The Narrows by Michael Connelly

The Narrows by Michael Connelly

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Mass market, 427 pages, 2004

Rating: 9/10

Reason for Reading: I was running low on my supply of thrillers by the authors I

usually read; time to try someone new!

Synopsis: In a previous novel (The Poet) Rachel Walling, an FBI agent shipped off to the boonies for previous bad conduct, believed a certain horrible serial killer was finished off

and done with. But now she’s been contacted by her former FBI office with the news that the

serial killer, nicknamed the Poet, has left a message for her, along with a stash of ten

Meanwhile, ex-detective Harry Bosch has been contacted by the widow of a former

friend and colleague, a woman convinced that her husband’s heart failure was actually

murder. Harry agrees to investigate, completely unaware that he’s blazing towards Rachel’s

investigation and possibly placing himself in the path of an experienced and highly intelligent serial


Why you should read this book: The Narrows moves along at a speedy clip,

through crime scenes and interrogations, frantic chases and a suspenseful climax. Unlike

other books where the criminal repeatedly gets away seemingly by dumb luck – and a need to

pad out a story – the Poet actually ends up having a good reason for being such a worth

adversary. Connelly fits in enough personal information about the characters to create a

feeling of attachment on behalf of the reader even as bodies are being checked over

for forensic evidence or a character is choosing intuition over procedure. A great way to shake

off the winter blahs and welcome in spring with a bang.

Why you should avoid this book: While some books in a series only make fleeting

mentions of the previous novels, making it easy to jump in mid-series, The Narrows

refers to The Poet rather extensively. Start with The Poet if you intend to

read it, because a thriller certainly loses some of the thrill when you know how it ends.

Like almost all books in the genre, The Narrows has its share of cheesy tough

guy/girl talk and unfortunate stabs at injecting humour into gruesome scenes. Why bother

trying to lighten the mood when you’re trying to build up suspense and fear?

Opening paragraph:

I think maybe I only know one thing in this world. One thing for sure. And that

is that the truth does not set you free. Not like I have heard it said and not like I have

said it myself the countless times I sat in small rooms and jail cells and urged ragged men

to confess their sins to me. I lied to them, tricked them. The truth does not salvage you or

make you whole again. It does not allow you to rise above the burden of lies and secrets and

wounds to the heart. The truths I have learned hold me down like chains in a dark room, an

underworld of ghosts and victims that slither around me like snakes. It is a place where the

truth is not something to look at or behold. It is the place where evil waits. Where it

blows its breath, every breath, into your mouth and nose until you cannot escape from it.

This is what I know. The only thing.

Fabulous quotes:

He walked on by the gate, careful not to be obvious about glancing at her but

curious to see how she was going to pass the time waiting for the next flight. He hooked the

strap of his large cowhide carry-on bag over his right shoulder so that if she happened to

look up, her eyes might be drawn to it instead of his face. He wasn’t worried about her

recognizing him for who he was. All the pain and the surgeries had taken care of that. But

she might recognize him from the flight from Rapid City. And he didn’t want that. He didn’t

want her to get suspicious.

‘It’s got to be a plant,’ she said.
Alpert looked at her a moment, weighing

the risk of asking her why.
‘A plant. Why do you say that, Rachel?’
‘Because I can’t

see why this guy who is burying a body in the middle of nowhere, probably in the middle of

the night, would take the time to put his shovel down, take the gum out of his mouth, wrap

it in its foil, which he had to take out of his pocket, and then drop it. I think if he’d

been chewing gum he would have just spit it out. But I don’t think he was chewing gum. I

think he picked that little wad up somewhere, brought it to the grave and dropped it in so

we would spin our wheels with it when he decided to lead us to the bodies with his GPS

She glanced around the room. She had their eyes but she could tell she was more

of a curiosity to them than a respected colleague.

Also recommended: The Bookman’s Promise by John Dunning; The Empty

Chair by Jeffery Deaver; The Sinner by Tess Gerritsen.

Also by this author: The Closers; The Black Echo; The Black Ice; The Concrete Blonde; The

Last Coyote; The Poet; Trunk Music; Blood Work; Angels Flight; Void Moon; A Darkness More

Than Night; City of Bones; Chasing the Dime; Lost Light; Crime Beat.

Author’s website:

Fun tidbit: With the release of The Narrows came a special edition dvd,

Blue Neon Night: Michael Connelly’s Los Angeles. William Peterson, who plays Grissom on the

tv show CSI, reads excerpts from Connelly’s books on the dvd.

Would I read more by this author? Yep, I’m always happy to find a new author to

break me out of a slump with a good thriller.

&#169 Lisa Yanaky 2003-2005

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