I’ve never followed a linear pattern with the Harry Bosch series. Trunk Music was my first read in it and I grabbed that one specifically because I liked the plot summary. It’s still the best one by far. The Black Echo is an uninspired mishmash of cop novel cliches. Angel’s Flight and The Wrong Side of Goodbye are fine for what they are. Rene Ballard seems like she may be an interesting character; The Late Show is a good introductory novel for her and not much else in terms of gripping mystery. Connelly is a better writer than most people who put out this kind of long mystery series fare but he’s never grabbed me the way some of his contemporaries have.
I generally pick up a Connelly book when I want something that’s easy to read but also has some pathos. This one piqued my interest because it’s Bosch investigating his deceased mother’s cold case. Having read James Ellroy’s semi-autobiographical My Dark Places last year, in which he does the same thing in the same LA County area, I thought this might be a good fictional companion.
And it is. This is probably my favorite of his after Trunk Music. I think it helped a lot that Bosch was on suspension and while he does the typical Tough Alcoholic Cop Who Plays By His Own Rules routine, Connelly’s strength has always been letting us see Bosch being vulnerable. He definitely is in this one as his mother’s murder triggers a flood of unwanted memories and reckoning with his past.
The case itself is really interesting and plays out in ways I truly did not expect. It earns its page-turning label. I always enjoy it when the powers-that-be are involved in nefarious deeds. And Bosch makes a compelling protagonist because his skin is literally in the game.
Also, I really liked the twist ending. I didn’t see it coming until just before it was about to happen. It might be a little Cold Case-ish, such as it is but with any book, I like it when the writer forces their characters to grapple with the world they’ve created. This one does in a big way.