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review 2020-04-22 23:31
Weak sauce
The Overlook (Harry Bosch) - Michael Connelly

I reread this one b/c the new season of Bosch incorporates this book and I remembered literally nothing of it from my earlier read.


Now I know why. If this isn't the weakest entry in the Bosch series, it must be close. The ending is so rushed that this feels like barely more than a novella. 


Connelly can do - and has done - so much better. Weak.

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review 2020-03-01 10:00
Bosch Drinks Deeply from the Poisoned Chalice!
Angels Flight (Harry Bosch #6) - Michael Connelly

Howard Elias was a high-profile, but contentious Los Angeles lawyer, whose stock-in-trade was suing the LAPD. He only filed in the federal court and typically under the civil human rights codes, whereupon his skilled use of social media also rubbed salt into the open wound of racial tension that scarred the city. Elias was reviled by police, revered by those he represented, but when he is gunned down on ‘Angels Flight’ (a historic inclined railway and downtown landmark), the authorities are immediately fearful of a potential backlash and the possibility of a return to the violent racial riots of 1992. Realizing that many would believe the murder was perpetrated by the police and accordingly be mistrustful of their investigation, it falls to Deputy Chief Irving to hand this poisoned chalice to Detective Harry Bosch and his team. It’s a decision that carries risk. In such a politically-charged atmosphere, Bosch, Edgar and Rider know that their selection is a cynical nod to ethnic diversity, but they’re also capable investigators, with integrity and will demand that the chips fall where they may, despite attempts to stifle their efforts by the inclusion of Internal Affairs and the FBI.

Indeed, there are distractions aplenty for Bosch in this sixth book in the series, as his short-lived marriage to Eleanor Wish is in melt-down, his path is crossed once more by arch antagonist from the IAD, John ‘Sustained’ Chastain (see ‘The Black Ice’ and ‘Trunk Music’) and a succession of barriers arise, including a leak from within the department, barring his way to the truth. Readers/fans are, of course, familiar with the irreverent attitude of Bosch to the political calculations of his bosses and his resilience at being repeatedly thrown under the bus of investigations with the capacity to combust spectacularly, but he is also unerringly loyal to his team colleagues (past and present) and is always willing to take a hit for them.

In this powerful story, the plot is so much more than the obvious crime of murder and is as much about the hidden network of associates connected to the late Mr Elias and a swirl of cases,causes and effects, past and present, which continue to keep a fatal momentum of their own. In the impending ‘Black Warrior’ court case, Elias was again confidently primed to expose the depth of corrupt police behaviour and the inept nature of another flawed investigation by the LAPD. With the rhetoric of charismatic preacher Reverend Tuggins fanning the flames of a smouldering sense of injustice, in sections of the community, Bosch needs to solve the murder and prevent a potential miscarriage of justice, which could ignite the whole tinder box. Meanwhile, the book also draws into view those characters with politicized appointments tasked with fronting a system of justice that is seen to be good enough and must spin the unpalatable truth in ways that Bosch understands, yet despises.

Whilst the detective’s perspective of what’s right is laudably heroic to the reader, the body count that follows is high and I do wonder at the burden on his conscience moving forward. Still, Conelly also weaves lighter moments into his book, such as the poster advertising Clint Eastwood’s film “Blood Work” (a rather droll reference to his earlier title, wherein reality and fiction are neatly combined). In any event, I am compelled onward to “A Darkness More Than Night” (Book 7 in the series), with a real spring of 4 star satisfaction in my step.

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review 2020-01-14 12:18
The Tarnished Gloss of Sin City and Tinseltown
Trunk Music - Michael Connelly

Book 5 in the series and another case for Harry Bosch with all the twists, turns and adrenaline-inducing plunges of a parkour outing. When a body turns up in the trunk of a Rolls Royce, abandoned in the hills above L.A, it has all the hallmarks of a professional hit. Yet, when the ‘Organised Crime Intelligence Division’ (OCID) passes on an apparent ‘whack job’, though surprised, Bosch is quick to pick up the baton and start joining the dots from a film production company in Hollywood to the original sin city, out in the Nevada desert.


Bosch is newly reinstated at the homicide table, after his imposed absence and designated the lead investigator of a team with two other detectives, partner of six years Jerry Edgar and rising star Kizmin Rider. All are operating under the watchful gaze of newly-appointed Lieutenant Grace Billetts (replacement for the late Lt. ‘98’ Pounds), who comes with a reputation for being tough, enough to earn the moniker ‘Bullets’, behind her back.
One of the things I enjoy about the Bosch series is the melding of old and new and the author’s grasp of complex detail across a substantial series of novels. Characters arrive and may disappear, to re-emerge later, while even the ever-present characters in the cast may undergo changes conferred by disparate lives. For example, Medical Examiner, Dr Jesus Salazar, is now wheelchair bound following a motorbike accident; former FBI-agent, Eleanor Wish, must rebuild her life after a prison sentence handed down in ‘The Black Echo’ (Book 1); and Harry Bosch is reconstructing his home after the effects of the Northridge earthquake saw it demolished in ‘The Last Coyote’ (Book 4).


In a return to the style adopted in that last book, the author does away with chapters, instead, dissecting the book into ten ‘parts’ of varying lengths, which chunk the story into an easily digestible format. Still, Connelly has an unerring knack for also blurring the ‘goodies’ and the ‘bad uns’ and threading his plots with ethical dilemmas, to test the most pure of motivations. Even the cities take on a persona, such as when Bosch is contemplating Las Vegas “...No matter how much they tried to dress her up with neon and family entertainment, she was still a whore.” But, of course, it is within such dark recesses that the criminal underworld and therefore Harry Bosch thrives. Indeed, the theme of this particular tale might be, ‘never judge a book by its cover’. Not everyone who wears a badge can be trusted, any more than every associate of the mob can be assumed to have made poor choices. The corrupting influences of power and money are evident on both sides of the street.


As seems the norm for Bosch, he is destined to push the boundaries of procedure and thereby the patience of even those notionally on the same side. His saving grace, of course, is that he gets the job done, albeit using unusual methods and exceptional intuition and brainpower, though there was also a ‘keystone cops’ moment in this story. I was slightly wrong-footed by the ending too, perhaps because I have been conditioned to empathise with the dark clouds and lashing of rain that tends to drench Bosch’s life, but it would be curmudgeonly to deny the main character his day in the sun. Another four star rating from me and the prospect of some serious changes to Bosch’s situation in Book 6.


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review 2019-12-06 19:42
Best Duo Since Batman & Robin
The Night Fire - Michael Connelly

Not much to say besides Michael Connelly has hit on a winning formula with retired cop Harry Bosch and Renee Ballard investigating cold cases. In this one, three of the cases the duo are working on independently (and one together) end up coming together. That's the only thing I coughed BS on since that was too big a coincidence, but I was enjoying the ride to get there I just let it go. Connelly is showing his hands I think in this one with what may come next for Harry, his daughter, and even Renee. I was so sad to get to the end of this and re-read it twice before reluctantly sending it back to my library. 


"The Night Fire" has Harry and Renee coming together again to work on a cold case from an ex mentor of Harry's. The man had the file of a young man who was murdered by a gang decades earlier. Harry is wondering what the connection the young man had to his mentor and why this case haunted him. Harry is also helping out his brother Mickey Haller in a defense case that got foisted on him. The case sounds wrong to Harry and then he slowly puts together why it's wrong. Renee though is looking into a man who was burned alive at a homeless camp that is part of her night patrol. At first glance it looks like an accidental fire, but Renee starts to smell something wrong there right away.


Harry is going through changes in this one. Because of a prior case, there is something that is boomeranging back at Harry. Also, he is still struggling with helping defendants, even when he knows they are innocent. I really wish that Connelly would stop that mess with Harry feeling torn. It's like he doesn't read papers these days and realizes innocent people are sent to jail all the time. The police are not infallible. I also liked his interactions with Mickey (more Mickey or a standalone please!) and with his daughter. I also loved how things are going with Harry's daughter and what her post college life may look like.

Renee is still doing the whole homeless, but not really thing. She's running on E and I think Harry sees it best at how that can end up messing with her and the cases she's running. I wish we would see Renee more settled. At times she feels a bit ghostlike except when working a case or tossing ideas/smart remarks to Harry. These two really work well together.

I thought the writing was tight and that Connelly did a great job of setting up when Harry and Renee were talking and when they were together. The flow ran smoothly from beginning to end and the ending even had my heart pumping a little. We may get another case that Harry and Renee will end up closing. 

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text 2019-11-25 20:56
Reading progress update: I've read 50%.
The Night Fire - Michael Connelly

So Bosch and Renee's POVs still work well together. I think the two cases that are going on are giving me a bit of whiplash though. Definitely happy to see Mickey Haller again. The constant put down of defense attorney's makes me roll my eyes though. It's like these people don't live in a world where the Central Park 6 was a thing.


 Image result for when they see us gif

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