Read as part of CBR13Bingo: Cityscape. My cover has a cityscape photo of Los Angeles in the background, with Echo Park presumably in the foreground.
As I said in my last review of a Michael Connelly book (City of Bones, which I liked), you know from the start usually whether or not it’s going to be a good Harry Bosch tale. This one was lacking, though it had its moments.
A seasoned mystery reader is going to see how a story like this unfolds from a mile away. And for me, that’s really the barometer of a good Harry Bosch novel. Connelly is a master at building suspense and making shoe leather police work sound interesting, of bringing Los Angeles alive and the center of every mystery. I know what I’m getting and the reason I pick through these is that they’re so incredibly readable.
But the plot just doesn’t rise to the occasion. Though there was one twist in the story (that Connelly seeds well, though in retrospect, I probably should have seen it coming), it’s a predictable tale of Bosch realizing a conspiracy, going rogue, taking advantage of everyone he asks for help and coming out on the other side, having maybe succeeded or maybe not (you’ll have to read but you can probably guess), and ticked off the right people.
Something I both love and am often frustrated with in this series is how it portrays the institution of policing. Bosch and the LAPD are constantly at war with each other. Connelly has no problem detailing corruption within the blue. And yet, he doesn’t really do much with it. There’s no answering the larger question of police reform (a non-starter in Bosch’s eye) or what to do about corruption (since every cop who comes at Bosh is corrupt). It just carries on. These books began in the shadow of Rodney King and, to his credit, Connelly has never pretended otherwise. But I don’t know that they’ve reconciled with it and it’ll be interesting to see what the legacy of this series is as it’s slowly phased out of dad-lit/airport popularity.
For now, it’s an entertaining series that’s really good with some books being better than others. Connelly at least has the consideration to let us know which is which in advance.