by Michael Connelly
This is Connelly’s 20th Harry Bosch mystery in 25 years. Bosch has been bounced through the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), been given a variety of partners, sent to the dog house for perceived bad behavior, retired from the department, sued the department and successfully won back the pension denied him previously. His ex-wife has died and his daughter has gone on to college.
As I flipped open the book to discover that Bosch has come out of retirement to work cold cases part time in the San Fernando Police Department, I thought, “How many more stories does Bosch have in him?”
A lot, this book proves.
Even in retirement and digging at cold cases in a small, backwater town in Los Angeles County, Bosch is in danger of losing his reputation thanks to the District Attorney’s (DA’s) office and his less-than-supportive former colleagues.
He gets a heads-up text that his former partner Lucy Soto, her new partner Bob Tapscott and Deputy District Attorney Alex Kennedy are driving into San Fernando from downtown L.A. to talk to him.
Kennedy tells Bosch a death row prisoner at San Quentin, Preston Borders, is saying that Bosch mishandled the investigation that led to his conviction of killing wanna-be actress Danielle Skyler 30 years earlier. Borders is asking that his conviction be overturned and reinvestigated. Kennedy tells Bosch new DNA evidence has come to light. Bosch doesn’t believe it’s possible.
During his conference with the DA and LAPD, a call comes into the San Fernando Police Department (SFPD) about a shooting at a local pharmacy. The pharmacists, father and son, are dead. The job looks professionally done. Bosch walks away from the conference to investigate the crime.
This book combines at least three mysteries. First, how was new, false evidence inserted into the sealed evidence box for Borders’ case? Secondly, who killed pharmacists Jose Esquivel Senior and Junior and why? Thirdly, what happened to Esmerelda Tavares, a young mother, who disappeared in San Fernando 15 years earlier, leaving her baby in a crib? The Tavares case is a cold one that has haunted SFPD Chief Anthony Valdez and now Harry.
Each sheds new light on the crimes that a police officer in 2017 faces, from the ongoing impact of the 2008-09 banking and lending crisis to the opioid crisis to utterly self-centered individual crime.
Connelly continues to sustain characters — not only Bosch but his half-brother attorney Mick Haller, who plays a role in this mystery — even as they age, evolve as people and face dramatically changed circumstances.
Suspenseful, well-written, timely and full of surprises, this is a wonderful winter read.