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By Michael Connelly
Little, Brown Publishing, May 2004 ($25.95)
Reviewed by Rick McMahan
Robert Backus, the FBI agent turned serial killer known as the Poet, was the "one that got away" in author Michael Connelly’s world. At the end of Connelly’s first non-series novel, THE POET, Backus is still alive. THE NARROWS marks the return of Backus and FBI agent Rachel Walling. It also marks the second novel told in first person by retired LAPD Detective Harry Bosch.
At the start of the novel, Harry is asked to look into the recent death of his friend Terry McCaleb. As Harry begins retracing McCaleb’s last months of life, he is drawn to a string of missing persons cases in Las Vegas that had McCaleb’s interest. In his personal life, Harry is shuttling back and forth from LA to Vegas to spend time with his daughter and learn about being a parent. Harry’s personal life has a rocky road with a strained relationship with his ex-wife, Eleanor Wish.
At the same time, serial killer Backus decides to announce his continued existence by leading the FBI to a body dump site in Nevada. Backus sends his message with a personal greeting to Rachel Walling. Following the investigation in THE POET, Walling was shuttled out of the Bureau’s vaunted Behavioral Sciences Department at Quantico and sent to the Badlands of the Dakotas. Now, Walling sees her chance at redemption as she is called back into the high profile case.
Michael Connelly is at the top of his game as an author. Just about the time a reader is thinking---what can happen next with Harry Bosch, the author comes up with a new twist and adventure, for example Connelly’s switch from writing in third person to letting Harry tell the story in first person. Though it’s not necessary to do so, I’d recommend, as I did, to (re)-read THE POET to have the whole tale fresh in your mind. Having said that, THE NARROWS is another excellent tale by Connelly.
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