A couple of days back I finished Lost Light, a detective thriller by Micheal Connelly. It’s a standard detective novel, nothing untoward, nothing unexpected. It shuffles along like it is on rails to the inevitable conclusion.
Ho hum. I appriciate that this is the seventh book featuring this character and I’ve not read any of those – I may be late to this party. I’ve no real interest in reading the other six though.
Michael Connolly has written seven books featuring the hard-boiled Vietnam vet-turned-LAPD detective Harry Bosch and Lost Light sees him ride again. The astringent and vivid realisation of the city of Los Angeles (quite as sharply done as in the great novels of Raymond Chandler) and the layers of complexity created for Bosch made him one of the most interesting and well-realised characters in modern crime fiction. Even the overused device of alcohol abuse in the detective was treated with freshness and imagination. Such non-Bosch titles as Chasing the Dime have their virtues, but most admirers will frankly be relieved that Harry is back in action.
When Harry Bosch left the LAPD, he took with him a murder file about a film production assistant killed four years before during a large-scale robbery on a movie set. The LAPD has decided that the stolen money was utilised to create a terrorist training camp, and there are moves to release the killer to enable the FBI to track down the terrorists. Needless to say, this does not go down well with the volatile Harry, and he soon finds himself up against his erstwhile colleagues at the LAPD and the implacable forces of the FBI.
In the earlier Bosch novels, it’s clear that the flintily wrought characterisation and gritty scene-setting concealed some less-than-original plots, but here we’ve got a triumphant marriage of innovative, hard-edge narrative and a parade of characters quite as vivid as any in the genre. The set pieces have all the usual panache, and the larger and more detailed canvas is carried off with considerable dash. –Barry Forshaw