Monday, December 14, 2015

The Narrows by Michael Connelly: A review

The Narrows (Harry Bosch, #10)The Narrows by Michael Connelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When it comes to reading series, I admit I am obsessive/compulsive. I read the books in the order of their publication and, if I find that I have accidentally read one out of order, I circle back and read the overlooked book(s) as soon as possible.

Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series is one of my favorites, but I hate it when he combines Harry with one of his other primary characters in books. I don't really mind Mickey, the Lincoln Lawyer, but I never liked Terry McCaleb. So, when it came time for me to read #10 in the Bosch series and I downloaded it to my Kindle and noticed the description of it as "Terry McCaleb #3" I groaned aloud and considered skipping it.

Then my OCD kicked in and I started to read. It didn't take long for my groan to become a chuckle. In the first few pages of the book, we find that Connelly has killed off Terry McCaleb. Nice move, Michael!

Terry had had a heart transplant and had to take medications to keep his body from rejecting the organ. He took the meds faithfully and should have been okay, but something went wrong and he suffered heart failure while out on his fishing boat with his partner and a paying customer, and he died before medical help could reach him.

The autopsy confirms heart failure as the cause, but his widow is not satisfied and has his meds tested by a lab. She learns that his capsules had been tampered with and believes her husband was deliberately murdered. She contacts Bosch, who is now a private detective after having retired from the LAPD, and asks him to investigate.

As Harry digs into the case, he discovers some troubling links to an old case involving a serial killer. Following the clues takes him to a desert site in Nevada where he finds the FBI in the process of digging up bodies - eight so far - from a burial site. He stumbles into the middle of their investigation, eventually hooking up with Agent Rachel Walling.

Walling was the agent who had tracked and shot the serial killer known as "The Poet" in the standalone novel by that name that Connelly wrote some years back. Though he was wounded, "The Poet" survived and escaped capture and went on to kill again. Now, it seems evident that the Nevada site is the work of that killer and the old team that tracked him is gathering to try to put an end to him.

The Narrows continues the saga of "The Poet" and the hunt for him. Many of the characters from the earlier book appear here. But now they've also got Harry Bosch on their team. Can there be any doubt of the outcome?

Meanwhile, on the personal front, Harry is getting to know the daughter that he just learned about in the last book, Lost Light, and he is still entangled in a tormented relationship with her mother, his ex-wife Eleanor Wish. They can't live together, but it seems there are too many connections - mainly the daughter that they both love - to ever allow them to completely disconnect from each other.

Also, in the middle of his investigation, Harry is contacted by old friends from the LAPD informing him of a new policy implemented by the department that would allow him to rejoin it without having to repeat time at the academy. His old partner, Kiz, wants him back to help work cold cases, the kind that Harry never gives up on. Harry admits that he has missed having the badge and is sorely tempted to return. So, will he or won't he?

Michael Connelly is a very clever writer and he basically had me from the first sentence on this one. He moved the narrative along at such a pace that I really found it hard to put down. Plus, I loved the little shout-outs that he found a way to give to some of his fellow mystery writers like Ian Rankin and Clive Cussler. He also has some references to a movie that was apparently made by Clint Eastwood from one of his novels - although I didn't see it - and it seems that Connelly probably didn't care much for it. Just another juicy little fillip to add to the pleasure of reading this very good book. Reader's OCD sometimes pays off.



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5 comments:

  1. Thank God for OCD. :-) So Bosch is considering going back to the department that gave him so much trouble?!

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    1. Yep. One of his main nemeses is no longer in the picture and he found that he missed all that trouble!

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  2. My husband loves Connelly and like you sticks to the Bosch books. Also, a woman who runs one of my reading groups, The New Book Club, is a personal friend of the author and reads everything he writes. She even has a cameo appearance in one of his books. How is that for some inside scoop?

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    1. I'm not surprised that your friend appears in a Connelly book. He seems to put references to people that he knows or admires in his books - such as the references to Ian Rankin and Clive Cussler that I mentioned in my review.

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