Fair warning, not that good…… **
The Poet is the best book by Connelly. Much like The Stand by King or Intensity by Koontz, it represents the time when he wrote at his best, caring more about the story than the market. The one redeeming aspect to Fair Warning is that Connelly brings back some of the characters from The Poet.
Having said that, I did expect this book to be at least half as good. I was disappointed. Within the first twenty-eight pages there was a plot flaw that told me not only was it poorly edited, but that Connelly had phoned this one in. The main character, Jack, falls into the TSTL category and was at best irritating beyond belief. The antagonist, Shrike, began as an intelligent serial killer but ended as a joke. The few bright spots were the times Rachel, from The Poet, appeared and even those were dimly lit. The ending stretched the believability factor too far.
I have read all of Connelly’s books and this was a let down. This one gets two stars.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water….. *
Having been a long time fan of Connelly, and recently disappointed with his novels, I had hopes that this new series with a female protagonist would be better. His Bosch novels are stale and the Lincoln Lawyer was good for one book. This one is a dud right out of the box.
If you have never read a police procedural/detective/crime novel or seen a TV show about any of those, you might enjoy this book. Connelly assumes the reader knows nothing about forensics and awkwardly describes things such as a bullet can be matched to a weapon by the striations left when it was fired.
Even setting the basics aside, the novel is not a thriller, nor a page turner, and was totally predictable. I love reading about strong female characters but there is nothing about Renee Ballard, the main character, that made me want to know any more about her.
There is the predictable clash with superiors, the renegade detective, the endangered detective who manages to escape her captor, and the false trail at the end to try and keep the reader guessing. None of which go beyond Crime Writing 101.
I would not have been surprised to see a second author’s name, a la James Patterson, and that Connelly had lent his name to help a new writer. For him to be the sole author means he just filled in the blanks in an old and worn out outline.
This one gets one star. I long for the Connelly that wrote novels such as The Poet, one of his finest.
Crossing over to bad writing… *
When a novel is categorized as mystery, thriller, suspense, one expects it to have at least one of the three. This novel has none of the above.
There is no mystery, as we know who the bad guys are from the beginning. There is no thriller aspect as nothing ever happens. There is no suspense, even near the end when Harry Bosch faces the culprit who is pointing a gun at him, we know how that plays out.
The writing is embarrassingly simplistic. Not as bad as see Dick run, see Jane run too, but close. Connelly writes as though his readers are not all that bright, explaining things that need no explanation.
This could just be me, but after seeing the televised version of Bosch, I could not help but wonder if this was meant to be a script for that show. It too lacks any energy and does not do justice to the Harry Bosch of the earlier books.
The only good I can say is now I am free to read other authors who still write good books, as this will be my last of Connelly.
This one gets one star and that is being kind.
Where, oh where, has the editor gone…. **
Wow! This could have been a good book. The story was good, Harry Bosch was his old self, and the character of Soto as his partner was a good fit.
Maybe I have read too many detective novels, but Connelly felt compelled to describe, in detail, every police procedure used in the book. He also gives us enough clues in the beginning to make the ending obvious. When he tries to throw us a curve, it serves only as a temporary diversion from what we knew was coming.
The worst part is that after showing us what is happening through good dialog, Connelly proceeds to repeat the point just made by telling us what was said. I had to keep taking deep breaths in order to not give up halfway through. In addition, he repeats himself several times, saying the same thing twice if not more, he repeats himself several times. It was as if he stopped writing, came back later to write some more, and had forgotten what he had already written.
So my question is, where was the editor? Not only were there typos, but any editor would have caught the repetition and had it corrected. Maybe a better question would be, what happened to the Michael Connelly that wrote great thrillers like “The Poet”?
This one, sadly, gets two stars.
Welcome Back, Michael ****
Michael Connelly is back in true form.
After being disappointed in his last book, he redeemed himself with the “Fifth Witness”. It is hard to write a court room drama and do it well, Connelly has succeeded in doing just that. With shades of a Perry Mason type story and a somewhat surprising ending this is a good read and fans of “The Lincoln Lawyer” will be pleased.
Welcome back Michael.
Bosch Is Back ****
After being disappointed in the last few books by Connelly, it is nice to see him back in his past form. He is a good story teller, I would not say suspenseful, but he weaves a good story.
Harry Bosch is one of my favorite characters to read about and “The Drop” is a good example of his mindset. My only negative comment is in the editing. It seems as authors become famous, editors get sloppy. There are several phrases that are repeated and should have been caught by an editor. But that aside, the novel reads fast and kept me intrigued, it only took me a day to read it. Connelly does leave a few threads undone, but then that just makes us anxious for the next book.
Welcome back Harry!!