Thursday, May 27, 2004

Michael Connelly, author of the brilliant Harry Bosch series, sends his detective into The Narrows (Little, Brown, $25.95) on a mission to track down the serial killer who calls himself "The Poet" (and who appeared in Connelly's earlier book of the same name).

Following on a series of extraordinary, powerful mysteries featuring Bosch, The Narrows changes things up with its emphasis on thrills and suspense, rather than mystery and police procedure.

Connelly is such a master of his craft that his story shifts between multiple, connecting perspectives so smoothly that most readers will hardly even notice. They will be swept away by the story, just as the story's hero is by one of the city's aqueducts (the "narrows" of the book's title).

In some ways, The Narrows is like a "greatest hits" volume for Connelly, as it brings back several of the faces who appeared in his earlier works. Because of that, it will probably appeal most to fans that have already read those books.

Even a reader who is coming to Connelly for the first time, though, will still find a lot to enjoy here.

The Narrows is crime fiction at its best.