Thursday, March 22, 2012

"The Drop"

It took me 78 days to read “11/22/63,” and three to read Michael Connelly’s “The Drop.” A flight delay of almost three hours at LAX helped, but such is the nature of Connelly’s books – once you get enmeshed in the plot, you just don’t want to let them go.

Plus, a Connelly book featuring Detective Harry Bosch is like a security blanket. Even if they’re a little frayed around the edges, there’s comfort in knowing that what you’re getting is going to be good, and make you feel just a little bit better about the world around you. “The Drop” is the first Bosch book in a while that sticks almost exclusively to the tried-and-true formula, and in this instance that’s a good thing, because it means that Connelly is again focusing on the things that Bosch does best – finding justice for those who have been wronged, proving his adage that “everyone counts, or no one counts.”

Moving Bosch to the Open-Unsolved (“cold cases”) Unit was an inspired choice by Connelly, because that is the ideal place for Bosch to exercise the code that he lives by. The cases that he works on are the ones that cry out for justice, the cases where the person who was murdered was just the first of many victims. These are the cases where open wounds remain for the living as well as those who are dead.

“The Drop” juxtaposes one of these cases with one that is entirely fresh, and reintroduces the character who has been Bosch’s greatest antagonist over the twenty years spanned by the novels – former Deputy Chief, and now City Councilman, Irvin Irving. Irving hates Bosch with a passion, but at the same time recognizes that Bosch is the best at what he does – and will pursue each case to its end, regardless of the ultimate outcome. So when Irving’s son is killed in a fall from the top floor at the Chateau Marmont, Bosch is presented with a classic “did he jump or was he pushed” case. And, as usual, finding the answers may prove to be hazardous to his career, if not his life. At the same time, Bosch and his partner are pursuing justice for a young woman killed many years before, and based on a “cold DNA hit,” they are brought to a suspect who simply could not have committed the crime. The perfect case for an obsessive like Harry Bosch.

Nothing ever comes easy for Bosch, and these cases are no exception. Throughout, he has to juggle his quest for justice with his love for his daughter, his desire to keep doing what he loves while becoming a target for those who would ruin him for political gain, and his always intriguing relationships with the women whose paths he crosses in the course of his work.

All in all, it’s a wholly satisfying mix – meaning that I can recommend, without pause, “The Drop.”

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