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Over the years I have become a massive fan of Michael Connelly. I used to love reading James Pattersons thrillers but he soon started churning far too many books out over the course of the year and his stories stopped being so original. After finding an old Michael Connelly paper back and reading it over the course of 2 or 3 days I have always looked out for new releases.
When The Drop was released in late 2011 I couldn't wait to get started and was pleased to discover that Harry Bosch was returning as the central character. Bosch has appeared in several of Connellys books over the years and I have warmed to his character as a somewhat unloved and almost lost character who only knows how to be a cop.
Connelly introduces the book with setting the scene in the Open Unsolved Unit in the Police Administration Building in Los Angeles. We are told of a cold case dating back to 1989 of a sex related murder. The case has recently been relooked at and the DNA has been matched to an ex convict who has been prosecuted for indecent exposure, false imprisonment and forcible rape. You instantly know something is wrong as you have been told this information within a page or two of the book and in the cover sleeve, as the DNA profile has been matched too quickly. The something wrong is that the convict was only 8 at the time of the murder and Bosch must figure out how and why the DNA of this convict was at the murder scene. What follows is a game of cat and mouse as Bosch chases down the truth.
What I liked about this book is rather than having the one main story, it actually has two running alongside each other. This is in my opinion more realistic, although I have never been a police officer, I can only assume that due to workloads, a detective would have more than one case assigned to him at any one time, especially when one of them is a cold case. The second case Bosch is assigned to has trouble written all over it as Councilman Irving Irvine's son is found dead from an apparant suicide after jumping from the top of Chateau Marmont. Although the reader may not necessarily know if they are new to Connellys books, Irvine has been intent on destroying Bosch's career over the years and this makes Bosch even more puzzled when he personally asks for Bosch to head up the case.
The book skirts around the possibility of the two cases being connected however, the reader only discovers whether this is the case at the very end. The cases can be quite complex at times with different possibilitys constantly working round in your head but Connelly certainly works his magic once again and leaves you guessing until the very end.
Connelly (in my opinion) is not well known for his cliff hanger endings within chapters but more for keeping the story quite fast paced throughout. He circles around different scenarios and possibilities but never actually writes them down. It's like he starts to go down one road but turns back and goes down another, meanwhile you are still travelling down the first road (hope this makes sense!).
The book is very well written as you would expect from an author of so many successful books. He writes to the point and involves you as a reader. The characters are easy to like and although Bosch is the main character, we are also interested in Chu (Bosch's partner) and even to some extent Pell, the convicted rapist who all evidence is pointing to in the sex related murder. Connelly skirts around police coruption, a serial killer and a political conspiracy but which one (if any!) will be the real ending?!
Praise for Connelly:
'A crime writing genius' Independent on Sunday
'The Greatest living American crime writer' Mirror
'The master storyteller' Sunday Telegraph