Retired Detective Harry Bosch has always needed a mission—a case to work. Thanks to changes in command leadership at the LAPD and intense lobbying by his former partner, Kizman Rider, his three year forced retirement is over. Bosch returns to work out of the fifth floor of Parker Center (Police Headquarters) in the Open-Unsolved Unit. With a warning to do things the correct way from the new Chief of Police ringing in his ears, Bosch gets his first case seventeen years in the making.
Back in 1988, a sixteen-year-old girl disappeared from her home. Mislabeled as a runaway, the case was mishandled from the beginning. Two days later, her body was found nearby in a wooded area at the base of an Oak tree. Dead by way of a bullet from the .45 caliber Colt semiautomatic handgun found at her feet, investigators mistakenly believed it was a suicide. It wasn’t until days later and the autopsy results came it that the case was finally classified as a homicide but possible critical evidence in her home as well as the death scene was never recovered. That fact along with numerous other problems doomed the case to failure.
That is until the unit is alerted that some DNA evidence taken at the time off the murder weapon matches to a possible suspect. Despite internal political pressures and a determined effort by some within the Department to impede the investigation, Bosch has a mission and isn’t about to stop regardless of the personal consequences. His mission is to not only find the killer or killers but to bring some answers to grieving parents who have suffered the pain of not knowing who or why for far too long.
While a strong and well written mystery, this latest Harry Bosch does not have the same emotional edge of the early ones such as “The Black Echo” and “The Black Ice.” Harry has continued to mellow some since his forced retirement and that mellowing is very apparent in this novel. While he is still driven to provide answers for the survivors and some sort of justice for the dead victims, the episodes of his red rage as well as his instances of walking the tightrope of personal control have steadily diminished over the last several books. Even when confronted with vents that would have triggered a more emotional reaction in the past, Bosch is able to hold things together well and react accordingly. The older and emotionally wiser Harry Bosch walks to the edge and looks over but does not willingly dive deep into the pool of rage.
Not to say this isn’t a good book. On so many levels it is as Bosch and Rider work a case where Department politics, race relations, and time have played huge factors. The novel continues a strong and very enjoyable series. It is only when measured against the earl Bosch novels that this most recent installment does not measure up. Then again, we all are supposed to learn from our past and Bosch has which helps him close out a few other things as well.
By Michael Connelly
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN # 0-316-73494-2
More next time and as always feel free to drop me a note here or at Kevin_tipple@att.net with your comments, observations, and suggestions.
Thanks for reading!
Kevin R. Tipple © 2005
SMFS Short Story Saturdays: Lisa de Nikolits
30 minutes ago