“Death is my beat. I make a living from it.”
IF you have a cold or flu, then Michael Connelly is a good companion. Being a bit dopey helps with the severe plot twists, not twists at all really but 90 degree corners, the dialogue is the driving force, the victims are worse off than you are and no one is fully emotionally engaged. These characters do not have much range or tone. They are one notes. It is a Trumpian view of Americana, paedophilia, chopped up bodies, bent cops, clues in cars, two bit criminals, dodgy lawyers, women who stay at home.
Jack McEvoy, murder correspondent for the Denver paper, to which, this being America, he has no shortage of choices as to what to write about each day. Until, that is, his twin brother commits suicide. I wanted to read this because logically a newspaper reporter might lend a fresh angle to crime drama. Not in this case because our Jack just becomes another virtual detecto. As I have written before part of the appeal of Connelly’s approach is the sense that you are along for the ride on someone else’s day job.
This is the style: “A hatchet face always seemed red the times I saw him. I remember he drank Jim Beam over ice. I’m always interested in what cops drink. It tells a lot about them. When they’re taking it straight like that, I always think that maybe they’ve seen too many things”. Not much punctuation, you might notice.
I am not sure I agree with the ending here, or perhaps it is a deliberate set up for another title, my deduction is different to that given on the page, or maybe I just did not believe any of the rationales and here we just ran out of pages to explain. Whatever. I feel better now. Although it is 20 years old it still feels iconic of its genre and highly topical with the football abuse scandal going on. The official follow up books are the Narrows (2004) and the The Scarecrow (2009), no point wasting some good characters on one title.