Monday, January 25, 2016

The Burning Room

Harry Bosch's days with the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit are numbered - and have dwindled down to what Harry considers to be a precious few.  Harry figures that if he doesn't rock the boat so much that the upper brass finds a reason to cut him loose early, he might have one more year in him before the department forces him into retirement.   But it won’t be easy because a cold case with huge political implications has just been dumped in Harry's lap.

Ten years ago a Mariachi band guitar player took an unexplained bullet in a very public setting.  The good news was that the bullet did not kill the man; the bad news was that it lodged deeply in his spine and paralyzed him.  All these years later, the man has died and the coroner declares his death to be directly attributable to the bullet in his spine - meaning that the cold case has now become a murder case. 

Harry Bosch has a long history of letting his mouth get him into trouble when it comes to dealing with fools and incompetents, especially when he is forced to directly report to one or two of them.  He just can't help himself; Harry takes his job seriously and unsolved cases haunt him forever.  So when told to back off on an investigation for political reasons, Harry is much more likely to find an under-the-table way to get the job done than he is to back away as ordered. This is not a habit likely to endear Harry to his superior officers.  And this time around, things are even trickier than normal because he is also responsible for mentoring and training Lucky Lucy Sota, a brand new detective just assigned to him, and Harry does not want to get her fired from the department on her first case. 

Author Michael Connelly
The Burning Room is more than just another chapter in the long career of Harry Bosch because, just as Harry realizes that he will not be with the LAPD much longer, fans of the longtime series face the same reality.  Those of us who have aged right alongside Harry (and who have experienced many of the same frustrations and joys) know what he is going through at this stage of his career and life, and we particularly enjoy Connelly's evolution of the Bosch character's state of mind.  That is perhaps the greatest appeal these days of the Harry Bosch books to readers who have read all or most of the series.  Michael Connelly's mystery plots are still some of the finest ones being written today, but to readers like me, it is all about Harry. 

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