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.