Home > Book Review, Harry Bosch > Book Review- “9 Dragons”

Book Review- “9 Dragons”

I imagine it’s got to be tough writing the same character for 17 years.  You can continue to try to do something new with your protagonist and have their life evolve. Or you can go the other way and basically never change the status quo. Personally I don’t want to read the latter. No matter how great you are with dialogue or how cool your characters are if they’re static I get bored.

Fortunately though there are writers like Michael Connelly who believe in making their characters change and grow. Connelly has a few series characters, but the one he’s been most prolific with is LAPD Detective Hieronymus  Bosch.  For 17 years and 15 novels Connelly has been taking readers of the Harry Bosch novels on harrowing, exciting, powerful and often poignant journeys. Some are admittedly better than others, but the one thing they almost always do is leave Harry in a different place.

And Connelly’s latest novel “9 Dragons”nine_dragons is no exception. Not only does Harry’s life change in the novel, but Connelly also takes his protagonist on a different kind of adventure. Most Harry Bosch novels are police procedurals. You follow Bosch as he gathers evidence, tries to solve a crime, and deal with the politicians, and police brass who are more concerned with press than results. The first half of “9 Dragons” reads like that, but the second half is a decidedly different Bosch novel.

“9 Dragons” open with Harry investigating the murder of Chinese liquor store owner. All evidence points to a local Triad, a secret society and organized crime ring. Things become personal though when it appears that associates of the Triad kidnap Harry’s 13 year old daughter who is living in Hong Kong with his ex-wife. A desperate Bosch flies to Hong Kong determined to do whatever it takes to get his daughter back.

So “9 Dragons” reads like a better episode of “Law and Order” combined with the movie “Taken”. The pacing is quick and the action is exciting especially when Harry is on the ground in Hong Kong looking for his daughter.  It almost moved too fast though.  The novel doesn’t end in Hong Kong. It moves back to Los Angeles where Harry tries to close the case that started everything.  I personally wish Connelly would have spent a little more time in Hong Kong. The scenes there have a noirish tone as Bosch breaks laws and does almost whatever it takes to get his daughter back. It’s a morally murky side of Bosch that we don’t often see and I liked it.

I also thought Connelly did a great job depicting the relationship between Bosch and his daughter. You feel for the girl because of it and Bosch’s quest to get her back becomes even more intriguing and heart rending.

I won’t say what happens because of spoilers but “9 Dragons” ends on a note that takes future Bosch books in a new direction and I applaud Connelly for doing that. That direction also comes organically  I’m a Harry Bosch fan and anything that keeps the series fresh and makes sense I look forward too. All in all “9 Dragons” was an entertaining and fun read. It’s by no means the best book in the series, but it is a solid entry and the author should be applauded for trying something different and continuing to take his character some place new

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Categories: Book Review, Harry Bosch
  1. Judith Richards
    November 1, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Just started to read the book…and by page 42 it is hard to put the book down…I’m glad you didn’t spoil the ending for me.

  2. March 16, 2010 at 2:14 am

    I have to say this book is excellent, started reading it after I read this review and have not put it down since coming back and commenting on this post, thanks for the new book. ;]

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