Top positive review
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Taut, well-paced and coherent thriller - Bosch on top form.
on 29 April 2015
Michael Connelly's masterful creation, Hieronymous "Harry" Bosch, could so easily lapse into cliché though, like Ian Rankin's John Rebus, whom he resembles in many other ways, he retains his plausibility and integrity.
Like Rebus, Bosch had ended up as a police detective having previously served as a soldier, and has Rebus's deep-rooted aversion to authority. In the first tow novels in the series he found himself either under investigation by Internal Affairs or actually on suspension; in the third he was the defendant in a civil action prompted by his shooting dead a suspected serial killer. As this novel opens we learn, gradually, that he has once again been suspended following a confrontation with Lieutenant Pounds, his divisional commander, which resulted in the senior officer being thrown through a window. As a consequence of that incident Bosch is required to attend psychiatric evaluations with a therapist used by the police force who will contribute towards the decision over Bosch's future.
In the meantime, finding himself with ample free time, Bosch decides to investigate the murder more than thirty years earlier of Marjorie Philips Lowe - his mother. The circumstances of his mother's death bear a close resemblance to the Black Dahlia killing recounted by James Ellroy, though Connelly puts a different twist on it (and relates the story in a far more accessible manner).
Like Rebus, Bosch is a man driven by inner demons, though he always retains his sensitivity. Connelly writes clearly, never relaxing the tension, though also never compromising his character's plausibility or essentially empathetic nature. The plot is sinuous but credible, and conveyed with great cohesion.