. I take full responsibility for goingoff pisteby listening to the audio version. I received a recommendation from a Goodreads member to read The Poet by Michael Connelly I am so glad I listened to their recommendation.This was an amazing novelthe best I have ever read by this talented author.Jack McEvoy was a reporter for the Rocky newspaper, who wrote about murder stories Death was his Beat Sean,his twin brother,a veteran Denver Police detective was in charge into the slaying of a University student, Theresa Lofton, found dead of an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound.Sean McEvoy was found in his unmarked caran apparent suicide There was a note written on the windshield that said, Out of Space Out of Time But both Jack and Sean s wife, Riley, didn t believe that he would commit suicide.It didn t add up Then Jack decides to dig deeperand find out what really happened to his brother He joins forces with the FBI to solve the mystery.The FBI began a manhunt for a serial killer who had claimed as many as seven homicide detectives as his victory.He was named The Poet because he left notes containing lines of poetry from the work of Edgar Allan Poe, at each murder scene, disguising the deaths as suicides This was an amazing psychological thriller, a serial killer on the looseIt was so well written, and I was glued to the book from the beginning.If you enjoy reading mystery suspense thrillers with a twistget this book You won t be disappointed.