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Posted: March 29, 2020

Connelly still one of America’s most interesting novelists

Book Review

By Derryll White

Connelly, Michael (2002).  City of Bones.

This novel is the eighth in Michael Connelly’s extensive Harry Bosch series.  I always thought I would like to read the Bosch novels in sequence, but there are so many and other authors often take me in other directions.

This is the story where the Deputy Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department labels Detective Bosch a “shit magnet” and demands Bosch start moving toward retirement, soon. The novel ends with Bosch seemingly completing that demand.

The case Bosch is working revolves around bones found on a fairly remote empty lot. He ties that in with the La Brea tar pits and the ancient bones being spewed out of that periodically, also located within the city of Los Angeles. The City of Bones becomes an operating reality throughout the story.

Connelly makes this a murder mystery, a love story and a story of growth and redemption.  He pulls so much into a novel that is marketed as a ‘Mystery’.  The thing about Michael Connelly is that he is a ‘closer.’  He takes the reader on a wild ride through the streets of Los Angeles, history, and the minds of men and women who serve in the L.A.P.D.  His images are sometimes harsh and sometimes beautiful. His sentiments are sometimes embracing and kind, sometimes judgmental and cold.

Michael Connelly is a writer that seriously examines the human condition and Harry Bosch is a wick that draws all to the candle of Connelly’s stories. I still find Michael Connelly one of the most interesting of America’s novelists.


Excerpts from the novel:

POLICE KARMA – He had caught the worst kind of case there was to catch.  A child case.

Child cases haunt you.  They hollowed you out and scarred you.  There was no bulletproof vest thick enough to stop from being pierced.  Child cases left you knowing the world was full of lost light.

CHILD ABUSE – “Comparisons to the indices of Maresh growth standards put the age at approximately 10 years old.  However, as we will soon discuss, this child was the victim of severe and prolonged physical abuse.  Histologically, victims of chronic abuse often suffer from what is called growth disruption.  This abuse-related stunting serves to skew age estimations.  What you often get is a skeleton that looks younger than it is.  So what I am saying is that this boy looks ten but is probably 12 or 13.”

CHOICE – He knew that explanation and assignment of blame was too simple and wrong.  Ultimately he knew, people chose their own path.  They can be pointed and pushed, but they always got the final choice.  Everybody’s got a cage that keeps out the sharks.  Those who open the door and venture out do so at their own risk.

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org.

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