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VINE VOICEon 15 July 2007
There's less of this book than there ought to be, and it's by far the shortest of the excellent Bosch novels. But actually, there's just enough plot to fill it and to give us the charateristic Bosch investigative brilliance.

But if Bosch really existed, if he had a full filing cabinet full of cases that could be written up to entertain the public, you wouldn't have chosen this one.
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on 16 June 2007
Michael Connelly is one of the few authors that I automatically buy in hardcover whenever a new book is first released. Whether I do so again is now debatable. As a story "the Overlook" is O.K. Not great, but acceptable. The real problem is that it isn't a proper novel: at 260 pages of fairly large font text its a pumped up short story, that while highly topical (it refers to the poisoning by Polonium of Alexander Litvenenko in London last year) just doesn't have enough substance to satisfy. It was first published in serial form in the New York times and doesn't it just show! Even the style of writing seems somewhat simpler than normal and Bosch is possibly getting old because "the overlook" could be refering to the clues he missed rather than the crime scene. Lines like "Bosch couldn't possibly understand why the FBI would take cigarrette ash as evidence" just defy belief.

I'll stop now before I do a real hatchet job on this book, but hopefully Connelly will read this and take note: next time you have a good idea for a short story copy Ian Rankin and release a collection of short stories. Don't dissapoint your fans with semi-novels like this.
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VINE VOICEon 14 November 2007
Michael, what have you done. OK, the deal to write a serial for a newspaper sounded good, but when you agreed to work it up into a book, it all went wrong, and you have alienated many Bosch addicts, like myself.

This book recycles too many aspects of previous books, and there is a procession of the characters from Harry's past, all intended to add some of legitimacy to this cynical cash-in. Add the fact that it will take you no time to read and I defy anyone, other than new readers, to find anything to recommend in this.

If you are considering buying this and you have yet to experience a Connolly book, can I recommend "The Lincoln Lawyer", "Echo Park" or "The Poet" as far superior to this - or better still start at the beginning of the Harry Bosch series with "The Black Echo", and work from there.
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on 18 July 2007
Oh dear, seems like a cheap attempt at a Robert Crais "novel". Not very good. Superficial, one-act pulp. Reads more like a screenplay than a novel. We can await the mediocre film with dread. The worst Bosch book - by a mile - yet.
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on 9 July 2007
I am a great Bosch fan, this book does not work, it was it seems a serial in sixteen episodes for a magazine, and I heard Connelly interviewed on radio and he seemed to have lots of problems with the format.

My advice, read Echo Park which is well up to standard and forget the Overlook unless you have an afternoon to spare.
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One of the FBI agents in this book spends a lot of his time maintaining 'investigative velocity', and at times this book reads like that was the raison d'etre of the author's, too; this book is all about pace. It's interesting to note that this was written as a serialisation for a newspaper - it feels very much that it is written to draw the reader in very quickly. The book version has been expanded somewhat, apparently.

The only problem is that the plot twists and turns are for the main part too predictable - there's very little other alternatives with the racing speed weight that the cast list keeps itself to, so the pleasure is not so much in trying to work out who did what, but in watching Bosch track the perpetrator down.

Nevertheless, a satisfying - if somewhat undeveloped - read. Steven King used to put manuscripts of books that hadn't quite worked out right into a trunk, where they would be unearthed and worked on at a later date, or if a contract needed fulfilling quickly, and this feels a bit like one of those 'Bachman' books. I enjoyed this - it's far superior to most crime fiction out there - but Connelly has set himself a high bar to jump over; he is judged by his own high standards.

Don't expect to work too hard reading this book - enjoy it for what it is - a quick checking-in on Bosch as he encounters a relatively simple (but stressful) case. Quick and light. And enjoyable!
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VINE VOICEon 15 January 2008
Michael, what have you done. OK, the deal to write a serial for a newspaper sounded good, but when you agreed to work it up into a book, it all went wrong, and you have alienated many Bosch addicts, like myself.

This book recycles too many aspects of previous books, and there is a procession of the characters from Harry's past, all intended to add some of legitimacy to this cynical cash-in. Add the fact that it will take you no time to read and I defy anyone, other than new readers, to find anything to recommend in this.

If you are considering buying this and you have yet to experience a Connolly book, can I recommend "The Lincoln Lawyer", "Echo Park" or "The Poet" as far superior to this - or better still start at the beginning of the Harry Bosch series with "The Black Echo", and work from there.
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on 1 October 2007
Even though many of the other reviews reflect my own thoughts I feel so disappointed in this book I wanted to add my own review.
As other reviewers have noted the plot and the chracters (especially 'Harry') are one dimensional and I too thought this book had actually been written by someone else. I agree though that this book looks like it has been written to fulfill a contractual obligation but it may well have done terminal damage to Harry and Michael's careers.
I hope that the author sees this feedback and responds by never doing this again!
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VINE VOICEon 2 September 2007
This is shorter than the other Harry Bosch books, taking us along with Harry over the frenetic twelve hours it takes to solve a brutal murder. I wouldn't begin with this one if you have not read any Connelly before - but if you have you will probably enjoy it.
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VINE VOICEon 25 November 2008
"The Overlook" is Michael Connelly's eighteenth novel, his thirteenth to feature Harry Bosch and was first published in 2007. Orphaned at twelve when his mother was murdered, Bosch's teenage years were spent in and out of orphanages. He enlisted in the army and served in Viet-Nam, before returning home and joining the police force. Once a member of the LAPD's elite RHD (Robbery-Homicide Division), he was demoted to the Hollywood Division after an Internal Affairs investigation. After more than ten years in Hollywood, he was notified of a 'promotion' back to RHD - however, he chose to quit the force instead. He left the LAPD with an armful of Hollywood 's open-unsolved cases, tool out a private investigator's licence and continued to 'speak for the dead'. However, a couple of persuasive phone calls from a former partner from his Hollywood days saw him return to the LAPD - working out of the Open Unsolved Unit, at the Parker Centre, rather than at Hollywood . Any cases that would have a high media prolife or would appear to be a time consuming, long running case get passed over to Homicide Special by the local police departments. "The Overlook" opens with Harry picking up a case from the Hollywood Department - Harry's old stomping ground.

Stanley Kent's body found was found close to Mulholland Dam, overlooking a house that once belonged to Madonna. He seems to have been the victim of an assassination - forced into a kneeling position, he was shot twice in the back of the head. However, Harry has barely arrived at the scene before the FBI also turn up - in the form of Rachel Walling. (Bosch isn't too upset - he's worked with her a couple of times before, and has also enjoyed her company on a more intimate setting). While Bosch has only been able to gather the most basic information about the victim, Walling knows a great deal more about him. Kent worked as a medical physicist, and had access to nearly every hospital in LA County - and all the radioactive material used in the treatment of cancer. Naturally, now that he's turned up executed, the automatic assumption is terrorism...

By Michael Connelly's standards, "The Overlook" was hugely disappointing. It first appeared in serial form in the New York Times, which may account for something - but it almost seemed that Connelly was trying to write the book equivalent of a Greatest Hits' package. The whole terrorism thing was ticked off with "Lost Light", while the "Echo Park" case was talked about far too often. Kent's body was found at Mulholland Dam - where Bosch's first case in "The Black Echo" began - while the opening is a sanitised version of a classic Bosch pose. (In the early books, Bosch suffered from insomnia and would have spent much of the night smoking, drinking and listening to jazz. Nowadays, he's quit smoking and there's no mention of any beer). There was an entirely pointless meeting with Jerry Edgar - one of Bosch's ex-partners at Hollywood - and several phone calls to Kiz Ryder, his other ex-partner. Even the 'swimming pool incident' - when Bosch heard of his mother's death - is wheeled out again for no real reason. Rachel Walling's appearance really stank of laziness : she and Bosch only met for the first time "The Narrows", but they have now teamed up so often Connelly should just have her transferred to LAPD. (The LAPD could do with her - even though that Bosch has no trouble in either reading or bluffing her, and that her interrogation technique is clearly on the wrong side of average. Bosch's actual partner - Ignacio "Iggy" Ferras - appears to be little more than an errand boy). Given the suspicions of terrorism, I'd have thought Bosch should have been kicked off the case the second Walling arrived. However, it's possible there wasn't time for the paperwork to come through - given that the whole thing was solved in only twelve hours. One of the book's genuinely 'new' characters - Captain Don Hadley - really made me shudder. I can only hope this guy was just a very bad caricature and that there aren't really cops like him in senior positions. Overall, hugely disappointing for a Bosch book - I can only hope the next instalment isn't serialised and that Connelly puts more effort into it.
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