Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Michael Connelly’ Category

Two Nights is a welcome departure from Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan series and does not delve into the forensics of murder. Instead, you get an action packed story that keeps you reading.

TwoNights

Sunday Night has a troubled past as a child, as a marine (?) and as a cop. It is just such an upbringing that entices dowager Opaline Drucker to hire her. A year ago her daughter and grandson were killed in an explosion at a Jewish girl’s school in Chicago. Her granddaughter, Stella, disappeared. The only sign of her existence was an attempt to access a bank account that only Stella and Opaline knew about. There has been no solution to the case, despite the ongoing Chicago P.D.  investigation.

Deep in her gut, Sunday thinks Stella is still alive. Because of her own troubled childhood, she feels a kinship with Stella, which is the only reason to leave her isolated island home in Charleston and head to Chicago.

Sunday criss crosses the country following leads, some of which are hunches as opposed to real leads. She butts heads with local law enforcement…of course. Her methods and demeanor are unconventional, but that is the appeal of Sunday Night. The ancillary characters are interesting characters as well, just adding to the appeal.

I’ll let you find out for yourself why the book is called Two Nights. I’ll let you find out for yourself how the case is resolved. But, I’ll warn you, once you start reading you may not want to put Two Nights down. Kathy Reichs has put together a good story.

As an aside, this new character for Reichs works well for her, unlike Renee Ballard, Michael Connelly’s new protagonist in The Late Show who, for all her rebelliousness, doesn’t generate the excitement that Sunday Night generates. Given the choice, you know which one I’d pick. Let’s hope Sunday Night appears in more books by Kathy Reichs.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

LAPD Detective Renee Ballard was relegated to the ‘late show’, the midnight to 8 AM shift, after her allegation of sexual harassment against her supervisor, Lieutenant Olivas, was dismissed. Her former partner, Ken Chastain, did not back her up, although he saw the entire episode.
TheLateShow
On patrol with her new partner, Jenkins, one night they answer a robbery call in which an elderly woman fears that her credit card was stolen. Additionally they are called to the scenes of the brutal beating of a transgender prostitute and to a multiple shooting at a local club. Wile Jenkins is satisfied doing his eight hours and going home to his sick wife, Ballard is eager to perform real detective work and volunteers to officially pursue the robbery, while deciding to  investigate the other incidents on the sly, in the case of the shooting against Olivas’ direct order to ‘stay away’. Evidence prompts her to theorize that the shooter was a police officer and Ballard naturally assumes Olivas is the culprit…a dangerous path for her.
This is the start of a new police procedural series by Michael Connelly, creator of Harry Bosch. This lackluster entry pits the driven Ballard against a hostile Olivas. (I’m not going to say who wins.) An interesting character, Ballard is a tame female version of Bosch, caring and driven to finding the truth at all costs.
However, the quick and tidy solutions to the robbery and beating are anticlimactic. An early reference to Bosch was totally gratuitous. While the action builds in the second half, it is half-hearted.  while I’m sure Bosch and Connelly fans will clamor for Ballard, she’ll need a little more grit to survive.
P.S. It’s telling when the best character is Lola, the boxer mix dog that Ballard rescued!

Read Full Post »

It’s tough when your competition are masters of the trade. Ed McBain and MurderDCMichael Connelly are the masters of police procedurals. Kathy Reichs is the master of forensic anthropology. The crown goes to Arnaldur Indridason for Icelandic mysteries and Thomas H. Cook for literary mysteries. And the head honcho for journalistic mysteries is Bruce DeSilva.

So, while Neely Tucker’s journalistic mysteries, which take place in Washington, D. C., are readable, they don’t live up to the bar set by Mr. DeSilva. In Murder, D. C. Billy Ellison, the son of a prominent Black family in Washington, is found washed up on the shore of the The Bend, the former site of slave trading and currently a run-down park used primarily for drug deals. Sully Carter, reporter for ‘the newspaper’, is the journalist on the scene. Initial interviews with Billy’s mother and her employer, the prominent lawyer, Sheldon Stevens, portray Billy as a boy who had everything. However, as Sully gathers more facts, they soon change their tune, stating Billy was gay and was dealing drugs in a big way. Private investigators hired by Stevens seem to be making as little progress as the police in solving Billy’s murder.

WaysOfTheDeadThose readers who met Sully in The Ways of the Dead, know he’s a likable character. He drinks a bit…well maybe a lot. He was reporting the war in Bosnia when he got wounded and has the scars and limp to prove it. He has a good working relationship with the police as well as one of the major drug dealers in the metropolitan area. And once he gets hold of something, he rarely, if ever, lets go. So, when things don’t make sense, Sully keeps plugging away, regardless of how many times he gets beaten up, suspended from work, etc.

However, Sully Carter doesn’t have the edge and cynicism of Bruce DeSilva’s Liam Mulligan. In addition, the turmoil that the news industry is going through is totally ignored. This is surprising in that Tucker is a journalist, a staff writer at the Washington Post.

The plot of Murder, D.C. is good. The characters are good. You’ll enjoy reading Murder, D.C. I just think you’ll enjoy the Bruce DeSilva/Liam Mulligan mysteries more.

Read Full Post »

Some things age to perfection. Would that it was Michael Connelly’sBurningRoom Harry Bosch series. The quality of the stories in this series range from great to not so great, with The Burning Room logging in somewhere around average. (This might be a good time to point out, though, that I’ve panned several mysteries recently that other journals have mysteriously (pun intended) lauded. So, you might take my opinion with a grain of salt.)

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.

Read Full Post »

LongGoodbyeI told Susan the other day that I liked Dashiell Hammett as a writer better than Raymond Chandler. But that was before I read The Long Goodbye. Yikes, was that good! Unlike the Maltese Falcon by Hammett which has three film versions which I wanted to watch, The Long Goodbye has two, one with DIck Powell and one with Elliot Gould as Marlowe. Neither actor is Marlowe, as far as I’m concerned, so no watching the movie for me. But that’s way off topic.

I really don’t want to go into the plot too much. It’s much better if you read it cold. But Marlowe, a ‘cheapie’ according to one gangster is hobnobbing with the rich set and of course gets into trouble, beaten up once or twice, etc. It also shows Marlowe’s ‘romantic’, ‘justice for all’ side. Once Marlowe is on your side, you’ve got a true friend.

There are so many passages I want to quote. Every page has one. Unlike modern authors’ descriptions of people (designer label, etc.) Chandler has a knack. So I’ll quote from the first page. “There was a girl beside him. Her hair was a lovely shade of dark red and she had a distant smile on her lips and over her shoulders she had a blue mink that almost made the Rolls-Royce look like just another automobile. It didn’t quite. Nothing can.” What writing!!!!!

Chandler seemed to use the book as an oratory on the ills of the world from crime to big business to dishonest politicians to drugs. It’s funny how nothing has changed since 1953.

As I’ve continued reading pulp mysteries (1953 was towards the end of the pulps), I more and more realize that there are no more ‘hard-boiled dicks’. They died with Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe and some of the other pulp detectives. Connelly’s Harry Bosch and Parker’s Spenser and McBain’s Steve Carella may aspire to such status but the writing style and thus the heroes have gone by the wayside. Quite the shame. But, hey, I haven’t exhausted the pulp genre and I understand that The Mysterious Bookshop will be issuing some reprints and there’s an unreleased Hammett book (The Hunter and Other Stories) coming out in the Fall. So, I’ll still have plenty to read.

Read Full Post »

On the drive to work today I was trying to figure out how to categorize Michael Connelly and Harry Bosch. Not in terms of genre. In terms of why I continue to read them. Like a good piece of chocolate, that first bite is oh so good. However, as you look at that 17th and last piece, begging you to devour it, it’s not quite as tasty. Yet, you can’t resist. And so it is with Harry Bosch and The DropI’ve invested a lot of time in Harry and, as each new episode is published, I feel compelled. Yet, they aren’t as sweet as the first. It’s sad to say that my favorite character has shifted from Harry to his daughter, Maddie. Surely, The Drop isn’t as catastrophic as the horrendous Nine Dragons, but it isn’t as savory as the earlier books.

In The Drop, Harry has two cases going on simultaneously. The first deals with a serial sex offender and the second deals with the death of George Irving, the son of his nemesis, Irvin Irving. True to form, Harry does his own thing and while the cases get wrapped up neatly, Harry suffers from his trade. Was he used as a political pawn? Did he not let justice take his course?

As I said, Maddie, his fifteen year old daughter, turns out to be the best character. Smart, observant, funny, she is the comic sidekick to Harry’s serious nature.

Reed Farrel Coleman, my new favorite mystery writer, said that he must age his characters to keep them interesting. I think one of my issues with Bosch is that while he’s aged chronologically, he hasn’t aged emotionally. He’s still the same maverick he was in the Black Echo. I can’t relate to him anymore.

So, like that last piece of chocolate, I’m most probably going to read the next Bosch installment. I’m just not sure I’m going to get as much satisfaction out of it. Good thing it’s a fast read and I won’t devote a lot of time to it. Sorry, Michael.

Read Full Post »