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The Late Show by Michael Connelly

I love the Hieronymous Bosch books. I’m only halfway through that Michael Connelly series and I have enjoyed them that is until I started reading small press crime fiction. You guys and gals have ruined me . . . for the better.

This past week, I had to drive from Wilmington, Delaware to Charlotte, North Carolina which is about an eight-and-a-half hour trip, so I decided to listen to my first audiobook ever, Michael Connelly’s The Late Show (Little, Brown and Company). I enjoyed listening to an audiobook as it took up a good block of time and it is better than listening to badly recorded podcasts, so this book had that going for it.

The Late Show is the story of Renee Ballard, a detective stuck unfairly on the late shift. The one aspect of the late shift Ballard does not like is that she doesn’t get to see cases through the end. Her job with her partner is to take down the details of a crime and then pass it on the correct desk so the 9 to 5 detectives can follow up. As you can guess The Late Show tells the story about Ballard finagles a case or two that she can actually see to the end.

My problem with Connelly’s recent book, and most likely with his other books, is that these are police procedurals where all the cops are good guys. There might be a cop that is a dick towards other cops, but any look at the brutality of American police or even an examination of cops breaking the law to catch the bad guys is white-washed. Ballard does some incredibly illegal acts in order to bring criminals to justice and there is no punishment for her violation of the rights of the suspects. If you are in the mindset that cops can do no wrong, this book is for you. In my mind, Connelly is so far embedded in the Los Angeles Police Department, he needs to be rescued, if indeed that is even possible now. If you are looking at Don Winslow’s The Force or Connelly’s book, just read The Force, it is much better.

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9 Dragons by Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch sat at his desk. He waited. Bosch needed to be moving, working a case, bringing a murderer to justice. The pursuit of a criminal was just as vital to Bosch’s well-being as food and water are to other people.

Now he saw the approaching lieutenant and he instinctively knew that his partner wasn’t going home early. Gandle was holding a piece of paper torn from a notepad and had an extra hop in his step. That told Bosch the wait was over. The call out was here. The fresh kill. Bosch started to rise.

This is what those of us who read the Bosch books what for; this is what we enjoy. The pursuit begins.

The case looks like a no-brainer as a Chinese liquor store owner is shot dead in his store that is located around 70th and Normandie near where the 1992 LA riots took place. But with any Bosch story, it is never as simple as it looks. As Bosch investigates, the case takes into the world of the triads and even to Hong Kong as his daughter mysteriously disappears.

This the twenty-first book of Connelly’s that I have read. Yeah, I am a bit of a fan boy. With 9 Dragons, Connelly continues to write fast-paced police procedurals that are exciting and well-plotted. Connelly’s LA universe was exactly what I needed after the debacle of Megan Abbott’s The End of Everything. I could easily read the rest of Connelly’s books one after another, but I will slow down and read a few other books before I move on to my twenty-second book of Connelly’s, The Reversal.

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The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

The Scarecrow by Michael ConnellyI do enjoy reading Michael Connelly’s novels and it will be a sad day when I finally catch-up to Connelly’s newest release. I have got a ways to go. In the meantime I finished reading Connelly’s The Scarecrow.

Jack McEvoy, who appeared as a main character in The Poet is a police reporter for the Los Angeles Time. The book open with McEvoy being laid off. In great capitalistic form, McEvoy even gets to train his younger and cheaper replacement.

The novel is told from two points of view: McEvoy and the criminal, Wesley Carver aka The Scarecrow. Carver, who runs a server farm, has a very peculiar taste in women as well as a partner. Carver and McEvoy’s worlds collide, and without giving anything away with the plot, Connelly does another wonderful job. Connelly has the ability to effectively keep the reader guessing, always changing things up, and always surprising the reader.

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The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly

I do not remember how I came across Michael Connelly, but I suppose it probably has to do with the 2011 Matthew McConaughey movie The Lincoln Lawyer. Though I didn’t see the movie until several years later.

The Brass Verdict is Connelly’s second “Lincoln Lawyer” (or Mickey Haller) novel which is major part of Connelly’s fictional universe that takes place mainly in Los Angeles. You might be more familiar with Connelly’s original character, a police detective named Harry Bosch. There are other minor series featuring the characters Jack McEvoy, Terry McCaleb, and Cassie Black. Not surprisingly, Connelly’s website has a chronology of his books. When reading a mystery series, chronology is somewhat important.

At my count, The Brass Verdict is the nineteenth Connelly novel I’ve read. Though this a Mickey Haller book, The Brass Verdict features Harry Bosch in several chapters as well as the newspaper reporter Jack McEvoy. Like The Lincoln Lawyer before it, this book is told in the first person by Mickey Haller. To say that Haller has his demons would be a understatment, but the reader roots for him nonetheless.

One of the exercises I run through will reading a mystery novel is that I try to guess how the story will unfold. As in all good mystery writers, Connelly is able to place red herrings through book which are quite deceiving and even though The Brass Verdict ended in a logical way I was unable to guess the ending.

Connelly’s books are well researched, rather, they appear to be well researched. Though I am not a lawyer (or even a police detective), Connelly’s fictional world seems real and filled with plenty of ridiculous policies and procedures that the characters must jump through in their professional world. How believable? The wife and I were watching an episode Suits the other night and based on my reading of Connelly’s Mickey Haller’s series I was befuddled by apparent court-room histrionics that seemed driven by an implausible plot rather than real life. Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s only TV, but those shows, movies and books that have a basis in reality are always just that much better.