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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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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-30 13:37
Jack and Rachel team-up again to catch killer
The Scarecrow - Michael Connelly

Jack was being downsided. 

 

He got a pink slip. A 12 days notice before clearing his desk.  He also needed to train his replacement Angela Cook, a very green journalist. 

 

A woman was found in car trunk, dead and naked. Jack reported it and was harassed by a caller who claimed the guy was innocent. 

 

Fingerprint found in the car pointed to a person who admitted that he has stolen the car, but didn't kill the woman. 

 

 

When he got into the investigation, he got his credit card cancelled, his bank account cleared out. And his email to his editor and Angela got lost. 

 

He didn't know why so he called the person he trust, Rachel Welling, the FBI that he worked before in catching the Poet. 

 

Rachel was not that enthusiastic at first, but after he told her what bad luck he had in the last 24 hours, Rachel knew he was being isolated and someone is seriously wrong.

 

So she used an excuse for an interview at Ely to fly over to Jack to find out more.

 

With his luck, he did run into the killer. The killer was just about the take action, before he was being deterred by Rachel. 

 

Quickly, they put together the clue that lead to another case. Another case in common with the current one. Another car trunk murder. 

 

In both cases, an alternative suspect was offered up and no one has made the linkage until now.

 

Jack made a discovery on how his email being hacked and bank account manipulated. 

 

Angela was the one who has done the initial search for trunk murder and she has fallen into a IP trap. This trap has alerted the killer of their discovery. 

 

Tracking this site that trap Angela and Jack. Rachel is able to track back to a data center. 

 

It is a very clever setup. 

 

They are seeking help from the data center. When they found another clue that lead to think it might be someone who linked to these murders might be working in the Data Center.

 

At the first half of the book, the killer was having the upper hand and doing the killing and chasing. 

 

In the middle, when more discovery happened, the killer was set on the run and made desperate move. 

 

The killer is clever. And there might be more than one. 

 

The cat and mouse game is really good. The development between Jack and Rachel is good too.

 

It run really smoothly, and it is a really good read. Unputdownable read. 

 

That's why I gave it 5 stars. 

 

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review 2018-04-19 04:41
HBU # 3: The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly
The Concrete Blonde - Michael Connelly

In this third entry into the Harry Bosch Universe, we finally get more background on The Dollmaker case, which is really the case that catapulted Bosch to fame. Harry is being sued by the widow of The Dollmaker, whom he shot during an attempted apprehension, after the man reached under his pillow for what Harry thought was probably a gun, but which was, at it turned out, a toupee.

 

The widow is represented by prominent defense attorney Honey Chandler, who is nicknamed Money Chandler. Harry is represented by the county attorney, Belk. Harry is not satisfied with the quality of his representation. In addition, LA County has wanted to settle the case, but Harry won't let them. A significant portion of The Concrete Blonde occurs in the courtroom.

 

I am not really a fan of courtroom dramas - because I am actually a prosecutor, and I've tried a lot of criminal cases, reading courtroom dramas can be frustrating because I am all too aware of errors in procedure. I think it is probably human nature to struggle with books that cover territory that the reader has a deeper understanding of than the writer. This is the case with the courtroom portions of this book. I won't bore you with a detailed analysis of things that Connelly gets wrong, but there are aspects of the courtroom drama that he does get wrong.

 

Leaving those quibbles aside, though, I really enjoyed this book and thought that the mystery was exceptionally well done. During the trial, a body is discovered that appears to be from The Dollmaker, of a young woman who was killed well after Harry Bosch killed the man who the LAPD believed to be The Dollmaker. This throws the whole case into disarray, because the defense relies on the fact that the man that Bosch killed was a serial killer.

 

As the story develops, Harry has to look back into the old case and set aside his former conclusions in light of new evidence. He also has to work through his own discomfort with the possibility that he was wrong about the Dollmaker case four years earlier. And, again, his history becomes a significant aspect of the book, when Chandler accuses him of shooting the Dollmaker because he was avenging his murdered mother, whose killer was never brought to justice. 

 

We also finally get to see Bosch getting some support from the LAPD brass, including Chief Irvin Irving who, for the first time, tells Bosch that he would back him up no matter what happened with the jury, and that the shooting was justified. Bosch is also involved with Sylvia Moore, the wife of Calexico Moore, who he has been seeing since the end of The Black Ice. She is a thoroughly nice person, a teacher, and has tried hard to pierce Bosch's nearly impenetrable armor.

 

I enjoyed this book a lot, and really liked the fact that Connelly didn't fall back on the same trope of institutional corruption that the first two books really relied upon. The interactions between Bosch and the LAPD show a different, more functional and respectful, relationship with his peers. The relationship with Sylvia isn't going to last, but it's nice to see Bosch letting down his guard a little bit. 

 

Next up is The Last Coyote.

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