TWO KINDS OF TRUTH BY MICHAEL CONNELLY

I don’t know how it’s possible, but this series just keeps getting better and better, so much so, I need more than five stars to rate it. The only downside of this latest adventure with former LAPD detective and now cold case worker, Harry Bosch is, because I virtually inhale the book the moment I start it, it’s over far too soon.

In Two Kinds of Truth, Bosch is faced with present and past dilemmas. He might be working on cold cases, but when one of his from 30 years earlier is resurrected, one which not only put a psychopath on death row, but which, if the killer’s appeal to have his sentence overturned and massive compensation paid succeeds, throws every case Harry has ever worked on, every criminal he ever helped convict, into doubt.

Claiming Harry framed him and he has the evidence to prove it, the killer’s case appears tight, so much so, Harry’s former partner is persuaded to help those assigned to investigate the matter. Things look grim for Harry, particularly since he left LAPD under less than salubrious circumstances. Determined to clear his name, he commences his own investigation.

In the meantime, he’s asked to help in a brutal double-murder. Keen to be back on the streets and working “hot”, Harry and his team uncover the corruption and cruelty of big pharma, those who benefit from its nefarious dealings, and the toll this takes on the most vulnerable in society.

Older, most definitely wiser, with the cunning of a fox and instincts of a seasoned hunter, and yet willingness to share his knowledge and experiences, if there’s one thing Harry will not stand for, it’s having his honour – as an officer of the law and man – questioned. Nor will he tolerate the motives of a good person being trashed, especially when they’re no longer there to defend themselves or explain their actions and motives. This means Harry will take terrible risks in order that the truth outs and that those who seek to bury it pay the consequences of their deception.

But Harry is dealing with those who don’t share his values and don’t care about truth – unless its silencing the man who seeks to find and expose it.

Taut, fast-paced, but without sacrificing tension or emotional integrity, this is a magnificent read that is impossible to put down. Characters from previous books such as Lucy Soto, Jerry Edgar, Mickey Haller, Harry’s daughter and others appear, their desire to help the man who has always had their back admirable, though not always successful.

Like all the Bosch books, it can be read as a standalone, but the rewards for following Harry’s career and personal life are so much richer when you have the whole context.

Highly recommended – nah, bugger that. Read it! You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

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The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

Can this guy write a bad book? If The Wrong Side of Goodbye is anything to assess the others by (and it is) the answer is a categorical and resounding “NO!” Frankly, this crime series is one of the most consistently terrific I have read, and over so many instalments.  Just when you think Harry Bosch, can go no further, do no more, fail to surprise you, Connelly takes your expectations and dashes them. He takes Bosch and thus the reader to the most unexpected heights and thrilling of places – emotionally, physically (even for an ageing cop) and psychologically, but without once asking you to suspend your disbelief.

imgres-2Working in a part-time position for the San Fernando PD, Harry, who also has a Private Investigator ticket, is asked by an ageing, wealthy tycoon to find out if he has an heir from a love affair he had many years ago. With no family to leave his billions, the reclusive old man hopes to leave his estate to family as opposed to the board of directors currently in line to inherit. Harry is to work only with this man and reveal anything he discovers only to him.

Unable to refuse a cold case that may as well have come out of a freezer (and a decent pay cheque), Harry accepts, and it’s not long before he discovers a connection to the man during the VietNam war. Before he can pass on the information, the billionaire dies. When the circumstances of his death turn out to be suspicious and Harry is warned off pursuing the notion of an heir further, Harry does what he does best: refuses to be bullied or threatened.

When Harry asks his half-brother, the Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey Haller, to help him, the ante is upped and the danger grows – not just to Harry, but to those he cares about deeply.

In the meantime, the hunt for a serial rapist tightens and when a colleague’s life is put on the line, Harry stops at nothing to save her, his reputation and bring criminals to justice.

I really don’t want to say too much more about this book except Connelly is so on the money in terms of plot, character and the depth of history and, dare I say, nostalgia for a young Harry and his pre-police life (and that beckoning him from the shadows of retirement) this book evokes. It’s not simply about the cases Harry investigates, but about the relationships he forges and the bonds he forms, professionally and personally. I love the way Harry’s character is so consistent across the novels – the way he grows, or refuses to change and how he simply will not compromise his ethics.

This is a wonderful addition to the Bosch canon. I just wish they weren’t so readable so I could put them down, if just to savour the stories and make them last that bit longer.

As it is, I can’t wait for the next one.

 

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The Crossing by Michael Connelly

25748442The latest instalment in the fantastic Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly, The Crossing, opens with not only our eponymous and unerring hero six months into retirement and suing his department, but united with another Connelly favourite, the Lincoln Lawyer and Bosch’s half-brother, Mickey Haller.

Recognising that Bosch and retirement are estranged bedfellows, Haller offers Bosch a job – work for him as an investigator to prove the innocence of a client accused of a brutal rape and murder.

The last thing Bosch wants is to help those he’s spent a lifetime putting away. To him, working for Haller is like crossing to the dark side and he dreads the battering his reputation will take, the friends he’ll lose and the way his remarkable career will be coloured by this change of direction. Only, once he begins to look into the case, Bosch sees anomalies that could indicate a gross miscarriage of justice might be about to take place… but evidence against Haller’s client is watertight and the crime just so awful. Yet, there’s no motive, not even any evidence the perpetrator and victim ever met prior to the night she was killed – what’s called “the crossing”. What’s going on?

Unable to resist, Bosch takes on the investigation and, in doing so, as he treads paths other investigators have previously trodden, places himself and the various witnesses the prosecutors were planning to use in grave danger.

Superbly written and plotted, this tale hits a fast pace from the moment it begins and never relents. Following his mantra of getting out and about and talking to people and going places, Harry casts aside his misgivings about changing sides, and throws himself into the case. As he begins to join the dots, the picture he finds is very different to that which has been drawn. Twists and turns follow every dark corner, shadows loom not to have light shed upon them, but to plunge the reader and Harry into further darkness.

Suspense builds as Harry comes closer to the truth – but what lines does he have to cross to discover it?

This book kept me up well into the night in order to finish it – I couldn’t put it down. I wondered how Connelly, having retired Harry, was going to bring this one together in his usual exciting and entertaining manner. He has done a simply stellar job and without sacrificing pace, plot, character, back-story or the satisfying glimpses we get into Harry’s personal life.

A fabulous, impossible-to-put-down read.

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Book Review: The Black Box by Michael Connelly

The latest in the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly, The Black Box, more than delivers.

While this book is part of a series featuring the wonderfully named detective, Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch, and there are rich rewards for readers who have followed the life and adventures of the main character, the beauty of Connelly’s books means that new readers can come to this book with no Bosch baggage and still receive so much pleasure – the type that comes from reading an author who is a master of both his craft and the genre.

Now a member of the cold case squad, Bosch, who has been given an extra five years on a special contract (DROP) so he doesn’t have to retire, finds himself reinvestigating a murder he originally encountered twenty years earlier. Back then, a young and lovely Danish reporter, Annika Jeppersen, was shot dead during the LA riots. Due to the increased crime at the time and the demands placed on the police, Bosch was forced to hand over the investigation to the Riot Crimes Task Force and the case was never solved. It was one that never really left Bosch and when it’s handed back to him two decades later, he determines to uncover the murderer, even at the expense of his reputation and his job.

The “black box” is the name Bosch gives to the one piece of evidence that, like the black box flight recorder in a plane, explains all the other clues, creates a clear context that leads to the murderer and often the motive. Working alone, Bosh is at first unable to piece the evidence together, but when he discovers the all-important “black box” everything changes. Bosch’s instincts that Jepperson’s death wasn’t simply collateral damage from a city out of control, but the result of a deliberate murder, proves right. What Bosch doesn’t expect is that this discovery will lead him to uncover a conspiracy that goes back decades and involves people at the highest levels…

While the novel contains the usual elements of suspense and the inevitable piecing together of the murder puzzle and coming to grips with suspects, what makes the Connelly books terrific is that all of the nuts and bolts of crime writing is interwoven with aspects of Bosch’s private life – the way he struggles to do the right thing by his daughter as a single dad and the growing pains of a new romantic relationship – giving him extra dimensions and humanising him in wonderful ways. Bosch is so ethical and yet, he also doesn’t suffer fools, endearing him to everyone but his superiors and the criminals who often underestimate him.

Connelly has this terrific capacity to make even the predictable (in terms of the investigation) unpredictable and when Bosch makes a few poor choices, his future in terms of career and even his life, keep the reader guessing.

If you enjoy well-written crime and great characters, then make sure you pick up Connelly. I did and my only regret is that he can’t write faster!

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The Drop: Michael Connelly

I have to admit, when I first picked up this book and read a few pages, I wondered what the hell Connelly was doing: breaking the cardinal rule of creative writing, he commenced this 16th Harry Bosch book by telling, not showing. The opening narrative, while utterly readable and interesting, was also didactic: pure and simple. For a few pages, he painstakingly explicated the background to the cold case or unsolved operations unit of which Bosch is a part. I was surprised and wondering where on earth Connelly was taking his readers….then, Harry Bosch, a mere 32 months from retirement appears and all is right (or not) in planet Los Angeles. The opening pages and their tone suddenly made sense and I settled into the narrative like a pair of comfy shoes – as cosy as a pair of sneakers with razor blades embedded in the sole would be, that is, for if there is one thing a Bosch book guarantees, it will keep you on your toes. The Drop is no exception.

This latest adventure in Harry’s life plays on the title very well. The D.R.O.P refers to the extended work time given to cops whose experience and skills mean they are too good to retire and they are granted extra time- up to five years – may the force be with you and all that. Harry is part of the cold case unit and is on this, to employ a cliché, borrowed time. He also draws an unsolved case from twenty years earlier where a drop of blood, or smear on a victim’s neck, threatens to overturn DNA evidence. Simultaneously, he’s ordered, through the ‘high jingo’ or powers that be, to take a suspected suicide: a well-known council man and former cop’s (and enemy of Bosch and the entire force) son. Did he jump from the seventh floor of the building or was he dropped?

Moving between the two cases, Bosch’s home life with his now fifteen-year-old daughter and the vagaries and questionable loyalties of old and current partners, the story unfolds. It is mesmerizing and unputdownable. Like a fine wine, Bosch just gets better and better. You slip easily (or not – those razor blades glint: reminders of ever-present danger, and catch at times and make you draw in your breath and your heart pound) into his life and mind, enjoying the familiar, aching when he does, vicariously experiencing his reticence, doubt and fearlessness. Intelligent and ethical, Bosch is also a man seized by self-doubt – as a cop, father, lover, and man and this makes him vulnerable and oh so worth getting to know. And, as these two cases draw Bosch and his partner Chu further into their depths and twists, Bosch’s reputation and career are once again on the line.

Loved this latest addition that though I tried to sip and savour it, found myself downing in two reading-session gulps. Cannot wait for the next instalment.

 

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