Last seen primarily in â€œThe Poet,â€ Jack McEvoy returns in this novel which is both a mystery and a lament to the world of newspaper publishing. Itâ€™s been a lot of years since the celebrity success of his book on the poet serial killer and Jack is on the wrong side of 40. The LA Times has seen its best days and in the latest round of staff cuts has included Jack. They will give him one break which at the same time is a bit of an insult. He can leave now or he can train his replacement, Angela Cook, for the next two weeks and collect another paycheck. Beyond that his options are few and he knows not much else.
â€œDeath is my beat,â€ I whispered to myself. â€œI make my living from it. I forge my professional reputation on it.â€ ( P. 25)
In a final one finger salute to the management of the paper, he comes up with a plan. Contacted by a family member of Alonzo Wilson, who claims he didnâ€™t do the murder he was arrested for, Jack decides to write about the case. With Alonzo being sixteen, living in the projects and dealing drugs, the story of how society created a killer almost writes itself. That is until Jack realizes the kid is innocent and was used by a serial killer as a scapegoat.
Society did create a serial killer. Not the teenager, at least not yet, but someone else who can use the internet and the digital world to track victims and his hunters.
With frequent heart felt observations about the demise of newspapers, author Michal Connelly, aims a spotlight at what is happening today. Unfortunately, though a variety of suspects have been named in the drive by attack on newspapers, no one has been charged with a crime. The victims remain on life support, slipping a little each day, and the end is near.
Against that backdrop, Connelly has weaved together a good mystery using clichÃ©d pieces of the super smart computer guy who is a killer, nothing is safe online, and that a romance interrupted but meant to be can be rekindled. Each of the elements is a bit hackneyed and yet they all work together in the novel. Quickly the reader is pulled into the fictional world and despite the authorâ€™s occasional heavy handed allusion to reality in the form of references to his own writing career; the overall read is a good one.
Little, Brown And Company (Hatchette Book Group)
419 Pages (Additional 14 page preview of Bosch latestâ€”NINE DRAGONS)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple Â© 2009
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