Monday, May 23, 2005

The Poet

As expected, I finished reading Michael Connelly's THE POET last night, but it was too late for me to write about it coherently. So I'll make my comments today. I liked this novel quite a bit (even though I think the Harry Bosch books are better). As I mentioned, I don't like it when an author switches from first to third person, but Connelly doesn't overdo the technique and it serves a legitimate purpose in this book. The things I enjoy about Connelly's work are the stripped-down yet lyrical prose and the way he handles the complex plots. Nobody I can think of these days is better at peeling back the layers of a story one by one. As for the infamous ending of this book . . . well, I had the killer's identity pegged all along (although there's no way to prove that, of course), so it didn't come from too far out in left field as far as I'm concerned. I've figured out the killer's identity in five out of the six Connelly books I've read so far. That doesn't make me like them any less. I think it's just a matter of reading several of them pretty close together, which gave me a good handle on how he sets up the plot and the pacing of his books. I'm sure he'll surprise me as I continue reading his work, which I'll definitely do.

After finishing THE POET, I started another William Colt MacDonald Western, but I didn't care for this one so it's going back on the shelf for now. Maybe another time it'll appeal more to me. I moved on to PRODIGAL OF DEATH, a collection of pulp Western stories by the always entertaining T.T. Flynn and as usual I'm enjoying his work.

On the writing front, I turned out 12 pages yesterday and 14 today, so it's coming along pretty well.


Juri said...

I interviewed Connelly a year back (a nice guy!) and he said that he doesn't make any outlines for his plots. I'll just revise, he said. It's quite amazing.

Unknown said...

So my question is, why does the switch from first to third person bother you? Is it because it's a trick used to keep the ending a secret, or it it because you think it's just bad technique?

James Reasoner said...


It is amazing that Connelly doesn't outline, considering how complicated his plots are. I could never keep up with all those details.


I'm not sure why the switch bothers me, but I've noticed that it bothers me less in books by good writers, as opposed to books by, say, James Patterson. (Yep, cheap shot.)