Archive for November, 2015

Book Review- “The Crossing” by Michael Connelly

November 14, 2015 Leave a comment

CrossingSo once again I start off another book review with a spoiler warning. If you’re not caught up on Michael Connelly’s amazing series of police procedural novels starring Harry Bosch do yourself a favor and go get caught up right now, because I feel there’s no way I can properly discuss or elaborate on the events of the latest book in the series “The Crossing” without touching upon the end of the series last novel, “The Burning Room.”

Okay, for those of you still here “The Crossing” is another phenomenal example of why the Bosch series has remained so fresh, relevant, and exciting for 23 years now. Over the course of those almost two and a half decades It’s main character Police Detecive Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch has changed. The cases he investigates and the choices he makes impact his life, and we readers have been there to see all the heartbreaking, poignant, and powerful effects they’ve had on his life. As I hinted at earlier the choices Bosch made at the end of “The Burning Room” had a huge impact because they effectively ended his association with the Los Angeles Police Department.

When we catch up with Harry in “The Crossing” we see he’s been cut off from his calling of finding justice for those who no longer can and his life has kind of become directionless. Then his half-brother, another one of Connelly’s unforgettable creations, defense attorney Michael “Mickey” Haller, offers him a chance to get back to his mission, but to do that he has to do the unthinkable. He has to “cross over” to the other side and help his brother, the self styled “Lincoln Lawyer” prove a client’s innocence.

Following Bosch as he comes to term with his brother’s offer and with the fact that he doesn’t have the shield of his badge anymore to protect him in his investigations is fascinating. He’s a resourceful detective trying to find his way in a new world, one where his brother cops are going to turn their back on him and hassle him for “Crossing” over. Some readers might remember that several years back Harry gave up his Detective’s Shield for a few novels and became a private investigator, but what makes “The Crossing” different is the fact that in those novels Harry wasn’t actively working for a Defense attorney, something that would be anathema to him.

So this is definitely a novel where Bosch grows and changes as a character, and it’s exciting to watch him try and succeed at  some things he’s never done and also make some large mistakes. It also gives the book a timely feel and forces Bosch to confront some dark truths about the criminal justice system.

“The Crossing” isn’t the first time Bosch and Mickey Haller have been in a book together, but it’s less like the novels “The Brass Verdict”and “The Reversal” where the characters were almost co-headliners. This novel is Bosch’s, but we do get to spend some time with Mickey and he remains a fascinating and fun supporting character. The chemistry he shares with his half-brother is fascinating.

We also get to spend some more time with Bosch’s daughter, Maddy, who we’ve watched grow up these last few novels. She’s getting ready to graduate high school and her relationship with her father is interesting and feels authentic. I hope if Connelly ever retires Bosch that he’ll focus on crime and detective stories with Maddy.

Another interesting aspect of “The Crossing” that I don’t believe Connelly has done much of in the past is he gives readers a chance to spend some time with some characters that are ultimately the villains of the story. We actually follow them for a few chapters. I don’t want to say much about those characters or the chapters for fear of spoilers, but they’re pretty interesting and effective. The more you spend with these characters the more you want to learn about their involvement in the story and the more you want them taken down.

So “The Crossing” is another reason why Michael Connelly is the best Police Procedural writer working today and a fantastic novelist. You get to follow character who feels like an old friend at this point through a powerful and exciting crime tale and a crossroads point in his life. The “Burning Room” left me excited for Connelly’s next Bosch novel and the finale of “The Crossing” has me even more excited to see what’s next for Connelly’s shared universe of characters.

Categories: Book Review, Harry Bosch

Book Review- “A Song of Shadows” by John Connolly

November 5, 2015 Leave a comment

song-of-shadows-225I try to keep all my reviews spoiler free, but John Connolly’s latest Charlie Parker novel picks up directly from the explosive conclusion of the last book in the series, “The Wolf in Winter.” It also answers some questions about the larger supernatural story the writer has been telling over the course of the series, while raising more interesting questions. So I’m going to have to kick this review off with a very large SPOILER WARNING! If you haven’t read any of the books in Connolly’s Parker series go read them, and if you’re behind get caught up! you’ll be glad you did!.

So now that that’s out of the way let’s dive into the latest Parker novel “A Song of Shadows.” It’s quite an interesting read seeing how for most of it our lead character is trying hard to recover from the near fatal shooting he suffered at the end of “The Wolf in Winter.” So Parker is broken in body, but not mind or spirit. Connolly picks things up with his protagonist renting a house in a Small Maine vacation style town named Boreas So there’s a cool and almost melancholy vibe when things begin. It’s almost like the fascinating first season of BBC’s “Broadchurch”; not in terms of plot, but initial mood or tone.

Parker is in this town trying to get better with the assistance of his friends (two of the best supporting characters in crime– and heck any genre fiction!) Angel and Louis. It’s nice to have Angel and Louis as part of the story from the get go. It makes sense too considering these guys would be there for Parker as he’s trying to overcome his devastating physical injuries and decide if he’s going to go back to his old job as a private detective or become something different.

So Parker is testing himself physically day by day with walks and strengthening exercises and then trouble arrives to test him mentally and spiritually. That trouble appears in two forms; a body that washes up on shore and a haunted single mother neighbor whose sick daughter Parker bonds with. That connection opens the door to the emergence of a character who has become a regular reoccurring character in these books, Parker’s daughter, Samantha, who comes to visit him and has a playdate with his neighbor’s daughter.

I’ve always liked Sam. She’s been a cute and interesting character, but in “A Song of Shadows” you get a glimpse of just howImageHandler.ashx interesting Sam really is. Questions are raised like does seeing and communicating with ghosts run in Parker’s family? And like Parker, does Sam have a larger supernatural destiny? Connolly provides some definite answers to some of those questions and some cool, creepy, and tantalizing hints about the others.

The parts with Sam were some of my favorite sections of the book, but the main mystery is fairly interesting as well. The washed up body puts Parker in the sights of hitman and a sinister conspiracy of people who have lots of blood on their hands; blood that’s decades old. So it’s not his reoccurring foes, The Believers, but it’s a conspiracy of people who are arguably just as evil, if not more so.

Investigating those crimes and recuperating brings Parker back into the circle of some other fun and fascinating faces, both old and new. Characters like the Fulci brothers and Parker’s Ex Rachel make some entertaining appearances, but I also enjoyed spending time with Parker’s state police contact Gordon Walsh, who finds himself becoming even more immersed in the Detective’s dark and sinister world. I also liked the Chief of Police in Boreas who found herself strangely drawn to Parker.

As far as big cases and explosive action go the one in “A Song in Shadows” is relatively quiet. Some people might be disappointed in that, but it makes sense. Ultimately, the novel is not about that. It’s a more quiet piece about a wounded man finding his way back and deciding what kind of destiny he wants for himself, while also discovering if he has any choice in that destiny. What Parker finds in those last pages of the book are both chilling and exciting. It sets the stage for some truly epic stories and takes the series in a new and interesting direction. As always, I can’t wait to see where the series goes next.