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Although I am an avid reader of crime fiction, I had never read anything by Michael Connelly until I picked up this novel. Basically all my own books are packed away as I am in the process of moving (urgh!) so I grabbed one of my brother's books (a collection which is pretty limited!) to keep me occupied.
The Bosch Series:
Michael Connely is an American author who specialises in the crime fiction genre. He came to prominance through the Harry Bosch novels (of which The Closers is one), an LAPD detective who retired at one point and becomes a private detective, but returns to the police a few years on. The Harry Bosch series currently has 15 novels, with The Closers being the 11th, published in 2005.
This book does not contain many characters which are explored in depth, however the principle three are:
Harry Bosch- The lead character in the book, who has been tempted out of retirement by the new chief of police. Bosch is quite a typical 'hero' in my opinion- a tough streetwise detective with high morals who will do whatever it takes to get justice, even if his tactics are a bit maverick at times. He reminds me somewhat of Alex Cross from the James Patterson novels.
Kizmin 'Kiz' Rider- Bosch's partner. Kiz is more rational and calm than Bosch and somewhat levels him out in his thinking process. She has a good idea of the politics involved in the police force, due to previous experience in this department, however she is often left behind by her partner when he gets carried away with a thought train.
Roland Mackey- The chief suspect in the investigation who is discovered early on in the plotline. A mechanic by trade he is suspected of a murder which took place 17 years previously due to a DNA link, however Bosch and Rider have doubts, due to his obvious lack in intelligence.
Bosch is called back to the police force after 3 years of retirement to work together with his previous partner in a new unit to the force- the 'Open-Unsolved Unit', otherwise known as cold cases. The first case they get a break from is a murder of a 16 year old mixed race girl, Rebecca Verloren. There is now a dna record from a tissue sample found on the murder weapon which ties the gun to Roland Mackay. The trouble that Bosch and Rider have, is linking Mackay to the murdered girl.
As the investigation goes on they find possible corruption of the police department as the investigation of the murder when fresh was not as thorough as oerhaps it should have been. Having only just been reinstated on the force, Bosch must tread carefully to avoid putting anyone's nose out of joint, whilst obtaining justice for Rebecca and her parents, still distraught after 17 years.
I am always a bit sceptical about reading books that are so far into a series, however there was no problem getting into this particular one. There aren't many characters to get to grips with and Connelly does explain who the people are when they are mentioned for the first time. However there isnt so much depth that the readers who have read the previous novels would get bored. It seems the balance here is done right.
The plot is intruiging but is perhaps stretched out a bit far over the book. There are significant twists when the detectives follow the different avenues of the investigation, but some of them turn out to be irrelevent, so I dont really understant why they were mentioned.
Having said that, the writing style is very easy to read and follow. Apparently Connelly doesn't like to research his books and prefers to just sit down and write- not knowing where exactly the plot is going to go when he begins the novel. There were a lot of loose ends that were tied up neatly in the culmination of the story, something which I think was obviously thought about carefully and was pretty cleverly done.
I haven't read any other novels in this series or by this author, but my brother has another- Black Ice- and on the basis of this book, I think I will be giving this a read. I enjoyed the plot, although it is slightly drawn out and it is an easy crime read. You could probably ready several chapters quite easily without really realising it. Don't expect anything really surprising or out of the ordinary but this is a good read and would be perfect for a holiday book.
Available from 1p plus postage on Amazon marketplace.
I love that show. You know the one with the woman. She's a cop and she's really pale with blonde hair. Come on, you remember don't you? Nope, everyone forgets and that's the problem with crime. The show I am talking about is 'Cold Case' and is an American show on Sky about police opening up old cases and trying to solve them. The reason there are so many unsolved cases is because police resources are stretch too far, if you do not find the killer within a few days then the chances are you might never succeed. Despite this negativity it's certainly worth going back once in a while, developments in crime techniques and science means that new evidence could arise. Unlocking an old case can make for a good read - throw in a crime legend like Harry Bosch and surely you have the ingredients for a classic?
After so many books Detective Bosch is like a pair of reliable old shoes and in 'The Closers' he gets back to what he does best - solving crime. After almost three years of retirement Bosch is back on the force as part of a team revisiting old unsolved crimes. Things have not changed much since he's been away with the criminals still killing and the police still embroiled in politics. As soon as Bosch starts his first case an old adversary promises to finish his career again. Bosch must put aside his work struggles as his case is a 17 year old murder that has fresh evidence. Has Harry still got the skills and the hunger to catch a killer, even when the evidence is so stale?
'The Closers' is not a book that rattles along at 100 miles per hour. In fact, it's a pretty subdued book that follows the careful progress of Bosch and his partner Rider as they try to uncover a killer. Having read many crime novels I know that police procedural fiction can be very dull if treated badly. Luckily, Connelly is a master as he manages to make the dullest cases exciting to read. 'Closers' does not really get started until about half way, but I still enjoyed the red herrings and slow build up as it was so well written. The slow build up really helps the second half of the book pop off the page. There is a lot more action here as all the events come to a head. Once again Connelly shows himself to be one of the best writers of crime when it comes to creating a coherent and well balanced story.
Another area that would prove dull in the hands of a lesser writer is the police politics that act as a side story. I have recently watched 'The Wire' and alongside the likes of Connelly it shows that a good crime novel is only improved if the investigators are having to battle inside and outside of the department. 'Closers' sees the return of one of Bosch's most hated rivals, Irving. This man has had it in for Bosch for decades and will do anything to see him pushed off the force. The internal struggles that Harry comes under only help to build the tension as a cold case suddenly becomes as important as any fresh murder as Bosch's career hangs on success - an intelligent plot device by Connelly.
The other strong element in 'The Closers' is of course the character of Harry Bosch. I have read all of the Bosch books in order and I have come to really enjoy the hard nosed detective and his commitment to solving crime. What is good about 'Closers' is that it is a self contained book that can be read out of order. Anyone could pick this up and instantly enjoy it without needing knowledge of the previous 10 books or so. Bosch is a great characters to read about; he has now developed into a man who wants to do anything to solve a crime, but will now hold back if it means he may lose his job. Bosch has matured and as a reader it's been nice to see him grow.
The only real issues with 'The Closers' is as I mentioned - a slow first half and also its likeness to the show 'Cold Case'. The similarities are so close that the characters even describe their jobs as being like in the show! Apart from these minor issues this book is amongst the best of Connelly's novels and this is from an author who rarely misses. Bosch is an essential character for anyone interested in crime fiction and as a standalone title this book is as useful an introduction as the debut. If you are looking for some modern crime fiction that paints the day to day solving of a case in an interesting manner then you could not go far wrong with this book.
Author: Michael Connelly
Price: amazon uk - £4.39
play.com - £5.49
The Closers is the 15th novel from award winning author Michael Connelly, and it features his character Harry Bosch as he returns to join the LAPD.
After three years away from the force, Harry Bosch rejoins the LAPD, and is reunited with his former colleague Kiz Rider as they join the Open Unsolved Unit and attempt to solve cases from the past. One particular case launches out at them immediately, but its politically sensitive nature and content cause friction. The case uses recently discovered DNA to connect a white supremacist to the murder of a mixed race girl in 1988, and with Bosch's nemesis police chief Irvin Irving constantly lurking in the shadows, waiting for him to slip up, Bosch must solve the case without a hint of doubt.
Of more recent years, Michael Connelly's novels have been much more mature and thoughtful. His earlier books focused largely on character building and description in order for us to understand his characters. He had a couple of books where the standard slipped, and then he came back with a bang with his last 4 or 5 books. The Closers is very well written, and, with us as readers already knowing a lot about Bosch as a character, we are able to get involved in the very clever plot that the author has weaved.
Connelly's writing is addictive, and the words flow effortlessly from the page. The combination of Bosch and Rider is handled very well, with the issue of race related crimes being politically solid from Connelly as well as Bosch. A testament to a good book is when the author evolves as his character does, and that is certainly true of Bosch here. A very good read, especially when showing the corruptible nature of the police force.
I rate this book at 4 stars out of 5.
The book is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.19.
This review may also be posted on ciao.co.uk.
Thanks for reading.