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
Michael Connelly is a master. Connelly started out as a writer for a newspaper so it makes sense he would have a story about a reporter. I really like how he switched the point of view between Jack McEvoy (the reporter) and a creepy pedophile/murderer. At first there seems to be no connection in the storyline, but eventually it becomes apparant that these two are destined to clash. When I realized how early the book was was climaxing I was happy that my radar for the bad guy seemed to be intact. I was wrong.
Isn't it fun to read 20 year old books? People having to find pay phones, dial-up internet connections and no cell phone tracking.
How can the characters in this year's True Detective be worse? Ferrill is asexual, drunk, corrupt, a child abuser and worse!
This story revolves around reporter Jack McEvoy and FBI agent Rachel Walling. While I read all of Connelly in order years ago, I actually listened to the sequel of The Poet, the Harry Bosch novel The Narrows, first. Even though I knew who the villain was this was a riveting story.
You don't have to listen to many of Connelly's novel in order, but it's essential to read the Poet first if you want maximum shock value.
A great audio experience...
If you haven't read any books by Michael Connelly, this one is sure to get you hooked. Mr. Connelly can develop a story with plot twists that can surprise you until the very end. Buck Schirner's reading was very well done. I found it hard to stop listening when I had to.
Evelyn J Sickler
I wondered how long it would be before I felt a book was so good that I would give the coveted five star's, and I found it in this one. I have listened or read most all of Michael Connelly novels and have never been disappointed but this one was by far the best, I did not think any Connelly book without Harry Bosch could be a complete winner, but it was. It walked a perfect line of suspense and twists, I did figure out who the real "bad guy" was about half way though but was never really sure until the very end. Don't pass this one up!
Another Michael Connelly blockbuster, with the requisite drama, tension, twists and turns. This guy never puts a foot wrong. An excellent airport thriller. Narration by Buck Schirner was particularly good, with effective voice variations. This was the first time I have heard him, and I will definitely be looking for more of his work. Production quality was likewise first class.
I liked it, I purchased it, but probably wouldn't listen again unless I'm out of new (to me) books. I'd restart the Bosch series if I couldn't read new books and then move back through to this one I suppose.
definitely Jack is my favorite character. I liked him from other books and loved reading about his background and what brought him to L.A.
I've never come across Buck Schirner as a narrator. I didn't mind his British pronunciations of certain words such as pedophile but I email and speak with Brits on a daily basis and often misspell American English now, myself, so it just doesn't bother me in general. I did see that some people minded his English pronunciations but his lack of the accent to go with it. I didn't even pick up on the pronunciations until I read it in the reviews after listening to the book. I think he did great. I like to just not notice the voice so I can focus on the story and I was able to, so well done.
My only additional comment would be just a suggestion. I wouldn't suggest one read this as an introduction to Connelly but I say this after having read his entire Harry Bosch series and Michael Haller series and I'm just trying to read everything he's written now. So from the standpoint of a huge fan, it was a good book for me. I probably wouldn't have gotten addicted to Connelly as an author if I'd started with this book. My first one was The Drop and then I went back adn started from the first Bosch book and went from there. That's all really. I liked getting to read about Rachel before he wrote about her in books I've already read. I believe I heard the narrator say this one was published in 1996 or so... so this was written earlier than most of what I have read from him. It was cool reading about the FBI guy in these early years that in the later books he's referenced.
Love the book. The story is full of twists and unfolds dramatically, there is no gaps, I had all the answers. Read a lot of negative critigue about the narrator, but I had no problems with a deep narrator's voice here, this is a matter of preference.
May you build a ladder to the stars, and climb on every rung... May your heart always be joyful, and your song always be sung.- RA Zimmerman
I hate knowing I would have enjoyed this book, but for the narrator.
Or, as the narrator would say,
'Twould have been good; 'twas not I but the reader. 'Twas a good story read by a narrator with the audible emotion of a canned yam. 'Twould have been much better 'fth Mr. NarratorMan recognized the "i" nth words "if," "in" and especially "it." 'Twould have been a good one ndeed.
For the Connelly fans, this book is a little different. Missing are his two great characters, Detective Harry Bosch and Attorney Mickey Haller. Not missing is Connelly's ability to tell a story that holds the reader's attention. The Poet, whose villain reappears in one of the Harry Bosch books, has two main characters, Reporter Jack McElvoy and FBI Agent Rachel Waller. Their adventures are worth the read and as is usually the case with Connelly characters, they have enough warts to make you appreciate the good parts. The story has enough twists and turns and clues and red herrings for anyone who likes this genre. Connelly fans will miss Harry Bosch and non-Conelly fans will want to try more.
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.
"EXCITING AND CLEVER"
A really good book, and one of the more exciting I have heard.
Well read and voiced, well paced, really a good example of an audiobook.
Interesting story though creepy. Serial killers and peadophiles make a toxic mix but it is easier to take because the main premise seems so over the top. The reader does a good job of conveying the separate characters and their emotions.
Another good value audio book from Michael Connelly. I have only recently discovered Michael Connolly books and to date I have been pleased with them all. The pace and excitement of his books leave you waiting for more. I do look at the length of time the book so as to get value for my money.
If you have not read any of Connelly's book this is a good one to start with.
"Michael Connelly never disappoints"
Another cracking story from Michael Connelly which kept me listening even whilst shopping in the supermarket which meant I forgot most of the things I went in for! Narration was excellent too and added to the plot well.
Typical Connelly book keeps you guessing until the last minute, I have to say the narration is superb. I think a follow up to that story could have been justified. I have always considered him to be one of the best, watch that space I always say. Thoroughly reccomended.
"An excellent listen"
The first of a new character, Jack McEvoy, but the same superbly crafted Michael Connelly novel! I've got the Mickey Haller audibles available already and decided to take a punt on this and it's so good I've downloaded the scarecrow.
Harry Bosch series next!!!!
"A must if you are into the Harry Bosch series"
This is a fantastic stand alone story. However, it is best enjoyed as a chronological part of the Harry Bosh series from the same author. My suggestion is to work your way through Michael Connelly's books by year of release not by the different character lists. Many of the characters appear in each others books and it is great to reacquaint yourself with characters you remember from previous stories. This book is by any comparison, one of the best of its genre.
I'm a fan of Michael Connelly, and read this book when it first came out, however, I found for me, that it hadn't stood the test of time. Much of the plot depends on phone messages, not being able to get hold of people, using pagers and faxes. No mobile phones, internet a novelty and consequently I just found I got a bit bored by the plot as it felt very slow paced.
In addition there is a massive hand brake turn with the plot towards the end, where the main protagonist makes the most bizarre misreading of his girlfriends character you could possibly imagine. The plot of this book just didn't stack up for me.
"Excellent start to series"
They work better for me as I generally only get time to listen in the car.
Getting to know Jack. He's been a fringe character in several Connelly books I've read and I enjoyed finding out about him. You can have the best plot but without good characters it will always fall flat.
I did laugh in a few places. Characters were generally believable and in most cases compelling with the feeling that you really want to know what happens.
Looking forward to the next book in the series with Jack as the main character.
"A good thriller"
If it's written by Michael Connelly then you know you have a good read. This is a good thriller - this time from the point of view of the journalist. There is a lot of detail but it is a good story with a couple of twists at the end. Narrator not my favourite but good.
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