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text 2018-07-15 01:40
The Black Echo - Michael Connelly

I recently bought a Kindle short story which is by Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane and has Harry Bosch and Patrick Kenzie teaming up to solve a crime in Boston.

 

I've read all of Lehane's Kenzie and Genarro stories, but haven't ready any of Connelly's books about Harry Bosch, so thought I should find out a little bit about Harry before I read about their meeting.

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review 2018-06-29 01:59
Bosch takes on a new role, and gives the same solidly entertaining result.
The Wrong Side of Goodbye - Michael Connelly

Not shockingly at all, retirement doesn't sit well for Harry Bosch. As we saw in The Crossing, neither does working for defense attorneys. So what's a guy like Harry Bosch -- with that strong sense of mission driving him for decades -- to do with himself when the LAPD forces him to retire?

 

Naturally, he's going to get a PI license and do what he can with. But there's going to be a dearth of clients that want him to investigate the kind of crimes he's driven to investigate. Thankfully, the San Fernando Police Department is suffering a horrible budget crises and can utilize him as a reserve police officer looking at cold cases (this is an actual thing that happens, and was suggested by a member of the SFPD to Connelly as something for Bosch). This is work for free, true, but anyone who thinks that Bosch is driven by money in any real sense hasn't talked to him for five minutes.

 

Bosch is hired by an elderly billionaire (at least), to hunt down a potential heir to his empire -- his family "forced" him to abandon a lower-class woman after he impregnated her in the 50's, and now looking at his mortality rushing to meet him, he wants to pass things on to his heir. He doesn't have much to give Harry to start from -- a name, an employer, and a time frame. That's it. He needs Harry to keep this to himself -- and has him sign a very tight non-disclosure agreement -- because he doesn't trust anyone in the company he's the head of. He's right not to trust anyone, as Harry quickly learns, but that's a whole 'nother story.

 

This case grabs Harry's attention, particularly when he becomes convinced that he's tracked down the heir -- who served in Vietnam at the same time Harry did. In fact, Harry's reasonably sure that they were briefly on the same ship at the same time. In addition to this being very interesting, watching Harry backtrack this man's family -- this focus on Vietnam gets Harry to reflect some on his time there, and even discuss a bit with Maddie. I think this is the most that Harry has talked about Vietnam since The Black Echo (feel free to correct me in the comments), and I appreciate reminding us where the character comes from.

 

As interesting as that is -- both through the procedure Harry enacts, what's revealed about the case and himself, plus the surprising amount of peril that beings to follow him -- the other case that Harry's looking into is more up his alley.

 

In the course of his duties as a reserve officer, he's been looking through cases that haven't been closed -- the one he's focused on now isn't a murder (as you'd expect), but is a serial rapist. Between the way the cases were reported, the staffing problems SFPD has, some jurisdictional issues, and (most importantly) language barriers, it wasn't until Harry started reading all the case files he could get his hands on that patterns started to emerge and a coherent picture of one criminal's work became clear. The SFPD detective that Harry's working with, Bella Lourdes, seems like a solid detective -- probably not as obsessive as Harry, but a dedicated detective. She's able to handle the interview side of things better than Harry, actually (see the language barrier, among other things). As things heat up with the other case, Harry can't get away and Lourdes ends up carrying the water on vital aspects of this by herself. It's one of the healthier partnerships Harry's had, really. But don't worry -- at the end of the day, this is a Harry Bosch novel. Not a Harry and Bella. Harry'll put all the pieces together -- but not early enough to keep things from getting pretty harrowing for all involved.

 

MIckey Haller shows up briefly early on, and I thought "oh, that was a nice cameo." But at some point, he becomes a strong supporting character -- as important to the private client storyline as Lourdes was to the serial rapist. I appreciated the smooth way that Connelly merged Haller into this novel. But that's not all -- Harry spent a moment thinking about Jerry Edgar (is that the influence of the Amazon series, or just Harry getting retrospective?) and there was a completely unnecessary -- but nice -- little appearance by Det. Lucia Soto. Unnecessary to the plot, but it shows something about Harry, I think, that wouldn't have described him a few books ago.

 

The mysteries themselves are a shade on the easy side for this series -- but the fun in this comes from watching Bosch chip away, step by step, through the process. Sure, he cuts a corner or five, makes several lucky guesses -- but we're not looking for verisimilitude here, right?

 

That said, there were several moments in the latter third or so that I assumed I had everything worked out -- and I was right as much as I was wrong. Connelly didn't cheat, but he zagged a lot when I was sure he was going to zig. At this stage of the game, for Connelly to be able to fool me that often, that says plenty about his skill.*

A good ride for old fans -- a decent (not excellent, but acceptable) place for a new reader to jump on -- The Wrong Side of Goodbye capably demonstrates why Michael Connelly in general, and Harry Bosch in particular, has been at the top of the American Crime Fiction scene -- and likely will stay there for quite some time.

 

*Sure, it could say something about me, and what kind of reader I am, but let's give credit ot Connelly's craft and not my gullibility, shall we?

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/06/28/the-wrong-side-of-goodbye-by-michael-connelly-bosch-takes-on-a-new-role-and-gives-the-same-solidly-entertaining-result
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review 2018-06-25 21:45
The first in the series
The Black Echo - Michael Connelly

There is nowhere better for me to try to understand the mindset of Harry Bosch or indeed his creator Michael Connelly by starting again where it all began book one in the series.

 

Harry is best described as "a detective who would do the right thing no matter what the cost. A man with a sharp worn code of conduct. A classic outsider.".... In The Black Echo we learn about Harry's activities as a tunnel rat during the Vietnam war and how the horrors of this underground hell helped shape him as a detective with the will to survive and a loner's code of justice. When the body of a fellow "rat" Billy Meadows is discovered in a drain outlet, Harry is determined to find the perpetrator responsible and bring justice to his onetime comrade in arms. In this endeavour he is joined by FBI agent Eleanor Wish, a relationship develops that becomes personal and leaves Harry wondering if her intentions are honourable or does she harbor an underlying agenda.

 

The weakness of the story is the plot; dirty money profits from Saigon laundered as diamonds/precious stones and kept secret in a bank vault in downtown LA. The only way to retrieve the hidden stash is to tunnel deep into the innards of the bank. In contrast the strength of the story is the superb charactization of the main players. Bosch, Eleanor Wish and Deputy Chief Irvin Irving who appears to be on a one man crusade against what he views as underhand tactics by a maverick lone detective.

 

As always Michael Connnelly is razor sharp in his acute observations of the human spirit....."Sunsets did that here. Made you forget it was the smog that made their colors so brilliant, and that behind every pretty picture there could be an ugly story."....."He was a worn-out old man whose eyes had quit caring about anything but the odds on three year olds"..."I believe that shit happens. I believe that the best you can do in this job is come out even".......

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review 2018-05-11 03:01
The Last Coyote is a metaphor
The Last Coyote - Michael Connelly

Details: This is book 4 in the Harry Bosch series, and is Book 4 in the Harry Bosch Universe. I'm way behind in my HBU reviews - I've read all the way through Blood Work, which is the 8th book in the HBU. 

 

Nonetheless, to discuss The Last Coyote, I must begin with the obvious and somewhat heavy-handed metaphor in the title. Harry Bosch is the last coyote: solitary and lonely, an anachronism in the urban jungle of Los Angeles. This particular book is all about Harry Bosch. 

 

We begin with Harry on suspension for throwing Pounds, LAPD brass, through a window. In order to be reinstated, he needs to be cleared for duty by a psychologist. During his suspension, Harry decides to work on solving the three-decades-old murder of his mother, Marjorie Lowe. Because he's Harry Bosch.

 

I really like this book, although the ease with which Harry puts together the truth about a case that went cold when he was 11 is somewhat, erm, unbelievable. He's a good detective, but really, that's a bit hard to swallow. The identification of the murderer, as well, was very anti-climactic.

 

In addition, I have to add that the idea of Harry's mother, who was, not to put too fine a point on it, a young and attractive woman who was a prostitute, catching the eye of not one, but two, extremely prominent Los Angeles attorneys (including Harry's father, the late, great, Mickey Haller, who was a well-known defense attorney) is, again, difficult to square with the realities of Harry's life. It's very Pretty Woman, which makes it implausible. And this isn't just Harry's rose colored glasses view of his beloved mother - this is the factual background that Harry uncovers.

 

Overall, this is a solid installment, and it clears up the mystery of his mother's murder.

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text 2018-04-30 13:54
April Wrap-up
Russian Roulette: The Story of an Assassin - Anthony Horowitz
Scorpia Rising - Anthony Horowitz
Scorpia - Anthony Horowitz
Agent 21 - Chris Ryan
End Game - David Baldacci
Live Wire (Myron Bolitar, #10) - Harlan Coben
Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer
Authority: A Novel - Jeff VanderMeer
Lucifer, Vol. 8: The Wolf Beneath the Tree - Ryan Kelly,Ted Naifeh,Peter Gross,Mike Carey,P. Craig Russell
The Scarecrow - Michael Connelly

14 books in a month.  All really good read of 4 to 4.5 stars read. 

 

I went to a charity second hand book sales. This charity has placed collection books near my office and asked readers to unload their books into the books. These books then be categorized by volunteers and hold in really big second hands book fair. 

 

For USD 1.5 dollars each, you could pick any book you want and brought them home. 

 

I went after work with a coworker. We got around a dozen each. A lot of them are of the Alex Rider series. I even picked up the same book twice, from different zone. My mistake is not a big deal as it is for charity. Plus I could gift this to my coworker who went with me. 

 

So... 

 

Got even more reading ahead of me. 

 

The Alex Rider series. 

 

I like it a lot. It is about a teenager, who was orphaned when young, and lost an uncle. It turned out his uncle was a spy working for MI6. So he got recruited, and used by the MI6. 

 

It is kind of interesting to see that most of the adults in the books are either the bad guys or dishonest adults with little concern for putting a teenager at risk.

 

The story is good enough. 

 

Scorpia - Anthony Horowitz  Scorpia - Anthony Horowitz  

 

The real bad guys starts with Scorpia. An international assassin group. Alex found out more about his father. He was told that he was once an assassin working for this group. And his loyalty to MI6 ended up with him being killed. 

 

Alex was briefly convinced that his father was betrayed by MI6.  One of the woman board member at Scorpia wants to turn Alex Rider to be on their team instead of the MI6. 

 

The plan work, for a short while. He was sent to an assassin assignment. To kill the leader of M16 Mrs Jones. 

 

The story is good and moving along nicely. There are some plot twists. The good thing about YA is that the bad guy usually tell you their evil plan instead of asking the readers to find a lot of clue on what's going on. 

 

The evil plan has to be spoiled and the teenager hero has to save the day. Not that much different with the adult versions. Just less bloody. 

 

A solid 4.5 stars read. 

 

Ark Angel - Anthony Horowitz  Ark Angel - Anthony Horowitz  

 

Alex was shot in the ending of the previous book. 

 

He was lucky that he was not killed. He was in a hospital.

 

The boy in his next room was there and some bad guys tried to kidnap him. Of course, Alex would try to save this boy. So he switch the room no with the boy and let the kidnappers mistook his identity and chase after him.

 

More danger ahead. 

 

The boy's father is thankful and invited Alex to take a trip with them.

 

Only to find out that the father was actually a bad guy.

 

More danger ahead. He tried to set a bomb in space and mayhem and destruction ensured. 

 

Only to have Alex soiled their plan.

 

Another 4 stars solid read. 

 

Snakehead - Anthony Horowitz  Snakehead - Anthony Horowitz  

 

Alex was in space in the end of the previous book.

 

He then fallen back on Earth and picked up by Australian intelligent agent. They tested his skills and kind of manipulated him to work for them.

 

The amount of cruelty involved is being belief. Seriously, how could adults deal with a teenager this way. Instead of wanting to protect him, they tried to use him.

 

This time, he met someone who knew his parents. 

 

He was supposed to go undercover. But his cover is brown and the bad guys already got his real identity.

 

Who rat him out? That's the more juicy part and side story. 

 

Another solid 4 stars read. 

 

Scorpia Rising - Anthony Horowitz  Scorpia Rising - Anthony Horowitz  

 

One of my favorite Alex Rider so far. A 4.5 to 5 stars read. 

 

There are new bad guys in Scorpia. In order to build up their reputation again, they are going to something big. 

 

As for Alex, he was supposed to be left out of any mission. Afterall, he is still a teenager. 

 

A terrorist threat has been made and the only clue is that it would target a school.  He seems to be a perfect guy for the part.

 

So again, there is a threat against Alex's life. This time, a sniper attack at his school. His friend got hurt in the process.

 

Alex has to leave school, and helped with MI6. Of course it is a trap. 

 

Before this book, Alex has suffered a lot. But he seems to be fine so far. 

 

Not this one. A big loss is coming. 

 

Solid 4.5 stars read. 

 

Russian Roulette: The Story of an Assassin - Anthony Horowitz  Russian Roulette: The Story of an Assassin - Anthony Horowitz  

 

A side story. The story is not about Alex but his opponent Yassen. 

 

Yassen background is horrible. He also lost his parents when he was young. He was not treated with kindness and he got involved with Scorpia much too young. 

 

A twist of events made him stayed with Scorpia. He got to know Alex's father, who tried to talk him out of being an assassin.

 

The story is good and give a bit more background of another character other than Alex.

 

Another solid 4 stars read. 

 

 

End Game - David Baldacci  End Game - David Baldacci  

 

The latest installment of Will Robie and Jessica Reel story. 

 

The Blue Man is missing. So Robie is tasked to find him. Reel joined in but was giving Robe the cold shoulder, 

 

Never Robie or Reel is good at taking about their emotion.

 

Robe is under stress. He failed his previous mission and was afraid that his PTSD would affect his performance. 

 

Blue Man went for a fishing trip and lost contact. Robie and Reel arrived at the location only to find hostile skinheads dominating the place.

 

A lot of running around and action. 

 

Also met the old flame of Blue Man.

 

Finally when the bad guys got sorted. Emotion things got sorted too. 

 

But how to deal with this is another story. 

 

A real estate plan to turn an old missile site into luxurious bunker for the rich. 

 

Some interesting plot twists later, and some interesting action at the end. 

Solid 4.5 read. 

 

Live Wire (Myron Bolitar, #10) - Harlan Coben  Live Wire (Myron Bolitar, #10) - Harlan Coben  

 

Myron is a sport agent. But he also got involved into trouble because he seems to be getting himself into trouble while trying to help others.

 

Harlan Coben is a brilliant writer, especially in developing the relation between Myron and Win.

 

Suzze is the former tennis queen. He asked Myron to help find her husband Lex.

 

While trying to find Lex, he run into his sister in law. His brother has lost contacted with Myron. 

 

So now he wants to find his brother. 

 

Quite a bit of running around. The bad guy was at the house of a rock star, keep making solid music with Lex while being hidden.

 

All is not well when Myron take a closer look under the surface. 

 

He called for help. Win stepped in.

 

Win was correctly pointed out the while Myron intention maybe good. He was the one who get into the trouble, while Win has to step in to do what he has to do to save him,

 

Win is a good friend. With a friend like Win, one could do a lot of things that one wouldn't dare on one own. 

 

Solid 4.5 read. 

 

Chris Ryan Extreme: Hard Target: Faster, Grittier, Darker, Deadlier - Chris Ryan  Chris Ryan Extreme: Hard Target: Faster, Grittier, Darker, Deadlier - Chris Ryan  

 

Bloody and action base. Read like a B action movie with a lot of loud sounds of explosions and shootings. 

 

Joe Gardner was ex-military. He lost his arm to an IED. He got a call from an ex-military John Bald saying he was in trouble.

 

Gardner got to Bald only to find that the urgency for a job. A money making illegal one. 

 

He wants out. But got interrupted by some other bad guys who found Bald's location.

 

Now he is offered by MI6 to find Bald, to protect him so that they could get to the even bigger fish.


A lot of persons shot at him. And he fired back.

 

The story left with a clip hanger. 

 

Not a lot of characters developments yet. That's why the movement seems a bit jumpy, with changing from one location to another. The plot seems a bit too complex to get notice by the intelligent agency. And the idea to have Gardner get into trouble and get something done. 

 

Not bad. Not great. But not bad. Solid 4 stars read. 

 

Agent 21 - Chris Ryan  Agent 21 - Chris Ryan  

 

Hard to believe this is from the same writer Chris Ryan. Spy story children version.

 

As I have just finished reading some Alex Rider stories. It is hard not to compare the two.  By comparison, the action is more real, but the characters not as adorable. 

 

Zachary is a teenager who parents were killed in a mass poisoning. 

 

He then recruited to be a spy. They faked his death and give him new identity. 

 

The problem is, he was supposed to be thirteen. There seems to be a lot of manipulation on the part of the adults. 

 

Thirteen can do a lot. But what motivated him to be a spy. Again, there are some secondary supporting characters. But none have developed deep relationship with Zachary yet. 

 

The action part is good. The character part is a bit underdeveloped. 

 

Still a solid 4 stars read. It read like a young Bourne. 

 

Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer  Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer  Authority: A Novel - Jeff VanderMeer  Authority: A Novel - Jeff VanderMeer  

 

First two books of a trilogy. 

 

Annihilation is a psycho sci-fi mystery. 

 

Four women scientists were sent into a strange alienated zone to find out what's going on. 

 

It seems to be a organic invasion but all the equipments failed after entering the zone. Previous expeditions were unsuccessful. 

 

What's at play is human psychology. The mistrust is there and the betray also. 

 

They were lost in the zone. And all of them were put into hypnotic suggestions in trying to control them.

 

There were strange writings on the wall. Instead of ink, it is some kind of moss that found the writings.  

 

Strange.  The setting of mood is really good. 

 

Solid 4.5 read. 

 

The second book was about how they survived and being interrogated by government agents. 

 

Again. Who is the liar? What do they all wants? 

 

Control is head of the project and interviewing the biologist. 

 

Everyone is lying. Is it drug or some kind of alien parasite that make people this way? 

 

Very weird. Like sci-fi on an acid trip. 

 

Solid  4 stars read. 

 

 Private: No. 1 Suspect: (Private 4) - James Patterson  Private: No. 1 Suspect: (Private 4) - James Patterson  

 

I have not read any James Patterson before. I bought two of his books and this is the first one. 

 

Seems okay at first. A detective agent head is in trouble. His girlfriend is murdered, found naked on his bed.

 

Look like a frame job.

 

He called his people. And his people is willing to lie for him if he killed someone.

 

The chapters are short and story moved along nicely. 

 

4 stars read. Not enough to motivate me to read the whole series. But good enough to spend time with in a lazy afternoon. 

 

The Scarecrow - Michael Connelly  The Scarecrow - Michael Connelly  

 

A really good read. Very enjoyable. 

 

Jack is a journalist and he was being downsided. 

 

Rachel is a FBI agent. 

 

They teamed up before in the last book Poet.

 

Now Jack is out of a job, he wanted to write book and his investigation into the trunk murder is going to lead him to it.

 

He called Rachel. Jack was in danger and Rachel came to his rescue. 

 

The killer is on to Jack and wanted to eliminate him before he go any further.

 

Another frame job.

 

The killer tried to isolate Jack to frame him for murder by putting a dead body in his house.  Fortunately, Rachel was there.  And it spoiled the killer's plan for Jack. 

 

 

The clever killer has a good plan and able to get away with killing for a long time. 

 

Rachel first made the connection that Jack was being isolated for the kill. Jack made further connection that he lead back to the data center that the law firm and the newsroom has in common.

 

All good and well.

 

Now the killer know Jack is coming closer to the truth.  More violence ensured. 

 

Jack was really brave but not really a good fighter. The action sense is good when Jack has to go into a knife fight with a wine opener. 

 

Good stuff. 

 

 

Nice and smooth. 5 stars read. 

 

Lucifer, Vol. 8: The Wolf Beneath the Tree - Ryan Kelly,Ted Naifeh,Peter Gross,Mike Carey,P. Craig Russell  Lucifer, Vol. 8: The Wolf Beneath the Tree - Ryan Kelly,Ted Naifeh,Peter Gross,Mike Carey,P. Craig Russell  

 

The only graphic novel read this month. Lucifer is a character created by Neil Gaiman and continued by Ryan Kelly, Ted Naifeh, Peter Gross, Mike Crey and P. Craig Russell. 

 

It is pretty good. Lucifer has his core value of seeking freedom. 

 

Michel teamed up with Lucifer to stop the Wolf from poisoning the tree of life.

 

Pretty nice graphic. Meant for adults. It is hard to explain. Just read it. 

 

Very enjoyable 4.5 stars read. 

 

Summary 

 

A fast read month. A lot of stories and it formed an imaginary space in my mind. Like meeting new characters that one has already familiar with. All the books are good pick. Very happy with the finds. 

 

 

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