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Search tags: Michael-Connelly
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review 2018-09-13 02:08
Dark Sacred Night - Michael Connelly

Most of the books I pick up are fiction. I have one of those jobs that introduces me to life’s less glamorous realities on a daily basis so I read for escape. But as with non-fiction, I learn something from every story. Of all the lessons I will take away from this book, the most important may be this. Feed your cat. Faithfully, continuously & in large quantities. In fact, just cut a hole in the bottom of a 50 kg bag & leave it out on the kitchen floor, ok? You might thank me later.

 

Renée Ballard knows what I’m talking about. So after dealing with a particularly eewww-inducing crime scene one night, she looks forward to some solo down time back at the station. Except she’s not alone. There appears to be a strange man trying to break into the file cabinets.  Ballard, meet Bosch. Harry Bosch.

 

You could say it’s the start of a beautiful friendship but that would gloss over a few bumps in the road. Harry is working on his hobby case. In a previous instalment, he met a woman grieving the death of her teenage daughter. It’s been 9 yr. since Daisy Clayton was violently murdered & Harry has decided it’s gone unsolved long enough.

 

Ballard has her own issues. She used to be part of an elite crime squad. Her fall from grace began after a superior officer got a little handsy & she dared to report him. Of course the department stepped up & dealt with it. Sort of. He kept his job & she found herself back on the street working the late show. Renée now works alone & it’s not bad. Some nights are quiet & she begins to look into Harry’s pet project.

 

Before she knows it, they’ve formed a partnership of sorts. They’re an interesting pair & part of the fun is watching Renée try to rein Harry in as he sidesteps the rules in trademark fashion. It’s a slow, painstaking process, frequently interrupted by the demands of more pressing cases.

 

To be honest, it took me a bit to get into the story. But I found Renée much more fleshed out here than she was in the previous book. As she & Harry settled into their relationship, I found it easy to sit back & enjoy the ride. I really enjoyed the story lines that emerged from current investigations. It maintained the pace & provided plenty of tension that balanced out the slower grind of the cold case, making its progress more realistic.

 

By the end, it’s clear Harry’s days as a reserve officer with the San Fernando P.D. may be numbered. But it might be the start of a new chapter for the old cop which is great news for Bosch fans. So if he & Renée find another cold case to tackle, I’m in. As long as he doesn’t get a cat.

 

 

                

 

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review 2018-08-14 20:49
A little uneven and disappointing
Dark Sacred Night - Michael Connelly

Bosch and Ballard together solving crimes in downtown LA, sounds a recipe for success, unfortunately my original enthusiasm was not realized. Ballard is the new kid on the block, first introduced last year in the excellent "The Late Show". She has a lot to prove, riding the night shift, surfing in the morning accompanied by her faithful dog Lola. It's tough working as a female detective always open to criticism and ridicule and constantly under the watchful eye of her male colleagues just waiting for disaster to strike.

 

Bosch of course is the grizzled vet, working out of the San Fernando police dept on "cold cases" that still remain unsolved after a number of years. Daisy Clayton was murdered nine years ago, her body found naked and bleached clean to hide all trace of DNA. Ballard discovers Bosch working on this unsolved murder and she decides to help him in her downtime. So up to a point this story is full of potential and hope. However this is not the only case the detectives are involved in and that's where the narrative comes undone. When I read a detective story I want the author to concentrate and build the storyline one theme or murder (or numerous murders as in the case of a serial killer) This gives the reader time to become acquainted with the various issues raised and characters introduced. By running a number of sub plots/storylines the main theme, which in this case is the killing of Daisy Clayton, becomes diluted and loses its impact and effectiveness. Harry at the same time is involved in a crime case with gangland connections that goes terribly wrong. Ballard has her own heavy work load including a potential rape case that becomes something different entirely.

 

Having said that a Michael Connelly novel always contains some great moments with Harry Bosch at the centre. He is a maverick investigator refusing to admit that he could ever be a target, but on this occasion he is wrong. In addition he is harbouring an unexpected house guest and the fallout from this has a tragic outcome. So "Dark Sacred Night" is not a bad novel it is simply that I expect such high standards from the author. The partnership of Ballard and Bosch works to an extent but the Daisy Clayton killing seems to lose its impact as it becomes lost amongst the ever increasing workload that forms the agenda of our two hard working detectives. The conclusion of the story indicates the possibility of future adventures/assignments and I hope that will not happen. Bosch is a loner, a detective who shirks instructions, and this is the very quality that makes him so attractive to his many adoring readers. Yes lets develop the career of Renee Ballard.....but not on Harry's watch!

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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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