Book Review-The Drop
Michael Connelly’s premier protagonist, Los Angeles Police Detective Harry Bosh, has been fighting crime for a long time. “The Black Echo,” Connelly’s first novel, was published in 1992 and since then Bosch has starred in or been a major player in 16 more novels. Two things that Harry confronts regularly in his investigations are corruption and evil incarnate. In Connelly’s latest novel, “The Drop” Bosch is saddled with two cases that bring him face to face with these eternal enemies. The result is a powerful and highly satifsying novel.
It’s been awhil since we’ve seen Harry Bosch work a case on his own in the City of Los Angeles. In 2009′s “9 Dragons,” the last pure Bosch novel Harry spent much of the book trying to solve a family crisis in Hong Kong. In 2010′s “The Reversal” Bosch shared the spotlight with half brother Mickey Haller AKA the Lincoln Lawyer. Those were both compelling and exciting novels but I’ve kind of missed getting the chance to see Harry Bosch do what he does best. So it was a lot of fun to be back with Harry on his home turf and seeing him crack cases
In “The Drop” Bosch is actually given two cases. The first one comes to him because of his current assignment as an investigator for the Robbery Homicide’s elite Open-Unsolved Unit, which investigates cold cases. He’s assigned to figure out why the blood of a young boy was found on a victim that was murdered in 1989. Bosch’s second case comes to him from an old enemy that long time readers will remember well, Irvin H Irving. The former Internal Affairs Cop turned City Councilman wants Bosch to investigate the death of his son who fell to his death from a seventh floor hotel room.
The two cases take some powerful and surprising twists and it’s a lot of fun to watch Bosch handle them. Connelly once again proves he’s a master at telling these kinds of stories. The closer Bosch gets to the truth on each of his cases the harder it is to put the book down. The cases are connected thematically, but I can’t say how for fear of spoilers. Some readers may make the frustrating mistake of wanting to find larger connections between them though. I did that at first, but once I sat back and let them be what they were I enjoyed the novel even more.
As I mentioned in the beginning, there seems to be two types of classic Harry Bosch stories the ones dealing with some kind of corruption and the ones wear he confronts evil incarnate. In “The Drop” you get a story that combines both of these tales together and it’s done by a writer who is older, wiser, and better and knows how to spin these classic tales in interesting ways. So the plot, tone, and pacing of “The Drop” are all extremely well done .
The other element that makes “The Drop” so entertaining is of course the characters. Fans get to see all of Harry’s idiosyncrasies on display in “The Drop” and get to be reminded of why we love the character so much. We also get to see Harry spend a lot of time in a new and interesting role, that of Father. “Nine Dragons” brought Harry’s teenage daughter, Maddy, back into his life in a big way, but “The Drop” is the first chance you get to see a lot of that relationship.
It’s a pretty cool and loving relationship too. And Kudos to Connelly for not making Maddy your typical irritating teenager who does stupid stuff and is constantly bickering with her father. In “The Drop” you get to see Maddy is very close to her father and respects him. You also get to see that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Maddy appears to be a very canny detective for her age and her insight into human behavior often surprises her father.
Connelly also uses “The Drop” to introduce a new character into Bosch’s life Doctor Hannah Stone, a psychiatrist who works to counsel and try to redeem convicted sex offenders. Stone’s occupation challenges some of Bosch’s beliefs about crime and criminals, but he can’t help but be drawn to her. She makes for an interesting love interest for the character and I’m curious to see what else Connelly does with their relationship in future books.
Rounding out the memorable cast of “The Drop” are a couple more compelling and eclectic characters. Connelly spends a lot of time developing Bosch’s relationship with his partner Detective David Chu. The scenes with the two of them felt very real and it was interesting to see the dynamic they have together. The other fascinating character we spend very little time with, but the time you do spend is scary as hell. Near the end of the book readers meet a violent, despicable, and remorseless killer. The character is evil incarnate, but he’s not a cartoon character. His actions and dialogue ring true. That can be hard to do, but I think Connelly pulls it off chillingly well.
Finally, the title “The Drop” refers to the LAPD’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan, which means Bosch is nearing the end of his career. So it’s possible that “The Drop” may be one of the last Harry Bosch books. If that is the case I’ll miss the character, but I’m also excited about that idea. With “The Drop” it feels like Connelly is setting the stage for the final act in one of the greatest police procedural sagas ever. There are several elements of the story that could easily carry over into the next book and I can’t wait to see what happens next. The fact that I can still say that after reading 17 Bosch novels speaks volumes about Connelly’s ability as a writer.