Last week we read “The Poet” by Michael Connelly, a crime mystery/thriller, in book club. About a week before the meeting, one of the other club members asked if I had finished the book yet, and when I said I had only gotten in a couple chapters, he looked at me in surprise and exclaimed, “But I thought you were presenting! Cutting it kind of close, aren’t you?”
I’m actually a very fast reader, but yes, that was cutting it close for that particular novel. It’s not the sort of story that you can just breeze through. The mystery is involved, the writing has a literary flair, and there are a fair amount of characters that the reader needs to keep straight. I ended up taking a long lunch and finished the book ten minutes before the meeting.
While I felt the characters were each a bit underdeveloped, especially the main character, Jack McEvoy, (I actually felt like FBI Agent Rachel Walling was better developed and would read her story next if she had one dedicated to her – do you hear me Michael Connelly? Give Rachel her own book!) I loved the story and became an instant Connelly fan for his style of writing. I’m looking forward to diving into his Harry Bosch series, as well as reading what happens next to Jack McEvoy in “The Scarecrow”. I liked this story well enough to add it to my shelf of Mysteries I’d Recommend on Goodreads.
In preparing to be presenter, which it turned out I was not, I started looking for discussion questions. I found a starter set on Goodreads. You can check it out here:
I also found some fun trivia questions on the site:
I didn’t think the questions on Goodreads would be enough for a one-hour discussion with my club, nor did I love all the questions already available, so as I continued to read, I wrote out a few of my own. Here they are. Feel free to use them in your discussion groups.
My Favorite Quote from the Book:
“In the long run, all wrongs are righted, every minus is equalized with a plus, the columns are totaled and the totals are found correct. But that's in the long run. We must live in the short run and matters are often unjust there. The compensating for us of the universe makes all the accounts come out even, but they grind down the good as well as the wicked in the process.”
While I still very much admire the quote above, it is originally from Robert Silverberg's "Lord Valentine's Castle" (1980). Many thanks to Beaux for kindly correcting me. I've added Silverberg to my reading list.