Alone in the Dark…

12:55, 29 November 2020

The first case for Harry Bosch since relinquishing his LAPD detective’s badge a year ago and a sense that the series’ readers are being prepared for a new direction, but not yet. Even shorn of the most potent symbol of his personal mission, this story confirms the fire energizing ‘Mr’ Bosch isn’t even damped down, never mind extinguished. Indeed, retirement has provided Bosch with that most precious commodity – time and when an ex-colleague, Lawton Cross, gives him a call, Bosch is soon back on the job. 

As noted recently in “A Darkness More Than Night”, the main character is dogged in his pursuit of justice and unsolved/unresolved cases are mentally archived and copies of the investigation records retained, pending further consideration. Five years earlier, Bosch, Kiz Rider and Jerry Edgar were the first responders to the murder of a production assistant from a movie company. However, when a $2m dollar heist occurs on a film set just a few days later, the case is transferred to the Robbery Homicide Division. It galled Bosch that the young woman’s life wasn’t considered important until the money was stolen. In any event the RHD investigation went nowhere and when the two detectives involved were the victims of a bar shooting, the case was shunted onto the unsolved pile. The incident had left Lawton Cross in a wheelchair, his partner dead. 

There was also the spectre of a missing FBI agent linked to the case bringing more echoes from the past hoving into view. Special Agent Roy Lindell (also appeared in ‘Trunk Music’ and ‘Angels Flight’) knows the value of Bosch’s involvement and runs interference for him, while former prosecutor, Janis Langwiser (‘Angels Flight’ and ‘A Darkness More Than Night’) provides some heavyweight legal cover. 

Since Bosch ‘pulled the pin’ his former partner, Kiz Rider, traded a career in the RHD for the greasy pole of the Chief’s Department, angered by his decision to walk away. But, though Rider is sent to warn him off, Bosch has never been one to surrender in the face of authority and well-versed in the respective agency processes and scare tactics, he’s fleet of foot enough to duck and weave past the pitfalls devised by the LAPD and the Feds. 

Bosch’s kryptonite remains his estranged wife and former FBI agent, Eleanor Wish. Settled in Las Vegas and making a living as a professional poker player, the intimate bond between the couple remains, but neither can compromise and risk their respective vulnerability. It’s a gnawing sensation for Bosch, the loss of the light in his life and an interesting diversion for the reader from the intricate plot of the investigation. Bosch also reflects on the very different relationship between Lawton and Danielle Cross, but they are equally casualties of circumstance, their lives marred by a shared history, from which there can be no escape. Amid the familiar thrill of Bosch’s relentless pursuit of justice, in this book the author poignantly captures the sense of multiple losses weighing on the main character, but the very satisfying denouement also hints at a potential source of salvation.

The story arcs that link characters intermittently across the series continue to demonstrate a remarkable feat of storytelling, but the gradual exposure of Harry Bosch, warts and all and the ongoing description of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, through his eyes, remains compelling, even as I move inexorably towards Book 10 in the series (‘The Narrows’). 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Marooned in Venice…

12:15 29 November 2020

Book 8 in the Harry Bosch series and the enigmatic main character is once again having a bit of a time of it. When the Deputy Chief describes one of his officers as a “shit magnet”, even the broad shoulders of Detective Bosch might feel the urge to sag a little, but as we have learned in the series thus far, above all Bosch is a resilient guy. 

Just as well! After the frenetic, testosterone-steeped rutting of Harry Bosch and Terry McCaleb in “A Darkness More Than Night”, this book is, by comparison, a far more reflective, sombre affair. Notwithstanding child murder cases are the worst kind in Bosch’s view (“they hollowed you out”), this story also sees the main character beset by female colleagues and needing to wrestle emotionally with a former lover (coroner, Teresa Corazon) and former partner (Kiz Rider), current boss (Lt Grace Bilets), and a potential new romantic interest (Patrolwoman Julia Brasher). The plot also maroons Bosch outside of his comfort zone and offers the reader a glimpse of another side of the undistilled macho hero.

The book’s dramatic title was coined by an archaeologist for a mundane method of applying a grid to the crime scene. Still, the attendant challenges of addressing historic crimes are interesting and the need for a forensic anthropologist is a first for the series. The case also acknowledges (more than others) the tough miles that often underpin the investigative journey, with Bosch poring over microfiche records, sifting information, following leads.

One of the consistent elements of the series that this reader especially enjoys is the description of the locality through the eyes of Bosch. Never having been to California, the imagery evoked by the author fascinates and informs in equal measure, on this occasion introducing the reader to Venice, stateside. The running sore that is the relationship between Bosch and Deputy Chief Irving is also further irritated, but arguably the detective’s most redeeming quality is his insistence on keeping the department honest and not giving way to expedience. However, as he once more rails against departmental politics, in this episode Bosch discovers for the first time that the ‘cage’ of his job did not provide the safe haven he supposed and his allegiance to the LAPD must be evaluated anew.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“The Call of the Dark…”

11:24 PM 1 AUGUST 2020

Terry McCaleb has a new life on Catalina Island, with a house on the hill and his boat in the marina. New heart, new wife, new baby. Life is good. Yet, when an old colleague (Jaye Winston) comes calling for his skill as a former FBI profiler, McCaleb is immediately smitten by the lure of his past life and a return to the darkness.
The murder under investigation is particularly violent and gruesome. The victim, Edward Gunn, had been implicated in a murder six years earlier, but was never charged by the LAPD and the case was reluctantly dropped. The lead investigator had been Harry Bosch.

Immediately the story conjures up the potential clash of two titans of the justice system chronicled by Connelly and the author skilfully sets the scene for his most tenacious predators …”The cool air of the shark grey dawn…”.

In the courthouse, McCaleb also bumps into journalist Jack McEvoy in a passing nod to another of the author’s stable of well-known characters, but as the big beasts circle each other, it’s clear that’s where the action will be. Bosch makes no bones about his assessment of Gunn as a scumbag and retains a sense of being deprived of the opportunity to sweat the guy (due to Bosch shoving the intervening Lieutenant through his office window and getting himself suspended). But, for fans of the Bosch series, this interlinking of books and characters is fascinating and offers real depth to a pool of work that continues to deepen, though the respective novels can also stand alone. I am continuing to wade through them in published order and in this seventh novel featuring Bosch, the perspective of former agent McCaleb enables the author to really plumb the shadowy world that the two men choose to infiltrate. Still, when McCaleb identifies a tentative connection, or coincidence, potentially linking Bosch to Gunn’s murder, the two men would appear to be on a collision course. Moreover, the implied threat to Bosch’s integrity and reputation risks undermining his current murder prosecution.

The main tenet of the book is pondered by McCaleb. “You don’t go into the darkness without the darkness going into you.” and this is surely the point for the reader. McCaleb and Bosch are both hardened lawmen, perhaps even desensitised by their lengthy exposure to evil, but their mutual hankering for an almost gladiatorial lifestyle should be as much a cause for concern as a relief. Society perhaps needs such ‘soldiers’, but must also continue to demand that ‘ends’ are indeed through justifiable ‘means’.

Michael Connelly is a master of intrigue and this book is certainly thrilling, as it casts a light on two compelling characters that choose to work in the shadows.Another excellent example of why the author is among the best in his chosen genre.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bosch Drinks Deeply from the Poisoned Chalice!

10:00 AM 1 MARCH 2020

Howard Elias was a high-profile, but contentious Los Angeles lawyer, whose stock-in-trade was suing the LAPD. He only filed in the federal court and typically under the civil human rights codes, whereupon his skilled use of social media also rubbed salt into the open wound of racial tension that scarred the city. Elias was reviled by police, revered by those he represented, but when he is gunned down on ‘Angels Flight’ (a historic inclined railway and downtown landmark), the authorities are immediately fearful of a potential backlash and the possibility of a return to the violent racial riots of 1992. Realizing that many would believe the murder was perpetrated by the police and accordingly be mistrustful of their investigation, it falls to Deputy Chief Irving to hand this poisoned chalice to Detective Harry Bosch and his team. It’s a decision that carries risk. In such a politically-charged atmosphere, Bosch, Edgar and Rider know that their selection is a cynical nod to ethnic diversity, but they’re also capable investigators, with integrity and will demand that the chips fall where they may, despite attempts to stifle their efforts by the inclusion of Internal Affairs and the FBI.

Indeed, there are distractions aplenty for Bosch in this sixth book in the series, as his short-lived marriage to Eleanor Wish is in melt-down, his path is crossed once more by arch antagonist from the IAD, John ‘Sustained’ Chastain (see ‘The Black Ice’ and ‘Trunk Music’) and a succession of barriers arise, including a leak from within the department, barring his way to the truth. Readers/fans are, of course, familiar with the irreverent attitude of Bosch to the political calculations of his bosses and his resilience at being repeatedly thrown under the bus of investigations with the capacity to combust spectacularly, but he is also unerringly loyal to his team colleagues (past and present) and is always willing to take a hit for them.

In this powerful story, the plot is so much more than the obvious crime of murder and is as much about the hidden network of associates connected to the late Mr Elias and a swirl of cases,causes and effects, past and present, which continue to keep a fatal momentum of their own. In the impending ‘Black Warrior’ court case, Elias was again confidently primed to expose the depth of corrupt police behaviour and the inept nature of another flawed investigation by the LAPD. With the rhetoric of charismatic preacher Reverend Tuggins fanning the flames of a smouldering sense of injustice, in sections of the community, Bosch needs to solve the murder and prevent a potential miscarriage of justice, which could ignite the whole tinder box. Meanwhile, the book also draws into view those characters with politicized appointments tasked with fronting a system of justice that is seen to be good enough and must spin the unpalatable truth in ways that Bosch understands, yet despises.

Whilst the detective’s perspective of what’s right is laudably heroic to the reader, the body count that follows is high and I do wonder at the burden on his conscience moving forward. Still, Conelly also weaves lighter moments into his book, such as the poster advertising Clint Eastwood’s film “Blood Work” (a rather droll reference to his earlier title, wherein reality and fiction are neatly combined). In any event, I am compelled onward to “A Darkness More Than Night” (Book 7 in the series), with a real spring of 4 star satisfaction in my step.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Tarnished Gloss of Sin City and Tinseltown

12:18 PM 14 JANUARY 2020

Book 5 in the series and another case for Harry Bosch with all the twists, turns and adrenaline-inducing plunges of a parkour outing. When a body turns up in the trunk of a Rolls Royce, abandoned in the hills above L.A, it has all the hallmarks of a professional hit. Yet, when the ‘Organised Crime Intelligence Division’ (OCID) passes on an apparent ‘whack job’, though surprised, Bosch is quick to pick up the baton and start joining the dots from a film production company in Hollywood to the original sin city, out in the Nevada desert.

Bosch is newly reinstated at the homicide table, after his imposed absence and designated the lead investigator of a team with two other detectives, partner of six years Jerry Edgar and rising star Kizmin Rider. All are operating under the watchful gaze of newly-appointed Lieutenant Grace Billetts (replacement for the late Lt. ‘98’ Pounds), who comes with a reputation for being tough, enough to earn the moniker ‘Bullets’, behind her back.
One of the things I enjoy about the Bosch series is the melding of old and new and the author’s grasp of complex detail across a substantial series of novels. Characters arrive and may disappear, to re-emerge later, while even the ever-present characters in the cast may undergo changes conferred by disparate lives. For example, Medical Examiner, Dr Jesus Salazar, is now wheelchair bound following a motorbike accident; former FBI-agent, Eleanor Wish, must rebuild her life after a prison sentence handed down in ‘The Black Echo’ (Book 1); and Harry Bosch is reconstructing his home after the effects of the Northridge earthquake saw it demolished in ‘The Last Coyote’ (Book 4).

In a return to the style adopted in that last book, the author does away with chapters, instead, dissecting the book into ten ‘parts’ of varying lengths, which chunk the story into an easily digestible format. Still, Connelly has an unerring knack for also blurring the ‘goodies’ and the ‘bad uns’ and threading his plots with ethical dilemmas, to test the most pure of motivations. Even the cities take on a persona, such as when Bosch is contemplating Las Vegas “…No matter how much they tried to dress her up with neon and family entertainment, she was still a whore.” But, of course, it is within such dark recesses that the criminal underworld and therefore Harry Bosch thrives. Indeed, the theme of this particular tale might be, ‘never judge a book by its cover’. Not everyone who wears a badge can be trusted, any more than every associate of the mob can be assumed to have made poor choices. The corrupting influences of power and money are evident on both sides of the street.

As seems the norm for Bosch, he is destined to push the boundaries of procedure and thereby the patience of even those notionally on the same side. His saving grace, of course, is that he gets the job done, albeit using unusual methods and exceptional intuition and brainpower, though there was also a ‘keystone cops’ moment in this story. I was slightly wrong-footed by the ending too, perhaps because I have been conditioned to empathise with the dark clouds and lashing of rain that tends to drench Bosch’s life, but it would be curmudgeonly to deny the main character his day in the sun. Another four star rating from me and the prospect of some serious changes to Bosch’s situation in Book 6.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Wrestling with the Past

9:37 PM 11 DECEMBER 2019

Book 4 in the Harry Bosch detective series and the precision in the moving parts of this 1995 novel remind me of an exquisitely crafted watch. The mainspring is, of course, the irascible Bosch, dynamically driving the plot forward, meshing the various components into a beautifully balanced whole, testament to the skill of a master craftsman. And there is no doubt that Michael Connelly is an exceptionally gifted storyteller.


Just as “The Concrete Blonde” dissected the main character through a retrospective legal examination of his most notorious case, so there was an inevitability in Bosch’s re-visiting of the crime, which had dictated so much of his life – the murder, 35 years earlier, of his mother. Time had always predicated against such a foray into a very private investigation, however, the ‘involuntary stress leave’ conferred on Bosch, following his assault of a superior officer, provides the opportunity. Moreover, the recent terminal, tectonic damage done to his home and probably to his relationship with Sylvia Moore, propels him to the conclusion that this is the right time. Not that Bosch accepts his side-lining graciously, but just as his former courtroom cross-examination told us much about the man’s personality, in this installment, the compulsory sessions with police psychologist, Carmen Hinojos, proves a clever vehicle for the reader to journey back to the childhood trauma that contributed so much to the complex character of Harry Bosch.


Whilst the author has an uncanny knack for evoking curiosity about Los Angeles, the strangely exotic, but oppressive environment in which the main character thrives. Again, in his pursuit of answers, Bosch ventures further afield, this time to Florida, where the change of air and the trading of pollution for an unfamiliar ocean has a detoxifying effect and even allows a recuperative, romantic encounter, which for a time seems to penetrate the detective’s hard outer shell.


Just as the earthquake is literally a ‘leveller’, the story also has the feel of decks being cleared for a new phase. By enabling Bosch to shed some weighty emotional baggage, the need to rebuild a new home, a new intimate relationship and a dramatic reboot of his position in the LAPD, Bosch has been allowed to glimpse a life outside of the suffocating intensity of human depravity, in which he has been immersed for so long. Whether Bosch is able to break free of the gravitational pull of criminal justice and his personal mission, which has hitherto held him fast, may be revealed further into the series. Still, this novel has the feel of a seminal moment and commands a slam-dunk ‘5-stars’ for its compelling plot and thought-provoking denouement.

Seconds out…Book 5 awaits…

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Three’s a charm…

7:24 PM 16 NOVEMBER 2019

Book 3 in the lengthy series of Harry Bosch novels was published in 1994 (Book 24 came out in September 2019) and as with its predecessors it could stand alone. Indeed, I think this was the best so far, in my ongoing discovery of what makes the maverick LA detective tick.


The earlier novels (see my reviews of ‘The Black Echo’ and ‘The Black Ice’) allude to the ‘Dollmaker’ case, which lent some notoriety to Bosch, not least because he shot dead the supposed serial killer. But, now the late victim’s widow, represented by the reputed lawyer, Honey (‘Money’) Chandler, is challenging the legality of the lethal force used and even postulating that her innocent husband was simply the subject of an execution. By contrast, for his trial under civil rights law, Bosch is defended by an inexperienced lawyer from the DA’s office, clearly out of his depth and when a new body is found, with all the hallmarks of the original killer, Bosch is confronted with the prospect of his career and reputation being publicly shredded.


Away from the courtroom, the thread of Bosch’s burgeoning relationship with Sylvia Moore successfully tethers this novel to the previous book and reveals the tension in the detective’s attempts to satisfactorily balance a life so dominated by the demands of criminal justice. Still, it is the metaphorically ticking bomb of the court case that drives the pace of the book and the main character’s race to prove that his original action was justified.


Michael Connelly is a master of suspenseful drama, but as the plot hurtles along, he is also able to insert some memorable pauses, often describing the author’s beloved California, or a poignant moment for Bosch, a chance for the reader to reflect and ponder, before dashing on to a breathless conclusion. It can be exhausting, but also utterly compelling.


The reader knows that Bosch is emotionally damaged and torn between his ‘mission’ as a homicide cop and his desire for a life in which his priorities might be different. His lover, Sandra Moore, struggles with the same issue. “…He felt at home with her. That was the best thing. That feeling. He had never had it before…” Yet, while Bosch hankers for a quieter life, he also remains addicted to his adrenaline-gushing role as a dogged crime fighter. They both know he won’t give it up willingly.


Curiously, but unsurprisingly, Bosch also becomes a begrudging admirer of his legal adversary, perhaps seeing in the tough and ruthless prosecutor (‘Money’ Chandler), a reflection of his own personality. Their cerebral and verbal duel dominates the courtroom, while outside and during ‘intermissions’ a fast-moving investigation continues into the murder of the ‘concrete blonde’, racing against the pronouncement of a verdict, the contest refereed by a dour local judge.


Notwithstanding Bosch has given evidence in court many times, never in his own defence and surrendering himself to such scrutiny is an excruciating experience. But, the onslaught of intrigue and animosity, disloyalty and attempted scape-goating of Bosch, plants the reader very much on the detective’s side. The binary labels of ‘monster’ and ‘hero’ proffered to the jury, distilling the opposing perspectives in the battle of ‘rights’ and the actions/motives attributed to the police officer called upon to make a split-second decision, in contrast to the lengthy deliberations of the legal process. I found this an absorbing read and worthy of a place on my favourites shelf. Book 4 has a hard act to follow!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Beware the Black Ice!

8:53 PM 6 NOVEMBER 2019

Notwithstanding the glamour normally associated with Hollywood, Los Angeles and the advertising hype surrounding California more widely, the unvarnished description favoured by Michael Connelly remains curiously fascinating. Whilst Harry Bosch can look down from his hillside home and appreciate the distant grandeur of tinsel town, through his main character, the author also takes us onto the streets for a microscopic probe of an altogether darker and dangerous place. A place where drug dealers seek to dominate a lucrative market and casual violence and corruption are simply a means to an end.


‘Black ice’ is the latest export from Mexico, a mixture of coke, heroin and PCP and its manufacturers are aiming to displace the hitherto dominant Hawaiian variant. However, when the body of a police sergeant from the narcotics squad is found in a cheap hotel with gunshot wounds to his face, Bosch isn’t necessarily buying the suicide explanation, still less the desire of the LAPD hierarchy for a sanitising investigation that potentially draws a veil over officers that may have ‘crossed over’.


For me, the abiding interest of the book concerns the respective journeys of its key characters and the contrasting outcomes. The contrast too between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ of LA, but also cross border, in the portrayal of Calexico and Mexicali, towns with shared origins, but with very different prospects for their respective inhabitants, located on either side of the US/Mexico border. In a sense, part of the fascination with Bosch and his investigations certainly lies in his seamless traversing of these different worlds and the insight he offers to the voyeuristic reader, peering into unfamiliar places and lives.


Once again, in this novel, the rancorous detective is simultaneously fending off the internal politics of the LAPD that threatens to fetter his ability to root out the truth. But, in a departure from the lone, maverick investigator narrative, we also learn something about how Bosch’s work seeps into his private life. That he should be attracted to the widow of the murdered colleague and the attendant complex challenges, is just somehow very Bosch. And yet, it is the latent complexity of the character and his slow reveal that I suspect deliberately seeks to intrigue the reader, every bit as much as the capacity of Harry Bosch to solve the immediate puzzle, the arc of the detective’s private story, peeled like layers of an onion, whilst straddling episodic criminal investigations. For example, in this novel, Bosch recalls his only meeting with his dying father, but also signals the prospect of siblings and the discovery of a family, albeit they were unaware of his existence.


Clearly the author is very adept at meshing such detail, both in terms of the case at hand, as well as the broader canvas of his creation’s life. But, Connelly also weaves into his writing interesting asides, such as the existence of the border towns (both are real) and an ‘insect eradication programme’, which in this case is used as a front for the infiltration of ‘black ice’. Such details seem to be a feature of the series so far, but they keep the storytelling fresh and interesting and the same is true of the main character. Bosch is familiar with the violence and deprivation that characterize survival on the streets and the lure of gang culture and though he doesn’t excuse it, he understands and deplores the exploitation of the desperate, through the greed of the strong. His mission of holding those who misappropriate the lives of others to account is inherently satisfying, with a moral dimension, but it is focused unashamedly on the perpetrators rather than the unfortunate victims. And so to book three…

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“Out of the Blue and into the Black”

10:17 PM 29 SEPTEMBER 2019

Following my review of book twenty something in the Harry Bosch series (“Two Kinds of Truth”) and the encouragement of several Michael Connelly fans, I have back-tracked to where it all began. “The Black Echo”, published in 1992, marks the introduction of the eponymous detective and is testament to the journey undergone by the main character and the polishing of the author’s style over the intervening years. Connelly is certainly prolific in his output (the latest in the series, number twenty four, is due out today), so I’m keen to understand what is it fuels such longevity and keeps the novels fresh for his legions of readers?

Crime, of course, remains the most popular form of fiction and the author’s brand of punchy, contemporary, thrilling suspense is a dynamic page-turner. Still, Hieronymus Bosch is no Hercule Poirot, or Endeavour Morse (save for bearing an extraordinary name), relying solely on his cerebral gifts. Rather, at least in this first novel, he is also an action hero, more in the mould of Dirk Pitt, a maverick, determined, driven even. Leastways, our introduction to Bosch lays the foundation of a backstory that has the reader immediately curious, about a man of some implied depth, cleverly told through the FBI file held by his temporary partner for this instalment, Special Agent Eleanor Wish and the involvement of Billy Meadows, a former fellow ‘tunnel rat’ in Vietnam.


The horror and brutality of subterranean warfare has echoes of other battles (for example, see the WW1 iteration described by Sebastian Faulks in ‘Birdsong’), but the ability of such experience to shape an individual is surely not in doubt. Bosch the loner, scarred by conflict, yet as a consequence, perversely equipped for the ‘war against crime’. A round peg in the square hole that is the LAPD, he is destined to rail against the system and hold himself accountable to a personal set of values and a conscience that confers far greater integrity. Just as well, since the vultures from Internal Affairs circle, convinced that Bosch is dirty and going down.


A body – it’s a familiar opening to a crime story, but make the victim less random and the cause not so clear-cut as a simple overdose and we’re in business. Create a link to an unsolved safety deposit box robbery, perplexing national agencies – a tunnelling job, perpetrated while Bosch was suspended and the stage is set.


Curiously Bosch has little in common with colleagues and has a ‘marmite’ personality, untroubled by what others think of him. But, he also has a formidable network borne of long service and a reputation for getting results, a trait begrudgingly acknowledged even by his superiors. However, an unexpected secondment to the broader FBI investigation sees Bosch operating in an unfamiliar agency with a new set of rules. It doesn’t suit him better, though in Eleanor Wish he finds a partner and useful ally.


As the evidence mounts and connects to Washington and the chaotic withdrawal of people and wealth from Saigon at the end of the war, it is clear that powerful forces are at work and disrupting the investigation with impunity, possibly from the inside. For once, the fact that Bosch trusts no one is a positive asset. In poignant scenes evincing Karmic symmetry, the detective is fighting for his life in a tunnel and looking for a final clue on the Vietnam memorial, seemingly unable to unshackle himself from the legacy of a futile, dark past.


I really enjoyed this book and I can understand the fascination cultivated among readers for the troubled and damaged soul that is Harry Bosch. I suspect in this opening novel we have glimpsed just the tip of the iceberg created by Michael Connelly and in common with the best of fictional sleuths, it is in the flawed character of Bosch that some of the most interesting aspects of the human experience may be revealed. Book 2 awaits!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Last, My First, in a Lengthy Series

10:27 AM 25 AUGUST 2019

Hieronymus Bosch (fifteenth century Dutch artist) is also a great name for a detective with the San Fernando police department and yet I come late to the Bosch phenomenon. Twenty one novels (so far) in the series by Michael Connelly and apparently one of the most watched original TV series on Amazon Prime (in its third season), somehow it had not penetrated the ‘Burfo-bubble’. So, I am indebted to an enlightened friend who loaned me his copy of “Two Kinds of Truth” (Intriguingly the latest in the series, published in 2017), as a useful start point. It proved a good call. Part murder mystery, part thriller, part courtroom drama, the novel galloped along like a Grisham/Baldacci mash-up. Still, Michael Connelly is clearly a skilled storyteller, with an eye for character that makes the eponymous ‘Harry’ Bosch an interesting, if somewhat enigmatic hero.


On this occasion Bosch straddles two investigations. A double homicide at a pharmacy will flare outwards from being local murders, to a symptom of wider organized crime and a challenge to the integrity of a historic case, which saw the detective allegedly consign an innocent man to fifteen years on death row. Thus, jeopardy to life and reputation rains down on Bosch, who must protect both victims and himself from the drenching impact of powerful malign forces.


A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, the author utilizes a knowledge of criminal justice process and a journalistic nose for the sensational, to repeatedly hook the reader. But, while the dual plot is exciting and moves along at a breathless pace, it also provides some useful space to ponder Bosch the man and his selfless dedication to a very personal cause. I thoroughly enjoyed this very American novel. However, in what is a fairly crowded genre, for me, it is the central character that makes it stand apart. That I am minded to go back to the beginning of the book series is perhaps testament to some fine writing and my friend’s impeccable taste.

Rating: 4 out of 5.