Tag Archives: Michael Connelly

Angels Flight, Michael Connelly

Warner, 1999, 454 pages, C$10.99 mmpb, ISBN 0-446-60727-4

One of the known problem of my Michael Connelly reading project (one book per month, in order of publication, until I’m caught up) is that I have already read many of the high points of Connelly’s career. After The Last Coyote, for instance, I could skip over The Poet, Trunk Music and Blood Work. This landed me three novels later in Angel’s Flights, with a slightly different Harry Bosch now re-integrated with the police force and struggling through a marriage I barely remembered. Having read Trunk Music nearly eight years ago, it took me a while to get back up to speed with the latest developments.

Fortunately, Connelly makes it easy to get back into Bosch’s mind: his best-known protagonist is still as taciturn, still as clever, and just as likely to find himself at the centre of a complicated investigation. This time, Bosch is chosen by the LAPD’s high management as the lead inspector on a case with the potential to revive racial riots: the murder of a black attorney who specialized in cases against the police. Worse: the victim was killed in a way that suggests a policeman with a score to settle. Already marginalized by his colleagues, Bosch finds himself stuck with investigators he can’t trust and a mystery some people don’t want to see resolved.

As the clock starts ticking, the investigation roars into gear. Bosch doesn’t have much time: Already, the media is driven to a frenzy of speculation by the killer-cop angle. Before long, Bosch realizes that the investigation is a poisoned gift: No one inside the LAPD particularly wants it to succeed, and even Bosch’s team may not be entirely trustworthy. As if that wasn’t enough, it seems that the deceased attorney had a source deep inside the police force…

But it gets worse. Seemingly impartial people turn out to have a web of connections to the victim, including one of Bosch’s ex-partners. Pulling on all the threads revealed by his investigation, Bosch starts paying renewed attention to a case that everyone thought closed, a sordid child murder that may not be as simple as everyone had figured. The title of the book eventually acquires another meaning as Bosch is forced to investigate something he’d rather leave to others…

This may not be among Connelly’s best novels, but it’s certainly up to his usual standards. The writing is clean and immediately absorbing. The characters are efficiently introduced and developed, which is of even bigger importance here as the cast seems much larger than in previous books. The plot keeps moving forward relentlessly, making it hard to stop reading once it gets going.

This technical proficiency makes it easy to forget about the thick density of issues tackled through the novel. Angels Flight is, first and foremost, a novel about Los Angeles in the nineties, as it recovered from the scars left by the 1992 riots. But it also weaves in themes of lost innocence, of police violence, of what makes good people go bad. Bosch has never been a happy character and Angels Flight seems grimmer than most, especially given how it really doesn’t solve any of Bosch’s romantic problems.

What doesn’t work so well are some of the technical details: Written in 1998, Angels Flight still has a gosh-wow approach to the then-Internet, and some of the vocabulary used to describe the investigation as it move on-line is just wrong. Not a big deal for most, but frustrating to the knowledgeable readers in the context of a police procedural where details should sound right.

The other nagging element of the novel is the ending, which manages to be predictable and frustrating. Twenty pages before the end, you can practically predict what will happen to who, based on nothing but the situation and the knowledge that American crime fiction would rather kill a villain than punish him through the course of law.

But these are small issues in such a successful novel. While Angels Flight doesn’t have the extra boost to propel it among Connelly’s best novels (of which there have been more than a few), it holds its own as another decent entry in his oeuvre. The Michael Connelly Reader Project continues at a good clip with nary a misfire in sight.

The Last Coyote, Michael Connelly

St. Martin’s, 1995, 408 pages, C$7.99 mmpb, ISBN 0-312-95845-5

The third volume in my continuing “Michael Connelly Reading Project” (One book per month until I’ve caught up!) is one of the keystones of the Harry Bosch series: a deep and complex investigation that reaches in Los Angeles’ history to illuminate Bosch himself.

Having read The Concrete Blonde a few years ago, it took me a few pages to get back up to speed with Bosch’s tumultuous life, and there’s a lot to learn. His girlfriend’s gone, his earthquake-damaged house has been condemned, he’s been taken off the force and forced to undergo psychological evaluation: you can imagine how well he’s taking that. Driven to drink and despair, Bosch anchors himself to an unsolved case: the murder of his own mother, thirty years earlier. Against everyone’s advice, he starts digging in the case once again, pulling at threads that many people would rather leave undisturbed.

The first chunk of The Last Coyote isn’t particularly pleasant. Bosch has never been a particularly cheery character, but even this particular situation seems like the bottom of the barrel. Loveless, homeless, jobless: It’s no wonder if his investigation into his mother’s death quickly becomes an obsession. For a while, it seems like a wholly historical exercise: digging into LAPD archives, interviewing people who may or may not remember anything about the event, chasing down the investigating officers and so on. But there’s something unusual about the case: as he learns more about it, Bosch becomes convinced that the true events have been covered up. And those who have ordered the cover up are still around…

If the beginning of the novel can be exasperating and depressing, The Last Coyote quickly claws its way back on top of the Bosch sequence as it becomes more and more directly concerned with the detective’s life. This novel becomes the most personal of Bosch’s adventures as he learns the truth about his mother and the people she used to be with.

It’s also Bosch most difficult investigation in that he has to bluff with way through it without the benefit of a badge. He risks a trip to Florida. He acts as if he’s still in the force. He uses someone else’s credentials. He knows that if someone peeks too closely into what he’s doing, he may be fired from the force —permanently. And that’s without considering that the people who ordered the cover-up may still be around, in positions of power.

Soon, the novel lets the historical background fade in order to let the events play out in contemporary L.A. Harry’s action have consequences: a recurring character is killed because of the trail Harry leaves behind him. Soon, it’s Harry himself who’s stuck in a desperate situation. Internal Affairs investigations are just the least of it.

Through it all, Connelly’s top-notch prose does wonders at pulling readers in for “just one more chapter”. Once past the ho-hum opening, the novel just keeps getting better and faster. The focus also shifts from Bosch’s mother to Bosch himself, earning the novel not only a good place in the Bosch series, but also a dramatic resonance that bring to mind other classic L.A. noir novels. The Last Coyote grows in the telling, building upon the image implicit in the title to deliver a novel that, ironically enough, works better because it’s part of a series and not despite of it. Bosch’s unresolved issues with his mother’s murder have been hanging around since the beginning of the series, and the repercussions of the case are likely to be felt in subsequent volumes.

As I’m finding out with this “Michael Connelly Reading Project”, it’s going to be hard finding a Connelly novel that is less than mesmerizing. The Last Coyote brings all sorts of threads together and even acts as a fair conclusion to Bosch’s early novels. Next up isn’t The Poet or Trunk Music (since I read those years ago), but Angels Flight. We’ll see if the streak continues.

The Black Ice, Michael Connelly

Warner, 1993, 439 pages, C$10.99 mmpb, ISBN 0-446-61344-4

Whenever a reasonably good and consistent author emerges, reviewers inevitably wonder what will be the novel to break their stride. What’s the worst they can do? What is the least of their capabilities?

The Black Ice may be an above-average police procedural, but this second entry in my Michael Connelly Reading Project (“One novel per month, every month, until I’m caught up”) is the weakest of the half-dozen Connelly novel I’ve read so far.

Once again, the star of the show remains Harry Bosch, the laconic LAPD policeman that has since become Connelly’s signature character. For Harry, things are tough at work and about to get tougher as a policeman’s corpse is discovered. Suicide, say early results, but Bosch isn’t convinced –even as his superiors aren’t fond of too-clever deductions. In typical Connelly fashion, the subsequent investigation takes Harry in dangerous places, especially when the death turns out to be linked to the drug underground of Los Angeles, with an even more problematic Mexican connection.

Throughout most of its duration, The Black Ice is slick procedural detective fiction, and it uses a number of L.A.-specific elements to spice up the narrative. Fruit flies have seldom been so important in a police procedural thriller, and even routine scenes such as a visit to a low-end bar end up having unexpected spikes of drama. Before the end of the novel, we’re even treated to a big SWAT action sequence.

For readers who aren’t following Bosch’s novels in linear order, The Black Ice doesn’t particularly depend on the events of the first volume. Only Bosch’s romantic history and distrust of the LAPD’s Internal Investigations unit carry through most clearly. After the troubled romance of the first volume, Harry is after yet another opportune girlfriend this time around, although don’t worry –later volumes show that it won’t last. The internal investigation angle is trickier: Harry doesn’t trust the LAPD and the LAPD doesn’t trust him either. In Connelly’s fiction, though, this is business as usual.

But “business as usual” ends up being the key expression to describe one of Connelly’s most average effort so far. His typically fluid prose remains just as apt at hooking readers into a complex web of competing subplots but The Black Ice, for the longest time, lacks the distinctive edge that usually gives an extra boost to Connelly’s fiction. Critics will struggle to find something to say about it and turn in shorter-than-usual reviews. Until the last quarter of the narrative, it’s “just” another murder investigation with a drug angle. What happens afterwards is definitely a spoiler, but that extra quasi-insane twist eventually becomes the most distinctive element of the novel.

And yet, even if The Black Ice is satisfying crime fiction, it’s still a notch under what Connelly can usually write and the difference is perceptible. Since the result is still superior to the average, it’s easy to forgive Connelly this misstep. The mark of a great author, after all, is how he can be above the norm even in his weakest moments. The Michael Connelly Reading Project rolls on, far from being disappointed.

The Black Echo, Michael Connelly

Warner, 1992, 482 pages, C$10.99 mmpb, ISBN 0-446-61273-1

I’ve been a fan of Michael Connelly ever since discovering Trunk Music a few years ago. Since then, I have read most of his early masterpieces and fan favourites (The Poet, Blood Work, The Concrete Blonde…) but, like some oenophiles storing great vintages “for another day”, simply accumulated his novels without reading them.

Well, this insanity ends this month. For this is the start of the Michael Connelly Reading Project, a comprehensive effort to read one Connelly book per month, every month, until I’m done. In chronological order, skipping over those I’ve already read (with potentially hilarious consequences).

Obviously, I have to start at the beginning: Connelly’s debut, The Black Echo.

It’s not just Connelly’s first novel, but also the introduction of his best-known character, LAPD investigator Harry Bosch. Vietnam veteran, jazz enthusiast, laconic and taciturn, Bosch makes for a protagonist in perpetual tension. He’s incapable of living outside a rigid hierarchy, yet he’s got a problem with authority. He fits the mold of a classic Private Investigator, but chafes away in an unglamourous police job after a brush with celebrity. He comes to the series with a fully built past made of a lousy childhood, a stint in Vietnam, a police career and no permanent romantic entanglements.

It’s pure luck (or is it?) if his latest investigation starts with an anonymous corpse discovered dead in a Hollywood hill drainage tunnel. At first, it looks like a simple case of drug overdose, except for one thing: Bosch knows the victim. They were in Vietnam together as “tunnel rats”, and Bosch can’t let this one go. As he tracks down the threads of the investigation, he’ll discover that the crime wasn’t just the end of a person’s life, but a step in a much bigger plan… one that will see him go back underground.

For established fans of Michael Connelly, the biggest surprise with The Black Echo is how accomplished a first novel it is. It may not be among Connelly’s finest efforts, but it compares favourably to most police procedurals and already showcases the strengths of his fiction: The familiarity with police procedures and mindsets; the clean prose; the use of Los Angeles as a location; the sharply drawn characters; the intricate plotting; the excellent scenes; the mounting tensions between Bosch, the criminals and the hierarchy in which Bosch operates. It’s very slick stuff, and it seems mastered right off the bat. Like all Connelly novels, this one works from the very first page.

There are, inevitably, a number of small missteps. Some of the plot twists are a bit obvious, to the point where I even found myself rightfully thinking “Oh, please, Connelly, don’t go this way.” He does, but part of the strength of the book is how it can survive even that. ( I suppose that my predictive abilities would have been even stronger had I remembered The Concrete Blonde in greater detail.) There is also a bit of a lull at mid-book, between beats of the investigation.

Ultimately, it ends deep under Los Angeles, taking advantage of Bosch’s past as a tunnel rat. The path from the initial examination of Bosch’s friend to the final frenetic pursuit in city sewers is enjoyable and compulsively readable. Connelly knows his stuff, and the hooks he sets in his story make The Black Echo a believable episode in the life of a protagonist who has already seen a lot and will see even more in the rest of the series.

The Black Echo‘s quality wasn’t lost on the book-reading public: Not only did it launch Connelly’s career, it also netted him an Edgar Award for best first novel of the year. For Connelly fans, it’s now an essential read and a bit of a cornerstone. My Michal Connelly Reading Project couldn’t have started on a better note.

The Poet, Michael Connelly

Warner, 1996, 501 pages, C$8.99 mmpb, ISBN 0-446-60261-2

Michael Connelly has done it again. At a time where I’m quite willing to throw the towel on Yet Another Serial Killer Mystery, he manages to produce a gripping mystery novel about… a serial killer.

It doesn’t start out that way, of course. All that narrator/protagonist Jack McEvoy knows is that his brother Sean is dead. Jack is a journalist on the crime beat. Sean was a homicide detective before killing himself with his service revolver. But there is something strange about the death, a suicide note quoting Edgar Allan Poe. Did Sean truly pull the trigger on himself?

Digging deeper, Jack uncovers another suicide with troubling similarities to his brother’s case, a second homicide detective, miles away, killing himself after leaving a note quoting Poe. What is the link? Has Jack discovered a story he can’t handle? The Poet goes on from there, as it becomes more and more obvious that someone, out there, is hunting the hunters.

Connelly’s reputation for slick crime fiction needs no further bolstering, but works like The Poet are what makes him so great. Serial Killers are, by now, a cliché of crime fiction. It takes some imagination to wring a twist or two out of the concept. In this case, the identity of the victims is a twist; it’s not giving away much that the identity of the killer(s?) is another. Some passages, details and situations show Connelly at his most clever self.

Fortunately, this isn’t a contemptuous sort of cleverness. The Poet doesn’t take a long time to earn the interest of its readers with its grieving first-person narration, uncluttered close and steady narrative thrust. The novel keeps switching gears to make things interesting: Jack’s solo investigation is soon co-opted by larger forces and he’s swept along with the rest of them in a very different story.

“The rest of them” is an interesting bunch of characters, most well-defined according to their role in the plot, and as competent as they can be. Nearly all major characters have a pleasing depth to them, and even the tale’s villains prove to be a lot more interesting than usual. As a narrator, Jack has seen so much of the dark side that he’s the next best thing to a hard-boiled detective protagonist. He starts both first and last chapter with the reminder that “Death is my beat” and often, you get a feeling that death has beaten Jack McEvoy at his own game. One can only speculate as to the similitudes between McEvoy and Connelly, himself a crime reporter before turning to the crime-fiction trade.

As may be expected from the work of an ex-journalist, the wealth of procedural details to be found in Connelly’s book is mesmerizing. We get the feeling of an insider’s view of FBI profiling procedures as Jack is reluctantly made a member of an unusual investigation. As clues are discovered, planted or disproved, the investigation becomes more and more twisted. Connelly plays the mystery fiction game like a grandmaster; even as he honestly manipulates his reader in thinking something, he surprises them with a counter-twist. In some ways, this is a mystery novel for those who are jaded of mysteries; his narrative is stuffed with double and triple twists in an effort to surprise even those who think they can figure it all out.

This elaborate game of subterfuge between author and reader can take its toll, though: The ending is a bit drawn out, and feels a little artificial in how the twists are finally revealed. After so many procedural details, it’s also surprising to see how little of the villain’s motivation is revealed. There is also a palpable lessening of tension as the precise timing and identity of the rescuing cavalry is never in doubt. But that’s small potatoes of complaints after such an exhilarating book. Clearly, this novel deserves all the acclaim it can get.

The Poet is a complete entertainment package. It works on all levels, from characterization to plotting to the way the words are strung together. While it falters when comes the moment to present a conclusion, it’s still good enough to uphold Connelly’s reputation as one of today’s best crime novelist. Whether you’re contemplating beach reading or fireside reading, don’t miss it.

The Concrete Blonde, Michael Connelly

St. Martin’s, 1994, 397 pages, C$7.50 mmpb, ISBN 0-312-95500-6

Regular readers of these reviews already know that when it comes to crime thrillers, I’ve had it up to here with serial killers. The Silence of the Lambs was the worst thing that could have happened to the genre: suddenly, everyone and their childhood bullies were writing serial killer stories, using just the “serial killer! booga-booga!” line as a crutch for unconvincing characters, lousy plotting, tepid style and a complete lack of understanding of police procedures.

(You could say that my complaints have more to do with lousy fiction than serial killers per se, but that would distract from my argument and minimize my disgust at the umpteenth serial killer novel I read in which the would-be-last victim of the killer is someone near and dear to the detective. See Reich, Kathy: Déjà Dead.)

The Concrete Blonde is a serial killer novel. Fortunately, it’s nothing like anything I’ve read to date, and fortunately so. It proves that a really good author can still do something worthwhile with those same elements that seem so tired in amateur’s hands.

If you read crime fiction on a regular basic, you already know Michael Connelly. Loved by critics, acclaimed by fans, he’s at the top of the genre. I’ve been slowly reading his work, averaging one or two books per year, with the same care as a wine enthusiast will slowly stretch out his collection, secure in the knowledge that there’s more of the good stuff locked in his basement in case of a quick fix. Some authors are like that: Why hurry to completion when you know you’re going to read all of them sooner or later?

Connelly 1994’s novel was his third one, and it starts unconventionally; detective Harry Bosch thought he had solved the “Dollmaker” case –with a single bullet. Now, years later, even as the widow of the Dollmaker sues him for shooting her husband, another victim appears, and it’s got all of the hallmarks of the Dollmaker. Again. Did Bosch get the wrong man? Was the Dollmaker a team? Ta-dum-dum, the investigation begins again.

But nothing is simple, and so The Concrete Blonde offers the unique spectacle of a policeman enduring a civil lawsuit even as he’s investigating the very same case being argued in court. We are, quite fortunately, spared the entire first Dollmaker investigation: the novel begins in mid-story (where, indeed, most serial killer novels end), and the effect of this structural choice are dazzling, alternating between (and then intermingling) courtroom drama and police procedural. Woof!

Fortunately, structure isn’t all that Connelly has on his side: The Concrete Blonde, like the author’s other books, is deliciously written in a no-nonsense style whose elegance nearly disappears behind its accessibility. The pages turn, the chapters fly and pretty soon we’re caught up in a good mystery. Connelly takes delight in confusing the readers with top-notch red herrings; no resentment ensues. Procedure details are top-notch and so are the characters, even including the titular concrete blonde. I tend to use the word “crunchy” when describing substantial novels one can just bite through, and there’s no doubt about it: The Concrete Blonde is one crunchy book.

Yes, this novel is a rare treat, an intelligent and suspenseful thriller, exactly the model of what good crime fictions should be. It remixes familiar elements in a brand new format, and goes it all in an unobtrusive style. Even weeks after reading it, The Concrete Blonde remains strong in memory, which is a lot more that I can say about other crime thrillers, good or bad.

Blood Work, Michael Connelly

Warner, 1998, 498 pages, C$8.99 mmpb, ISBN 0-446-60262-0

Anyone with the slightest interest in how badly Hollywood can botch a book adaptation has to take in account Clint Eastwood’s 2002 take on Michael Connelly’s Blood Work. While I’m sure this is hardly a unique case of a screenwriter savaging an original work, BLOOD WORK has the particularity of featuring not only a completely new ending (a common enough event in cinematic adaptation) but a brand-new villain! Indeed, the identity of the serial killer is switched from one character to another from book to movie, along with the villain’s family name just to make things even more confusing. The result, as you may expect, is a bit of a mess, bringing down a rather good novel to the level of a predictable crime thriller.

In light of this, reading the novel after seeing the movie can be a very interesting experience.

The initial premise stays the same, mind you: A convalescent detective (Terry McCaleb), recuperating from a heart transplant, is asked to investigate the murder of his very own organ donor. Mix in a romantic entanglement with the client, (the sister of the donor), a steady accumulation of clues as well as a sadistic serial killer who just won’t quit and you’ve got yourself a delicious little crime thriller.

Alas, other aspects are decidedly less endearing. The various nauseous double-entendres about hearts, blood, love and whatnot are tiresome, and so is some of the romance between McCaleb and “the client”. Feel free to be queasy as you see fit.

Also less successful is the exasperating ending, which was thankfully shortened in the movie. Rather than wrap up the book in a timely fashion, we get an entirely new act in isolated Mexico. The movie’s wrap-up may have been indistinguishable from dozen of other movie shoot’em ups, but at least it had the merit of being over in five short minutes.

Fortunately, Connelly’s writing is fluid enough to make even a padded ending still feel interesting. His writing is crisp, flows well and has an eye for detail. The novel usually hits its stride whenever it turns to the purely procedural elements of the plot. Our protagonist’s forays in the workings of the organ donor system, his careful examinations of crime evidence, his intuitive leaps of logic are easily the most fascinating elements of the book.

It adds additional interest that McCaleb is a convalescent detective. Unlike the usual manly, two-fisted private detectives that usually drive crime thrillers, McCaleb needs a driver, can’t get too worked up and has to consult a medical specialist before engaging in strenuous activities. I’ll bet you haven’t seen that elsewhere in crime fiction. The biggest difference between the book and the film, and the biggest mistake made by the film, isn’t the ending or the different identity of the serial killer, but the nature of the changes made to McCaleb. Whereas he’s a portly forty-year-old in the novel, production concerns dictated that the protagonist of the film became none other than seventy-years-old Clint Eastwood. (It’s hard to say no when he’s also directing the film) This completely modified the impression left by the story on-screen, where we’re more liable to worry about Eastwood slipping and breaking a hip than having a heart attack. The various action scenes gratuitously thrown in the script also didn’t help the film’s credibility given the condition of the protagonist. One thing is for sure: you won’t read about McCaleb firing a shotgun at a speeding car in this novel, no sir!

None of this matters, of course, if you’ve never seen the film. All in all, you’re still better off reading the book. The story slowly gives way to a pretty cool twists (which most seasoned readers will see coming, but is still pretty nifty nonetheless) and the wealth of procedural details is fascinating in its own right. Blood Work is worth a look regardless of the movie tie-in. After all, it surely doesn’t come across as any surprise to learn that the book is usually better than the movie, right?

Trunk Music, Michael Connelly

Little Brown, 1997, 383 pages, C$31.95 hc, ISBN 0-316-15244-7

The biggest problem with crime fiction nowadays is that a lot of it tends to be written as part of a series. You know the setup: One author will create a really good protagonist, and then re-use him in multiple books. Never mind the unlikeliness of someone going though all of these adventure; it seems to be the norm.

Publishers will undoubtedly tell you that this is a great way to sell more books. If a reader likes one book, then s/he’ll be more likely to try the next book in the series. For the authors, it arguably allows them to concentrate on the all-important plot and proceed with an already-established protagonist in a familiar environment.

Unfortunately, there is a darker side to this practice. The most significant is that this assumed background gets more inclusive as the number of books piles up. Readers jumping into a series in mid-stream can be bewildered. It becomes a major challenge for an author to find ways to integrate this background in their newest novel to allow them to pick up new readers. (The limitations imposed by the existing background are of no relevance to this review and will thoughtfully be ignored here.)

Trunk Music is the fifth book in Michael Connelly’s series about an LAPD detective with the unlikely name of Hieronymus (“Harry”) Bosch. Novice readers need not worry about jumping in mid-stream, however: Bosch begins the novel by opening his first case since coming back from disciplinary leave. As Harry gets back into the Homicide-solving business, we readers are offered the opportunity to meet with his new colleagues and reflect with the protagonist about how his job has changed. Nice.

Furthermore, Harry’s first case isn’t your boring run-of-the-mill murder: The victim is discovered stuffed into the back trunk of his car, a white Rolls-Royce. His name: Tony Aliso. His profession: Movie producer. Of course, things are about to get far more complex. The wife reacts strangely. The Organized Crime unit reacts strangely. Internal Affairs reacts strangely. We’re in for a suitably twisty maze of a plot.

Almost every interesting element of crime fiction is present in Trunk Music: California, Murder, Las Vegas, Double Agents, Theft, Escapes, Hollywood, Mafia, Romance, Blackmail, Los Angeles, Internal Affairs, Racism, Prostitution, Cars, Old Flames, Gambling, Corruption, Interrogations, Movies, FBI… the list goes on. The result is a complex novel that uncharacteristically remains understandable throughout.

Even more convincing is the accumulation of procedural detail. It’s crucial for most crime fiction to convince the reader of their plausibility and Trunk Music is undoubtedly a novel of the nineties, with its post-Rodney King LAPD, attention to Employment Equity issues and usage of modern communication and audiovisual equipment.

Connelly’s writing style has a lot to do with the novel’s success. His characters are well-introduced and suitably handled. Nobody’s perfect, and even the hero is motivated by goals that aren’t always admirable; watch as his initial handling of the case is more a case of personal advancement than reasonable procedure. The dialogue is spot-on and there are more than a few chuckles to be enjoyed from Harry Bosch. Great Scenes also pepper this novel, raising it from the ranks of the merely good novels to the status of a little great yarn.

Despite being a fifth-of-a-series, Trunk Music starts out in a way that’s easy to immerse newer readers. Then the plot, the characters and the details take over and the result is nothing short of a superb police procedural. Publishers will undoubtedly be pleased to note that gee, if Trunk Music was that good, it might be worthwhile to read Connelly’s next book…