three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
12-Sept-Oct-2004
user_rating: 
0
A-NarrowsF.B.I. agent Rachel Walling was certain Bob Backus was dead. After all, she shot him. But when she receives information leading to a stash of dead bodies in the Nevada desert, it’s clear her nemesis has returned. Backus, the F.B.I. agent turned serial killer from Connelly’s 1996 novel The Poet, returns here to match wits with Connelly’s other long time protagonist Hieronymous "Harry" Bosch. The concrete channels of the Los Angeles River referenced in the title are an apt metaphor for the flood of tension that builds to the end.
Little, Brown. 404 pages. $25.95.
ISBN: 0316155306

New York Times 4 of 5 Stars
"Mr. Connelly’s central figures are becoming more mythic than most, not only for their single-minded decency but also for the stubborn resilience they display. Even when the author waxes a shade purple about the nature of evil, his vision remains rivetingly spare." Janet Maslin

St. Petersburg Times 4 of 5 Stars
"The Narrows is a rich, highly complex story that is never difficult to follow. And despite numerous references to past Connelly books that readers of this one might or might not have read, Connelly provides just enough background to make the intricate, evolving relationships apparent without a heavy-handed retelling of every last detail." Jean Heller

Denver Post 3.5 of 5 Stars
"The Narrows contains all the finely considered elements that mark Connelly as one of the premiere voices working in contemporary crime fiction. … The conflicts and characters are strong, the plot labyrinthine, the twists logical but unexpected." Robin Vidimos

Washington Post 3 of 5 Stars
"Connelly knows his forensic evidence and his serial killers, and he is very good on crime-solving techniques and processing—both physical and mental. … The Narrows is very much a sequel, and in that respect it has a little trouble standing on its own." John Katzenbach

Boston Globe 2.5 of 5 Stars
"The plotting is simply too good. … [But it] is an OK effort that holds the reader to its melodramatic end and that, in the process, all but guarantees the return of Connelly’s protagonist, the squirrelly Harry Bosch, to the Los Angeles Police Department in future efforts." Sam Allis

Critical Summary

With a writer of Connelly’s popularity, particularly one that works with a regular cast of characters, mixed reviews are to be expected. Each successive book opens the possibility of a narrative letdown. Part of Connelly’s decision to collate a few of his most enduring characters into The Narrows was to address concerns many fans had with the ending of The Poet. Though it strikes a few critics as a risky move that doesn’t bear repeating, the general consensus is that Connelly pulls the sequel off. Some reviewers disagree about whether the back-story is ample enough for the uninitiated. But whether The Narrows is his best or his worst work, its has elements of both, and plenty of the subtle characterization and gripping storyline that fans have come to expect from Connelly.