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Book Review- The Burning Room

November 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Connelly_THEBURNINGROOMIf you’re like me and you love a good police procedural, you love the work of Michael Connelly. His series featuring L.A.P.D. Detective Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch is pretty much the gold standard of police procedural novels. The series began in 1992 with “The Black Echo” and has been going strong ever since. For a writer to keep a series going for 22 years and have each novel be strong, fresh, and lead to important character development is an extraordinary feat.

What makes the series even more impressive is it’s nearing an end point. I’ve read every book so I’ve been part of many of the major milestones in Bosch’s life and in recent novels Connelly established that Bosch is approaching mandatory retirement. In “The Burning Room” Connelly gives Bosch not one, but two cases to solve and they just might be his last. I keep my reviews spoiler free so all I can say about that is the book has a pretty powerful ending.

Let’s move onto the cases though. Both are extremely compelling. In fact the one fault I would give the book is that both cases could have been novels on their own. They had lots of exciting twists and turns. One was a cold case involving a seemingly senseless shooting of a Mariachi that has a classic noir feel to it. The other is related to a tragic fire at an apartment complex that lead to the deaths of several children who were in the building’s unlicensed daycare room when the fire broke out. The twists and turns here lead back to a legendary true crime that rocked the streets of L.A. and it’s police force.

It’s Bosch’s new partner Lucy Soto who embroils him in the latter case because of her personal connection to it. She makes for a very interesting character too. I love mismatched buddy cops, but those stories generally work best in other genres with lighter tones. Soto and Bosch are the perfect match and it’s kind of refreshing to see. There are times where Harry is visibly surprised to meet a detective that’s as driven as he as if not more so.

Bosch and Soto follow up various leads throughout “The Burning Room.” When they get a hot lead in one case they follow it up. Then they circle back and pursue other leads. Readers looking for the cliché of both cases being connected will be pleasantly surprised by the way they are resolved. Plus there is that powerful ending I mentioned earlier.

When Bosch isn’t following up on leads with Soto we get some fun moments with him interacting with a reporter and his teenage daughter Maddy, a character who has become quite interesting in recent novels especially since it’s looking like she might follow in her old man’s footsteps.

So “The Burning Room” is another example of why Michael Connelly is one of the finest crime writers out there and why the Harry Bosch series is one of the best police procedural series of all time. I’m very eager to see where the character and the series goes next.

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Categories: Book Review, Harry Bosch