Nine Dragons

by Michael Connelly

Paperback, 2010

Call number





Vision (2010), Edition: Reprint, 480 pages


The murder of John Li, a South L.A. liquour store owner, hits LAPD Detective Harry Bosch hard, and he promises Li's family that he'll find the killer. As he uncovers a link to a Hong Kong triad--a lethal and far-reaching crime ring that follows many immigrants to their new lives in the U.S.--his world instantly explodes and the person he holds most dear is taken from him.

Media reviews

Whenever authors interrupt a conventional plot to send their series sleuth to some exotic clime, you tend to suspect them of writing off a vacation as a research trip. Michael Connelly doesn’t quite put that suspicion to rest with Nine Dragons, in which he takes a long pause from an investigation
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into the murder of an old Chinese shopkeeper in Los Angeles and dispatches his detective, Harry Bosch, on a daredevil mission to Hong Kong. But Connelly goes on to resolve both Harry’s home-turf case and that nasty business in Hong Kong in his customary ­double-barreled style of action and intelligence. So let’s just say that a good writer can get away with just about anything he wants to.
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4 more
The center of the book is a breathless, bloody quest through a city Bosch barely knows, a teeming metropolis of skyscrapers and high finance in the midst of celebrating the ancient Festival of Hungry Ghosts. It's a foray outside his usual haunts that works, and one that takes him into new emotional
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territory as well.
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Harry's personal and professional lives overlap in the engrossing Nine Dragons, the 15th novel — and one of the best — in this series. Nine Dragons works as a gripping police procedural, an intense character study and an international thriller. The novel also explores a man learning to become a
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father, serves as a travel guide to the back streets of Hong Kong police and provides an in-depth look at Los Angeles' Asian community.
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To say that "Nine Dragons" is coiled tight with suspense understates Connelly's accomplishment in portraying Bosch at the cusp of a new world... And though Connelly remains a master at detailing the intricacies of "the job," it is Harry's longing for reunion and connection with his ex-wife and
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daughter, the overwhelming vulnerability he feels as a father, that makes "Nine Dragons" another standout in the series that should satisfy all readers, whether they are new to Boschworld, occasional visitors or devoted denizens.
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The appearance of a third Connelly title in a year would be excellent news if Nine Dragons, his latest offering, didn't read like it had been scribbled during a red-eye from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, the two cities where the slapdash action unfolds.

User reviews

LibraryThing member DJ_Cliffe
I haven't read any of Connelly's other books and would like to in order to compare the writing. I found the writing in this book choppy and stilted. I felt, particularly in the first two thirds, as though I was being talked down to. I think he was writing for (or was edited for) the lowest common
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denominator and it shows.

That said, the story was an enjoyable one. I was a little disappointed at the rushed ending. I felt as though I was being tossed a ball of noodles in an effort to close things off. He could have taken a little more time to wrap things up.
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LibraryThing member auntmarge64
This has a very slow start, but I kept at it because I like the Harry Bosch series and have read the previous 14 volumes. By mid-way it suddenly picks up steam, and action and surprises come fast. Well worth the effort.
LibraryThing member edwardsgt
Cracking Harry Bosch story, with Harry zeroing on a liquor store killing that bears the hallmarks of a Triad killing and leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake as he ruthlessly pursues the perpetrators and drags in his ex-wife Eleanor Wish now living in Hong Kong with their daughter Maddie.
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Relentless pace with several unexpected plot twists before all is revealed. Make sure you have time to read this in a few sessions as you'll be hooked!
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LibraryThing member LisaLynne
9 Dragons by Michael Connelly is the latest installment in a series of novels focusing on Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch of the LAPD. There's a shooting that may involve a Hong Kong triad, a reluctant partner, a detective from the Asian Gang Unit that Harry's not sure he can trust. That's just
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a typical day for a fictional detective, until the case strikes close to home: Harry's teenage daughter, Maddie, goes missing and he receives a video from her kidnappers. She is clearly in danger and there's every indication that it is tied to the Triad shooting. Harry is on the next plane to Hong Kong and he intends to bring his daughter back, no matter what.

I am a big fan of detective novels, and I love a good series -- you get a chance to get to know the characters, to see them succeed (or fail) and to see what happens in their lives. Harry Bosch is a great example. We've seen him through various ups and downs during his time with the LAPD (IAD investigations, transfers from Robbery Homicide to the cold case squad and back again) and turmoil in his personal life, including having his home destroyed in an earthquake. We saw him briefly married to Eleanor Wish, a former FBI agent who is now a professional poker player in Hong Kong; their daughter -- a daughter Harry never knew he had -- lives with her mother overseas.

The story starts with a shooting in a liquor store; not an uncommon occurrence in LA. The victim is an elderly Chinese man, someone Bosch met many years ago, and he feels a strong connection to the case. He's a little out of his element -- he doesn't speak the language or understand the family's customs. Consulting with the Asian Gang Unit leads to suspicions that a Triad may be involved -- the victim appears to be paying off a customer with a suspicious tattoo on a surveillance tape.

Because Chu is unable to get a quick translation of the Chinese tattoos on the victim (which makes Bosch suspiscious), Bosch sends pictures of them to his daughter in Hong Kong. Maddie is able to make the translation and although Bosch cautions her to keep quiet about it, well, she's a teenaged girl with pictures of a real-life murder victim on her cell phone! She is bound to tell somebody. A few hours later, Bosch has a video message showing his daughter, tied to a chair, the victim of a kidnapping.

Hong Kong is a very different world from Los Angeles, but Bosch is determined to protect his daughter. His ex-wife, Eleanor, and her colleague, Sun Yee, are able to provide some help, but Harry is running on instinct. He needs to find his little girl before she disappears into an Asian underworld of triads and human traffickers.

The story moves at a whirlwind pace and sweeps you right along with it. The characters are real and honest -- there are no saints in this story and they will get a chance to try and atone for their sins. There are mistakes and mis-steps along with flashes of brilliant investigating. It's a terrific addition to a terrific series.
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LibraryThing member spvaughan
Read well by Len Carion, unabridged (of course)! Won by Me!

Harry is a cop. A Chinese shopkeeper has been murdered. Was it a member of the Tong or someone else? How is this going to involved his daughter and her mother in China? Is there a leak in the cop house? Who can Harry trust? The answers will
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come as Harry 'globe trots'! The action and pace are fast and furious! 'Just the kind of book I like!

O, this is another of Hachette Audio books.. I like what they do!
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LibraryThing member gandara
I am very very disappointed.too bad.
LibraryThing member raaurora
Michael Connelly is one of my favorite authors, but this could be the worst book he has ever written. The issues with his ex and his daughter felt forced, his half brother drops into the story out of nowhere and then is gone just as abruptly, jetting back and forth between California and the Pac
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Rim. It felt like a quilt that was badly put together - the pieces just don't fit with each other.
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LibraryThing member Magpie49
I have read just about all the Michael Connelly books and I particularly enjoy the Harry Bosch books . This one, however, disappoints me somewhat. It reads like an airport thriller, not the considered dramas we have come to expect. The basic plot is a good one, and we would anticipate a great read
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as Harry goes about his business.
Unfortunately, the premise of a LA cop flitting off to Hong Kong to tackle the Triads (about which he knows very little)in a weekend and be back to LA in time for work on Monday morning beggars belief, especially given the number of bodies he leaves behind. I thought bringing in the Lincoln Lawyer to help keep Harry out of trouble with the HK constabulary was a nice touch, although slighy unreal in the manner they were dealt with.
Methinks Mr Connelly didn't put in as much effort into this book as he could have. Overall, only a fair read for the Harry Bosch fan, but shoot-em-up thriller readers who aren't as much concerned with plot and character development will probably enjoy it. In any case, after so many good reads, we have to expect an occasional bomb, so we shouldn't be too harsh.
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LibraryThing member etrainer
I could not put this one down. While I agree with other reviewers that Harry Bosch's action filled 24 (or less) hours in Hong Kong seemed a bit contrived and illogical, the story was intriguing, so I had to keep reading. There were the usual twists at the end—some were telegraphed and some were
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not. Harry's aggressive style of detection seemed at its finest in this novel, though it has now been a few years since I began reading Connelly's novels. I would recommend them all to mystery lovers. Nine Dragons is probably not the best, but they all are very fun to read.
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LibraryThing member mrtall
Michael Connelly’s latest entry in his Harry Bosch police procedural series hits very close to home – in two ways.

First, Harry is embroiled in a complex plot involving Chinese Triads, with events ranging from LA all the way to Hong Kong – and it’s his own daughter who becomes a pawn in
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their game. Second, since I’ve lived in Hong Kong for over two decades, it was fun to see one of my favorite fictional characters pay a visit.

But this is not one of Connelly’s better efforts. The police procedural phase of the story is over and done with so quickly you realize it comprises just an introduction to the real meat here, which is a suspense/chase sequence set in Hong Kong. To be kind, Bosch is Bosch throughout – impulsive, bull-headed, cranky and tough – and this leads to a series of misunderstandings and missed opportunities that give the story more heft and interest than the standard suspense/thriller.

But many turns in the plot burst right through the bonds of plausibility, especially when the story moves to Hong Kong. And although Connelly manages to get some details about HK right, he whiffs completely – or simply misrepresents – many more. Unlike the vicious, chaotic urban nightmare Connelly presents, Hong Kong is crowded but orderly, and it’s incredibly safe. Also, Connelly distorts HK’s geography in odd and unnecessary ways; there seemed little reason to do so in order to fit the plot, so I was left wondering if he spent any more time here researching than Harry did tracking down his daughter.

So recommended, but with reservations. There are many, many better choices in the Harry Bosch series.
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LibraryThing member VickiLN
This is #15 in the Harry Bosch Series and the first one I've read. I usually never read a book from a series out of order, but with 14 before it, I decided to break my own rule for the first and probably the last time. Bosch is an LAPD Detective and in this book he enters a world he is unfamiliar
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with. The store owner of Fortune Liquors, John Li, who he has known for years, is murdered. He promises the Li family that he will find whoever killed him. He uncovers a link to a Hong Kong triad, a lethal and far-reaching crime ring that follows immigrants to their new lives in the U.S. Bosch's 13 year old daughter is kidnapped by members of the crime ring to try and force him to stop his investigation. The book was full of action and kept me interested, but the plot seemed very unlikely to me and I didn't like the way the book seemed to stereotype Asians. I don't think all people within a race are the same, which is what the book seemed to imply. There were a few sad moments in the book and some that made me laugh although I don't know if that was the authors intent, since I've been told I have a strange sense of humor. The ending seemed strange, but maybe it was Connelly's way of leaving the door open for another in this series. I can't say I loved this book but I did enjoy it.
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LibraryThing member bhowell
Early reviewers
This is the first Michael Connelly book that I have read and it is a good escapist thriller. As for Harry Bosch, well, he is not the brightest light. One reviewer noted that the bull in the china shop is back and there were other comments to the same effect. Harry lets testosterone
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be his guide. Give him a situation and he rushes in. So when his 13 year old daughter is kidnapped in Hong Kong, Harry springs into action but with no real plan. The narrative is exciting and frequently humerous, though perhaps given the bodies strewn in Harry's wake, amusement is less than sensitive. The descriptions of Hong Kong are well researched and entertaining and the action never stops. Harry is not a clever detective but sometimes he looks back and sees that he really messed things up.

"There were things that didn't make sense to him without having all the information, but there was still a chronology and a chain of events that he could put together. And as he did so , he knew that everything led back to his own actions."

But Harry never thinks too deeply about anything and he moves on quickly to his next brilliant move.
I spoke to a friend who has read many of the Harry Bosch novels who said that he did not finish a couple of books because he was so frustrated with Harry's stupidity and it spoiled the plot.

Connelly's Harry Bosch series reminds me a little of the very successful Bob Skinner mysteries by Quintine Jardin. Like Harry, Bob is not the brightest light but he is very entertaining and quite possibly realistic. So you have to embrace that concept to enjoy these books.
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LibraryThing member DBower
Michael Connelly hits another home run with this book. It is a quick, easy, and fun read. I have read and continue to read everything he writes - never disappointed.
LibraryThing member pharrm
Great read. Bosch is investigating a killing of a Chinese man in a liquor store. the story moves into intrigue with Bosch's daughter in Hong Kong.
LibraryThing member dspoon
Fortune Liquors is a small shop in a tough South L.A. neighborhood, a store Bosch has known for years. The murder of John Li, the store's owner, hits Bosch hard, and he promises Li's family that he'll find the killer.

The world Bosch steps into next is unknown territory. He brings in a detective
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from the Asian Gang Unit for help with translation--not just of languages but also of the cultural norms and expectations that guided Li's life. He uncovers a link to a Hong Kong triad, a lethal and far-reaching crime ring that follows many immigrants to their new lives in the U.S.

And instantly his world explodes. The one good thing in Bosch's life, the person he holds most dear, is taken from him and Bosch travels to Hong Kong in an all-or-nothing bid to regain what he's lost. In a place known as Nine Dragons, as the city's Hungry Ghosts festival burns around him, Bosch puts aside everything he knows and risks everything he has in a desperate bid to outmatch the triad's ferocity.
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LibraryThing member Kathy89
This one is a page turner. Starts out with Harry Boesch investigating a burglary/homicide of at a liquor store. Harry believes an Asian Mafia called the Triad is behind it. Harry is working with a new partner, an Asian, who he doesn't know whether he can trust. Then Harry's daughter is kidnapped in
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China where she lives with her mother. Harry goes there to find his daughter and is in way over his head there. He's still out of his element when he bring her back home and starts being a parent.
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LibraryThing member EvilynJ
Harry Bosch is assigned to investigate the murder of a liquor store owner who was paying protection money to a Chinese Triad gang. Harry is not sure he can trust the Chinese-speaking detective he partners with when information regarding the case appears to be leaked. Then he receives a video phone
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clip from Hong Kong where his 13-year-old daughter Maddie lives showing her being held hostage and telling him to back off the investigation.

Fourteenth in the series. As always, Harry is resourceful, personable, and continues to grow as a character. Highly recommend the series.
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LibraryThing member LB121100
i am a big fan of Michael Connelly and this book was not a disappointment. Harry Bosch is the main character in Connelly's books and he makes him complex with each story. In this story a Chinese liguor store owner is murdered and Harry remembers the guy from an earlier encounter and wants to help
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out. But then his daughter is kidnapped in Hong Kong so Harry goes there to investigate. This is where the very suspenseful and exciting story begins. It is a good read and once again you will enjoy Connelly's tightly woven story.
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LibraryThing member ethel55
Harry Bosch is muddling along, working on getting used to a new office setting, a partner who's still a little gunshy and being a far away father to his teen daughter. A murder of an Asian liquor store owner eventually leads to the involvement of the Asian Gang Unit. Harry brings in a suspect and
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almost immediately, his family is in peril. His ex-wife and daughter live in Hong Kong and the case he has caught has long arms. Much of the story takes place in Hong Kong and Connelly navigates those foreign streets well. I've only read a couple of the Bosch books, and not really in any particular order. Nine Dragons is a solid mystery and the reader doesn't need to have read previous novels to become immersed in the story.
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LibraryThing member GingerV
It's Michael Connelly, it's Harry Bosch. There is no better combination but this book, in my opinion, was by far not the best. It could have been any detective, any where, I actually put it down which is rare with this author.
LibraryThing member AdmiralLHH
Connelly is a wonderful mystery writer. Details of new police procedures are fascinating. Found the ending to be a little disappointing - confession by daughter was too convenient.
LibraryThing member bookappeal
LA police detective Harry Bosch works the case of a murdered Chinese convenience store owner. Security camera footage and help from Asian Gang Unit Detective Chu lead him to the Triad, an extortion gang rooted in ancient Chinese tradition. But as Harry closes in, he receives a threat to back off
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and a video email attachment from his daughter, apparently kidnapped in Hong Kong where she lives with Harry's ex-wife (and forever love) Eleanor. In Hong Kong, Harry frantically pieces together clues with the help of Eleanor and her new man to locate Maddy, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. Back in the states, Harry must deal with the guilt of mistakes made.

Fast-paced and cleverly plotted. Contains significant police procedure detail - an odd combination of new and relatively old (cell phone) technology. The audio narration by Len Cariou is too labored for the pace of the book but does reflect Harry's old-school style. The book's appeal lies in the intricate story and Harry's new role as the father of a teenage daughter.
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LibraryThing member LaurieRKing
Harry Bosch is in trouble, although there's nothing new about that. But this time, Harry's young daughter is in trouble, too, all the way in Hong Kong.
LibraryThing member EAEL
Very enjoyable. I loved the twists in the plot. It held my interest right up to the final chapter.
LibraryThing member bookmagic
This is 15th in the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly. I think I read another of his books long ago, but I'm not sure. Now, after reading this one, I will definitely be reading more.

Harry Bosch is an L.A. homicide detective, and just got assigned a murder in a liquor store which killed the
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Asian owner, John Li. Harry realizes that this is not a robbery gone bad and starts to dig in. He makes a connection between the owner and the triad, a secret sociey that goes back hundreds of years in China. Now they mostly extort money from Chinese business owners.

But then the case gets personal and Harry is off on his own to Hong Kong, determined to find those responsible.

I really loved this book. It was fast paced with lots of plot twists. I like Harry Bosch, he is an interesting character, a renegade who does not trust easily. Even though Harry's past shows up in this novel, I did not feel that I missed anything by not reading previous novels. Except some great writing of course! I don't recommend starting this book at bedtime or you may be up until the wee hours of the morning. I was and was very tired at work the next day. But as soon as I got home, I picked this up again and finished it.
I definitely recommend this if you like suspense or crime novels.

my rating 4.5/5
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