My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After reading Trunk Music, the fifth book in the Harry Bosch series, I was intrigued with the arc that Harry's story seemed to be taking and I couldn't wait to learn more, so I jumped right into reading number six, Angels Flight.
The title refers to a popular trolley ride, popular both with tourists and with the locals. One late night one of the trolley trains becomes the scene of a crime that will rip Los Angeles apart. A famous civil rights lawyer, who has frequently been successful in suing the city, is shot and killed there. It is believed by the police that the lawyer was the target of the killer, but also dead is a woman, a housekeeper who was on her way home from work.
The lawyer was much hated in the police department and the squad that would normally be assigned to investigate his murder just happens to be the target of his latest suit against the department. That case was to go to trial the following week. It seems very likely that there is a connection. Could a member of the squad have decided to try to forestall the trial by killing the lawyer?
Since there is a conflict of interest with the squad that would normally investigate, Harry Bosch and his team of Kizmin Rider and Jerry Edgar are called in to take over. Because of the sensitivity of the situation, assistance is also requested from the FBI and Agent Lindell whom we remember from Trunk Music is assigned to the case.
Although it seems that the lawyer was the main target, Harry and his team do their due diligence of also investigating the housekeeper's death, but that quickly reaches a dead end (pun intended) and they begin to focus on the lawyer and the upcoming civil suit.
The suit involved the alleged torture of a suspect in the custody of the LAPD. The man was suspected of the abduction of a little girl. While he was in custody, the police allegedly used "enhanced interrogation" techniques, including ramming a pencil into his ear and rupturing his eardrum, to try to get him to confess and tell where the little girl was. But then her body was found, buried on a lot not too far from the suspect's home and he was charged with her murder.
The evidence against him was flimsy and circumstantial at best and the jury was not convinced. He was found not guilty. And after consulting a lawyer and complaining of his treatment while in custody, the suit was filed.
The investigation of the lawyer's murder leads Harry to believe that the key to solving it lies somewhere in that old case and he determines to reopen it, because the murder of the little girl was never solved. The police stopped looking when they arrested their suspect.
Looking at that old case and the evidence that had been amassed by the lawyer shows Harry pretty quickly that, in fact, the suspect in the case WAS innocent. He could not have committed the crime. But as he digs deeper, he encounters a cesspool of pedophilia and abuse of children and he comes to believe that the answer to the question of who killed the child lies much closer to home.
While all of this is happening, Harry's life is falling apart. Again. His one-year-old marriage to Eleanor Wise is dissolving, leaving him both sad and curiously relieved. As ever, he is at odds with his superiors in the department who want nothing more than to put a good face on everything. He's annoying his current partners and he finds himself questioning the motives of an old partner and friend. Just a typical day in the life of Harry Bosch.
Moreover, when he finally solves the mystery at the center of the case - after a few convenient clues tossed his way by a chief in the department and an independent inspector general, both of whom want justice without having their fingerprints on it - he makes one bad decision that almost costs him his life and one that will leave the true resolution of the case forever unknown to the public. Not a particularly satisfying ending for Harry or the reader.
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