Source: Netgalley Publication: Orion on 31 October 2017
Harry Bosch works cold cases as a volunteer for the San Fernando police department when he’s called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch and the town’s three-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of prescription drug abuse.
Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch’s LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him and that there’s new evidence which proves it. Bosch left the LAPD on bad terms, so his former colleagues aren’t keen to protect his reputation. He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison.
The two unrelated cases wind across each other like strands of barbed wire, and Bosch learns that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.
There’s always a frisson of excitement for me when a new Harry Bosch book comes out and this time was no different. I love the Harry Bosch character; that mixture of world weary seen-it-all cop and yet slightly idealistic for all that, as he vigorously pursues the cause of justice.
In the 20th in the series, Harry is involved in three cases. One is a cold case he is investigating involving the disappearance and suspected murder of a young woman named Esmeralda Tavares, a young mother who vanished, leaving behind her sleeping baby in a crib.
As he is following up on this cold case, he receives a visit from his former partner, Lucia Soto, alongside her current partner, Bob Tapscott and Alex Kennedy, the Deputy D.A. of Los Angeles. It soon becomes clear that the D.A.’s office is planning to re-open one of Harry’s old cases, one where he knows he caught the killer and put the right man behind bars. Newly discovered evidence means Preston Borders, a killer he put on death row thirty years ago, could be freed.
Borders and his lawyer claim Bosch planted key evidence and it soon becomes clear that if Harry wants to clear his name, he is going to have to do it on his own.
But first he is called out on a shooting to a local San Fernando drug store where a father and son have both been shot dead. As a result of enquiries made into this killing Harry goes undercover to expose the gangland world of prescription drug selling.
The plotlines slowly begin to mesh together in a way that surprises and shocks as Harry fights to save both his life and then his reputation.
There are intimations of mortality throughout this book. Harry is getting older and though able to take care of himself, he is less fit than he used to be and his thoughts whilst living in extremely dangerous conditions are all about the inheritance he can leave for his daughter.
As Harry pursues his cases, violent confrontations are never far away and he earns the respect of his colleagues as he relentlessly pursues the truth.
Meanwhile, as the D.A. builds his case and seeks to free the killer Bosch has put away, Bosch enlists the help of his half-brother Micky Haller, to help him defend his reputation.
(There’s a lovely piece in the book where Haller adopts the accent used by Matthew McConoughey when playing Haller, which just made me laugh out loud).
Working together, Haller and Bosch are quite a team, but as ever there’s still that adversarial edge to their relationship which means that they will never entirely play nice with each other.
As the story reaches its conclusion, there’s a quote from the book that sums up Harry and his experience.
‘Bosch knew there were two kinds of truth in this world. The truth that was the unalterable bedrock of one’s life and mission. And the other, malleable truth of politicians, charlatans, corrupt lawyers, and their clients, bent and moulded to serve whatever purpose was at hand.’
A terrific read, which had me gripped from first to last, this book was never less than compelling.
About Michael Connelly
A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connelly is the author of Harry Bosch thriller series as well as several stand-alone bestsellers, including the highly acclaimed legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer, selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club.
Michael Connelly has been President of the Mystery Writers of America. His books have been translated into 31 languages and have won awards all over the world, including the Edgar and Anthony Awards. BOSCH, the TV series based on Michael’s novels, is the most watched original series on Amazon Prime Instant Video and has just been commissioned for a second series. He lives in Tampa, Florida, with his family.