My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Harry Bosch, Private Eye??? Really??? No more Detective Three Harry Bosch of the LAPD??? Hard to believe for us long-time readers of the series, but I guess we have to accept it.
After twenty-eight years with the LAPD, Harry Bosch has hung up his shield. In the last book, City of Bones, Harry left his badge and gun and walked out of the police station with the intention of retiring, but I never figured for a moment that it would stick. I felt sure he'd be back in the saddle in the next book. Well, he is, but it's a different horse.
As this book begins, Harry is fifty-two and has been retired for a couple of years, and he's getting a bit antsy. When he left the LAPD, he took some of his case files with him - cold cases that he hadn't been able to solve. They haunt him. His mission in life has always been to be an advocate for the murder victims, to give them a measure of justice. It rankles that in these particular cases he was not able to provide that justice.
One case especially rankles. A young woman named Angella Benton, a production assistant for a movie studio, was murdered four years previously and Bosch is still haunted by the memory of her defiled body lying on the tiles of the entry to her apartment building. Needing something to occupy his mind and his time, he decides to do a re-investigation of the case from the beginning and finally put the murderer away.
This story is told in first person voice, so we are present in Harry's mind, privy to his thoughts, throughout. It's an interesting and somewhat different perspective from the previous books.
As we follow Harry's thought processes, we learn pretty quickly that something doesn't quite add up. Something about the original investigation seems off. He goes to visit one of the cops who ran the investigation after Harry was taken off of it. The former cop is now a paraplegic having been injured in a shootout at a bar that happened just a couple of months after Angella was murdered.
Other coincidences begin to rear their heads. Two million dollars was stolen from the set of a movie that was being produced by the movie studio where Angella had worked. This, too, happened within weeks of her death.
Moreover, an FBI agent who handled financial inquiries and had been checking the serial numbers of the bank notes that were stolen disappeared around that time. She has never been found, either dead or alive.
It's all just too much coincidence and Harry's gut tells him that it really isn't.
As usual, his instincts are correct. He begins to link the various crimes together and eventually finds more than he bargained for. But most importantly in the world of Harry Bosch, he finds some justice for the murdered.
This was a very interesting entry in this series. Getting to see Harry from a different perspective added even more depth to a character who was already fully developed in my mind. He had been sick of the politics and the mind-numbing bureaucratic grind of the police department, but he had done that job for more than 25 years and it was, in many ways, his home. In fact, on many days it seemed like all he had going in his life. Now, he's on the outside looking in, and even though he remains true to his mission, his calling in life, he has to accomplish it without the protection of the badge. It's a strange new world for him. And for us.
One thing Harry hasn't lost is his contacts. There's his former partner Kiz Rider who plays a role in his new investigation. There's Roy Lindell, the FBI agent he had worked with before. And there is his former wife, Eleanor Wish, the former FBI agent who now makes a living gambling in Las Vegas. Harry still cares for her and harbors hopes that he might be able to get back with her. For her part, she seems to be hiding something from him. Harry and we don't learn what it is until the end.
Michael Connelly is just excellent at putting his plots together, tossing out clues along the way, and making us see and empathize with his characters. Not only Harry, but even the minor characters. Maybe more important to these stories, he has a real feel for Los Angeles, for the checkered history of the LAPD, and for the bureaucratic inter-wrangling that goes on between different law enforcement agencies, in this case the FBI and the police.
Lastly, and most importantly, he has a feel for the English language. It is a pleasure to read the words that he writes.
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