In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent.
As usual the plot and the writing is very satisfying. I hope that Connelly can put off Harry's real retirement forever.
The dialogue in particular bothers me. It really has the feel of a 'first pass' that was never cleaned up, with the author plugging in what he intends to say but never editing it later to make it sound realistic. The rest of the writing isn't much better. I think Mr. Connelly, who used to be one of my favorite writers in this genre, has reached the point where he's calling his work 'good to go' much too early, when several more passes of editing would do it a world of good.
As I mentioned above, the 2 plots represent fairly solid 'cold case' stories that could have stood independently if a writer who wanted to do the work was at the helm. Unfortunately, they were thrown together and, although they were both solved satisfactorily, more detail in both would have been better. Most of the procedural work seemed solid and Bosch's instincts were sharp, but in at least one situation I can think of a very unlikely discovery of evidence was a shortcut that might have been better handled more realistically.
It's sad to see "Harry" Bosch, one of the giant characters of police procedural fiction, riding off into the sunset in such a sad way. Contrast it with how John Sandford is handling the aging Lucas Davenport in his 'Prey' series and you'll see the difference between an author who has planned out and cares about the character's transition and one who seems to be just going through the motions.
This isn't a bad book, but if you want to read some really good Connelly you should try his early Bosch novels.
It's interesting to see Harry juggle parenthood with his work but as a Bosch fan I'm a little concerned about the ending of the book. What's next for Harry?.
The book includes a good plug for the doc film "Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story" about the jazz saxophonist, which author Connelly executive produced, with Bosch listening to downloaded tunes from the soundtrack (which I don't think exists yet actually - Harry Bosch an illegal downloader!?)
Bosch, a year and a half away from forced retirement, is working cold cases. He’s paired with relative newby, Lucia Soto, a heroine cop for being involved in a deadly shootout with armed robbers. A mariachi musician, Orlando Merced, who 10 years earlier was shot and paralyzed, has recently died and the cause was an infection directly caused by the bullet which was never removed, thus making it a homicide. An Hispanic mayoral candidate at the time,Armando Zeyas, used Merced in his campaign to illustrate the lack of police presence in the Latino neighborhoods and has now renewed the reward offer he made 10 years prior. There is little evidence to work with.
Soto has her own reasons for choosing Cold Cases. In 1989, as a young girl, she survived a fire in the derelict building that housed the illegal day care center she attended. Nine people, mostly children, died in the fire. The fire, originally deemed accidental, was ultimately determined to have been arson. No one was ever charged with the crime. She convinces Bosch to review the case, off the record, since their assigned case is getting a lot of internal and media attention.
There’s not a lot of action in The Burning Room, but that’s not necessarily a detriment since it’s a police procedural…more plodding than action oriented. However, in my opinion there are way too many wide leaps, stretches to get from the initial murder investigation to the final outcome. The story line is OK, not overly compelling but not bad.
I like Lucy Soto as a new character, anxious to please, willing to learn from the master, but no dope either. If Connelly wants to create a new series around a Hispanic protagonist, Soto would be the person character, showing how she comes into her own as a result of working with Bosch.
I just get the feeling Connelly is getting tired of Bosch; getting a little stale. After 17 books, it may be time for something new.
By: Michael Connelly
Little, Brown & Co.; 2014
From best selling author Michael Connelly, comes a new detective mystery, "The Burning Room" - you won't be able to put it down!
Soon to retire, Detective Harry Bosch and his new partner, Lucia Soto, work in the Unsolved Crime Unit in Los Angeles. Their first case together is a huge one - the recent death of a man named Merced, who died from complications of injuries caused by an unsolved sniper shooting ten years prior. Finally having the bullet that was embedded In Merced's spine, Bosch and Soto soon to begin to uncover new leads and new evidence, steadily expanding their search.
Additionally, when Bosch learns that his new partner, Soto, had survived an unsolved arson as a child in an illegal daycare where many children died, he agrees to help Soto try to solve the case.
"The Burning Room" is a thrill of a read! A must on any summer reading list.
I received this book for free to review. I am a member of NetGalley, Goodreads, LibraryThing and maintain a book blog at dbettenson.wordpress.com.