The Poet is the prequel to the book The Narrows a Harry Bosch Novel by Michael Connelly I reviewed back in April of last year. This book centers around Jack McEvoy a crime reporter for the Rocky Mountain News Paper. Jack’s twin brother commits suicide which does not sit well for Jack, something feels out of place to him. Jack’s investigative reporter skills go into high gear which leads him to a run in with the FBI and opens a large case surrounding police suicides.
Rachel Walling who is notorious for appearing in Harry Bosch novels gets introduced in this book and becomes involved with Jack McEvoy. I remember Rachel appearing and having a large role in the Harry Bosch novel The Narrows, but it was fun as a reader and to get more background on her from her original appearance. If you like the Rachel Walling character like I do she appears in several other Michael Connelly books staring Bosch and Jack McEvoy second book The Scarecrow.
I really like how Michael Connelly takes you into the world of reporting. Michael Connelly who worked at the Los Angeles Times before a successful novel career really gets into detail about the life of a reporter. Jack McEvoy has the usual reporter stuff going on deadlines and chasing down leads but since Michael Connelly has experience with this as a former writer for a newspaper, it just looks and feels more detailed and authentic than some of the other books I have read over the years with a reporter as the main character.
The one downside to this books is it’s a bit dated since it was published in 1997. That is not the fault of the author or of the publisher in any way. It’s fun to read about Jack McEvoy looking for a phone booth to make a call. I think it’s even more, fun to read about Jack McEvoy needing his laptop and dialing into the modem bank at the newspaper and hearing the sound of the modem dialing up we all remember from the 90s.
The Poet won the 1997 Anthony Award, presented by the Mystery Writers of America and the Dilys Award, presented by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. The book was so well done that in April 2004, The Poet was reissued in paperback with an introduction by Stephen King
One thing nice about The Poet is if you read The Narrows this will really help fill in a lot of the blanks. My suggestion is if you have not read The Narrows then read The Poet first. I found this to be one of the best Michael Connelly books to date. I would give this book a definite 5 out of 5 stars so well done and one of those books you can’t put down.