Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective he had an inspiring mentor, John Jack Thompson, who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case. Now John Jack is dead and Harry inherits a murder book that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD 20 years before - the unsolved killing of a troubled young man in an alley used for drug deals.
Bosch brings the murder book to Renée Ballard and asks her to help him find what about the case lit Thompson's fire all those years ago. That will be their starting point.
The bond between Bosch and Ballard tightens as they become a formidable investigative team. And they soon arrive at a worrying question: Did Thompson steal the murder book to work the case in retirement, or to make sure it never got solved?
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Ain’t even done with the night
American. Former journo whose crime novels have sold >75 million copies. Then there are the adaptations for screen. Most involve iconoclastic LAPD detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch, with appearances by old favourites including Bosch’s half-brother, criminal defence attorney Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer).
Bosch is late sixties by now, and has been pensioned off under acrimonious circumstances. He’s still got the bug for solving crimes and has partnered up, unofficially, with Detective Renee Ballard, a young female mixed-race (half Polynesian) detective, who works the night shift in Hollywood precinct and sleeps in a tent on the beach at Venice by day, as you might if you had a devoted pit bull cross looking out for you.
Harry’s dealing with some health problems (he’s getting old after all). He helps his brother-in-law out with what looks like a cut and dried murder case, that turns out not to be. Mickey’s happy to get his guy off, and get some publicity in the process, but Harry’s the sort of guy who needs to know who the real perp is, and goes looking. Meanwhile, Renee is called out when a homeless guy dies in a fire in his tent. It looks like he was drunk and kicked over his oil heater. The arson dudes decide it’s suspicious and gets Homicide involved. Renee wants the case back because, like, she saw it first and because she used to work over there till she complained about the guy in charge feeling her up and got turfed after the investigation went his way.
Harry is Harry. Mickey is Mickey. Renee is becoming more and more like Harry with each book. From central casting, Mr Connelly supplies incompetent, possibly dodgy, possibly both police detectives, the usual array of venal lawyers, and an exotic female hit-person, ageing black gangbangers, a mobster, and the feebies. What more could you want?
LA, with a spritz of Vegas toward the end.
Third person alternating between Bosch and Ballard, or Ballard and Bosch if you prefer.
Smooth as. Mr Connelly is a master craftsman of the genre, and knows a thing or two about plotting.
Another high quality effort, which could be read as a stand alone but it helps if you know the regulars. I’m sure there’s another Bosch-Ballard story underway. I hope there is anyway.