Connelly, Michael. The Drop.

NY: Little, Brown, 2011.

Detective Harry Bosch, who has been with the LAPD for more than forty years now, is facing absolute, mandatory, no-more-extensions retirement — thirty-nine months and counting — and while he accepts the inevitable, more or less, he’s not very happy about it. He just wants to spend the rest of his life solving murders.

These days, he’s on his second tour in the Open-Unsolved Unit, tracking down killers based on new DNA technology, partnered with the much younger David Chu, who prefers cold-case work because he’s really not good with blood-and-gore crime scenes, not to mention postmortems. The two have just drawn an interesting new/old case in which the blood found on the body of a rape-murder victim back in 1989 has now been matched to a convicted sex offender — except that the guy was only eight years old at the time. Something wrong there — possibly in the state crime lab, which would be bad news for thousands of other pending cases. But they’re still scratching their heads over that one when a “forthwith” order comes down from the Chief’s office: The middle-aged son of Councilman Irvin Irving has apparently committed suicide by taking a dive off the top floor of a luxury hotel. Irving and Bosch have been teeth-baring enemies for years and Bosch was largely responsible for pushing him out of the Department (and into politics, unfortunately) — but Irving also regards Bosch as having great integrity when it comes to doing his job, as well as very considerable professional skill, and he insists on the best and most honest investigation possible into his son’s death.

Connelly keeps the reader somewhat off-balance for the first three-quarters of the book, as Bosch tries to decide between accident, suicide, and murder in the Irving case, with the cold-case investigation mostly lurking in the background. And the Irving matter doesn’t turn out at all the way you would expect. An interesting investigation, but ultimately a bit flat in the resolution. In the old rape-murder case, on the other hand, hardly anything of substance happens until the very end, where all the action is crammed into a couple of chapters. True, Harry develops another love interest, and he and Chu have issues, but those are all peripheral to the reader’s interest. For most of the book, the second plot-line seems a slap-up job to fill out the expected page-length. Maybe it’s about time Harry did retire.

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Published in: on 29 May 2012 at 6:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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