Monday, January 15, 2007

4. The Closers by Michael Connelly

The Closers cover pictureThis #1 New York Times bestseller was another xmas gift. I've never heard of Michael Connelly, but I'm sure I must have seen his books on some shelves in the airport. I am very suspicious of best-selling american modern crime and mystery novels. The few I have read have been poorly-written at best, stupid and obvious, usually with some form of extreme and titillating violence or a completely preposterous serial killer as the bad guy (James Patterson, Jeffrey Deaver are two prime examples of this). I now avoid them as a rule.

The Closers stars detective Harry Bosch, who retired from the LAPD for two years and then decides to come back again. His old partner uses her connection to the new police chief, who is portrayed as someone who really cares about bringing down crime, to bring Harry back. They are assigned to the newly revitalized unsolved crimes (thus, "the closers") unit and start on a case involving a young girl who was taken from her bed and killed in the forest 17 years before. A DNA match from a bit of flesh on the gun (matches that were not technologically possible when the case was first investigated) is the clue that jump starts the dead case. As they dig deeper, the crime reveals itself to be potentially very complex, involving racial politics and potential police corruption.

The Closers is definitely a step above the books I mentioned above. It is a solid and complex police procedural. Most of the book is the two detectives investigating. Asking questions, going over old evidence, doing research and slowly the layers of the case are revealed. There are a couple of false notes, particularly with the vague antagonist, in the form of a high-ranking officer (though I suspect his character played a bigger role in past Bosch books, if they exist). At the sentence level, it is competently written, though a bit clunky at times. The overall structure is excellently organized, delivering just enough information and pacing to keep you hooked in and able to remember what is going on. The case itself is really interesting, woven tightly into LA city politics and culture, but able to stand on its own. There is lots of great detail and info about police procedure and culture in LA.

I probably won't seek out another Michael Connelly book. But if I'm stuck in the airport with nothing to read, I would go to him before most other bestselling authors.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am reading a Michael Connelly book that is being serialized in the NYT Sunday magazine.

It is also a Bosch book and I am quite enjoying it.