Connelly, the master of the police procedural, gives us another thought-provoking Harry Bosch novel, this one (#17 in the series) taking place near the end of Bosch’s long career as a homicide detective in Los Angeles. While not the best Connolly’s ever written, The Drop manages to engross the reader from the first pages to the last, while giving us some controversial social issues to chew on along the way.
As is typical of Connelly, we have two simultaneous plots going on. One is an unsolved, or “cold,” case going back more than 20 years involving the rape/murder of a 19-year-old college girl. DNA testing has made major leaps in the interim, and an old blood smear preserved in lab storage turns up the identity of a sexual molester recently released from jail. The only problem is, the suspect was 8 years old at the time of the murder, leaving Bosch determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. The second case is a political one, or “high jingo,” as Bosch calls it. George Irving, the son of Bosch’s nemesis and powerful power broker in Los Angeles Irvin Irving, is found dead from a fall (jump?) from a top floor balcony of a hotel. Irving unexpectedly insists on Bosch heading up the investigation to determine murder or suicide.
Backstories to these two major plot lines involve Bosch’s resentful junior partner Chu, Bosch’s teen-aged daughter Maddie, and a possible new love interest in the form of psychotherapist Hannah Stone. Several controversial issues that Connelly attempts to treat in this novel include society’s treatment of sex offenders, use of violent control techniques by the police such as chokeholds and tasers, police corruption, and more.
As always, Connelly gives us fully-fleshed characters, intimate knowledge of police investigative procedures, and enough blood, gore and romance to keep his readers happy.