Our hero is Jack McEvoy, a Rocky Mountain News crime-beat reporter. As the story opens, Jack's twin brother, a Denver homicide detective, has just killed himself. Or so it seems. But when Jack begins to investigate the phenomenon of police suicides, a disturbing pattern emerges, and soon suspects that a serial murderer is at work - a devious cop killer who's left a coast-to-coast trail of "suicide notes" drawn from the poems of Edgar Allan Poe. It's the story of a lifetime - except that "the Poet" already seems to know that Jack is trailing him. . .
Here is definitive proof that Michael Connelly is among the best suspense novelist working today.
©2004 Michael Connelly; (P)2004 Brilliance Audio
Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.
The Poet tells one tale of an FBI search for a pedophile infanticide; which then morphs into a second story of deception and trust. In the first, one might say the good guys get their man, but not without loss of life and virtue. In the second story, the lack of blind trust in love is the genesis of the tributary tragedy. The book is a page turner as is any Michael Connelly novel. Michael Connelly does not hesitate to bring one to the edge of horror, but thankfully does it with literary panache rather than putrid descriptions. Connelly’s style is the more effective. An extra added excitement in the tale is the interlacing short references to Edgar Allan Poe’s work. Not much, but enough to give the story additional depth, found memories of prior readings of Poe’s poems and stories, and an essential carry through theme between the two tiers of stories. If one wants to be entertained, one can certainly find it in The Poet.
I started listening to Connelly from his first book written. Seems to makes sense for Connelly since he uses people and events from prior books into his future books. So far the Poet has been the best. I am still amazed that Connelly can produce one great book after another. Highly recommend. Just put the next Connelly book in my wish list.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
Connelly yes, Schirner no. Whatever problems I have with The Poet are specific to this book -- overall, I liked Connelly's writing well enough to give him another chance, especially with a more recent title, since this one is highly dated. Schirner's growling recitation and deep voice starts out sounding appropriate for a police story, but it's grating after a while.
What attracted me to the story was the serial killer's references to Edgar Allan Poe's works. As a fan of the TV show The Following, which uses the same device, I was interested in seeing a similar treatment. That part of the story works well, as does the main character's motivation in pursuing the killer after his twin brother's murder.
The main problem arises in the plotting. You always look for misdirection, for red herrings, in this type of story. You can't make them too opaque, to the point where the reader has no chance of figuring things out for his own. But this one is too transparent. First of all, with the narrative shifting to the serial killer's point of view, there is no doubt that he is committing these murders. So where's the mystery there? Finding him? The truth is, for someone who has kept himself so well hidden for so long, he is found out quite easily and quite quickly during the course of this narrative.
So clearly, there is something else going on, someone else committing some of the killings (although clearly not the serial killings). And clearly, there is one candidate, identifiable early on. So once again, where's the mystery? If I was to write this story and correct these flaws, I would have tried to find a way to make the obvious serial killer a total red herring -- i.e., have him not be the killer at all, even though it might seem that he is. Perhaps have him be someone who knows what the real serial killer is doing and gets off on shadowing him and messing with him.
Honestly, I wish someone else would have read the book. His voice is just too deep and too growly for sustained listening.
To thank the lord (or Al Gore) for the internet, along with ubiquitous cell service and smart phones. The Poet was written in 1996, when the internet was in its infancy, cell service was in its adolescence, and people were still faxing things around and going to libraries. Some reviewers criticize The Poet as being dated in this respect, but if you know it in advance, you can treat it as an historical piece -- this is the way they had to investigate crimes way back in the late 20th century. But it makes me thankful that I can look things up at the drop of a hat, like lines of poetry from Edgar Allan Poe -- this book would be one third its length today if the investigators could look up Poe on the internet instantly and could access case info electronically instead of breaking into file rooms and searching for hard copies.
The best crime novels are character driven, not plot driven. As Hitchcock always said, the McGuffin must really only be interesting to the characters, it does not have to be interesting to the readers. From that respect, The Poet works -- why I gave it three stars instead of one. Jack McEvoy is a strong protagonist with strong motivation, and the characters around him, for the most part, play good supporting roles. The serial killer is also fairly good, though perhaps, given the proliferation of serial killers in fiction and on TV and movies, he is as dated now as a fax machine. But in general, whatever redeeming qualities The Poet has lies in its strong characterization.
Yes, good cop story
Wade's "tricks" to use instead of his gun
Just an average job
The narrator got a little on my nerves. The said: "Wade said" or " Charlie said." Too loud, could have used a better, softer tone.
Yes I would recommend it to any mystery fan. It is a good read, suspensful, with many plot twists.
Its pace, characters, and surprises.
The main character.
There were many
Just when I thought the mystery had been resolved, new information changed the direction. Nice twists in this story of a journalist on the trail of his twin brother's murderer.
I don't know which actually made this such a pondering, boring book - the writing, or the reading (narration). I haven't read any Connelly books before, and I know I won't listen to any more either. I got used to the narrator fairly quickly, but he never really embodied any of the characters (sounding sometimes rather cold and mechanical) and he was best reading the exposition, not the dialogue. Still, I found the author repeated a lot of stuff that didn't really matter, but then glossed over other things as if they'd dissolve into dust if you looked to closely at this or that plot point. Not very enjoyable and I wouldn't recommend it unless you're already a big fan of Connelly.
In this case, the tale is best read from the page. The stumbling, awkward read by Mr. Schirner leaves one weighed down and worn out.
The protagonist is easy to like and an a clear favorite. He's stubborn and human and determined. The villain is hard to like, hard to support. I'm not sure if this is performance or the writing.
The performance needed a different narrator with a better feel for the pace and the suspense of the text. The individual character voices sounded contrived and forced. I suppose that he was after a halting, film noir angle, but it reminded me more of an intoxicated confession from Norm at Cheers.
Unfortunately, I am only inspired to avoid future reads by Mr. Schirner.
No. The final plot twist was forced and did not hold up logically.
It should have ended sooner. It went one suspect change too far for credibility. Sometimes, if you reach for the most unlikely suspect, that's just what it is....unlikely.
I didn't really like any of them.
I kept thinking ok, this story is just too dated I am going to stop but then would get caught up in the story again. A good listen
No but I did keep coming back to it.
In a way it felt like a classic of this type of mystery.
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