380 of 411 people found the following review helpful
After disappointing Harry Bosch tales (The Overlook, The Brass Verdict) Connelly has brought back the Harry that hooked me in the earlier tales. Harry is still back in homicide (no closer duty for him) and during a slow night he is asked to investigate a shooting in a "rougher" section of LA. Harry and his partner (Ferras) grudgingly take the assignment and learn that a convenience store owner was murdered in his store. The case draws Harry's interest because he remembers the store and that the owner was once kind to him several years earlier. He assures the owner's son that he will catch the culprit.
As Harry starts to realize that this might not have been a routine robbery but a possible execution by a Triad hitman. Harry starts to zero in on a suspect and then receives a threatening call to tell him to back off. Harry shrugs it off and continues but then his investigation stalls when he receives a video showing that his daughter (Maddy) being kidnapped in Hong Kong. He rushes off to save her realizing that if he is not back by the end of the weekend a possible suspect in the shooting will be set free.
It is a tense plane ride to Hong Kong and Harry feels powerless because there is nothing he can do in the air. When he gets to Hong Kong he is aided by his ex-wife (Eleanor Wish) and her boyfriend. Harry has limited clues but through very good forensic science he was able to possibly know where to look for Maddy. It becomes a race to find Maddy because any delay could mean that she might already be dead.
The tension of the chase is so tense you can cut it with a knife and the "determined " Harry definitely shows through. There is one sequence at a boat where the action is pulse pounding and the tension rife.
The book also has a short but excellent appearance by Mickey Haller (the Lincoln Lawyer and Harry's half brother) and there are references to Jack McEvoy (Connelly's other main character). As long as Mr. Connelly can deliver Harry Bosch tales of this caliber, Harry will continue to be one of the most intriguing law enforcement figures in fiction today!
117 of 133 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2009
In his latest thriller featuring LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, author Michael Connelly branches out into international waters. The plot involves Bosch investigating a murder of the Asian owner of a liquor store in South-Central LA. For translating purposes, Bosch calls in an Asian Detective, Chu, to help with the case. What unfolds appears to be a Asian Triad gang related extortion/murder. Meanwhile, Bosch's teenaged daughter is living in Hong Kong with her mother, who works for a swanky Hong Kong casino. After arresting a suspect, Bosch is warned to back off the case or eles "there will be consequences". Well, he soon receives a video on his phone showing his daughter being held hostage in Hong Kong. Is there a leak in the department? Is Chu playing both sides of the fence? Bosch drops everything to rush to Hong Kong to try to find his daughter. Similarities with the movie "Taken" are obvious. This is where the story starts to become somewhat far-fetched. The way he is able to find his daughter is somewhat ridiculous and things are written with a by-the-numbers predictibility. I'm not going to get into details but the ending is rather lame and unsatisfying and I look forward to a better effort from Connelly next time.
76 of 88 people found the following review helpful
I've long been a Connelly fan, especially of the Harry Bosch series. But I have to tell you, Connelly's surpassed himself with this one. As I've thought about it, I think this may well be the best Bosch book ever.
I won't rehash the whole story line here, as you can see that in the two other member reviews already up, and on the product page. Instead, I'd like to focus on why I've made such a grandiose statement.
The Bosch series is long-running and deservedly very successful. Of course, it's had its ups and downs; all series do. But Bosch is an iconic character from the Clint Eastwood mold of Dirty Harry and the Sergio Leone spaghetti Westerns: the loner who battles through any obstacles to see right prevail and justice triumph, even if he has to break the rules. Eastwood's made a career of this, as has Connelly. That's a good thing. I like that kind of entertainment, as do a whole lot of other people, obviously.
However, in this book Connelly breaks new ground for the character, exploring an emotional vulnerability - his love for his daughter, and how it animates him - that we haven't seen before. It's the driving force of the story, and to continue the Eastwood analogy, it's the same variance on a "trademark" character we saw Eastwood explore in some of his amazing later works like "Unforgiven", "Million Dollar Baby", and "Gran Torino".
Connelly also takes Bosch into an exotic and fascinating new locale: Hong Kong. This is really a treat, and he does it very well. I'd have liked to have seen even more of his take on the area, as I know it well, having been there many times, but take it from me: what you do see is a really accurate portrayal of one of the world's truly unique locales.
The story moves forward in a very driving yet well-disciplined fashion; very exciting; intellectually stimulating, and well- and throroughly-plotted.
Six stars! But I guess I'll have to settle for five.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2009
I'm a fan of Michael Connelly and Harry Bosch.
This book was a major disappointment.
The writing was way below par, wooden dialogue, plot strained. The international aspects seemed like a cheap way to fill pages. And Bosch makes so many stupid mistakes that it is hard to take his character seriously in this role.
It read to me like a book that was written primarily to fulfill a contract.
I really don't understand how some reviewers can call this one of Connelly's best. I had to struggle to keep reading through to the end.
I would recommend fans save their money and wait for Connelly to write a proper book.
52 of 63 people found the following review helpful
I was totally disappointed by this book. I am amazed that it has a solid 4 star rating. If you had changed Harry Bosch's name, I would never have associated it with this *normally* fabulous series. The writing and plot seemed so pedestrian. I always used to describe the Bosch series as a top of the line suspense/thrillers- books with a real edge to both the writing and characters, but this book was like a airport paperback. I also found the plot unbelievable, especially once Bosch went to and returned from China. I don;t want to add spoilers, but I found his behavior totally unrealistic once he returned home. I also found the link to the Lincoln Lawyer to be so thin- give us some meat if you're going to include that great character, not some thin cameo. Instead of trying to churn out a book or two a year, Connelly needs to concentrate on quality, not quantity.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2009
I have read so many of Connelly's novels that I couldn't wait to read this one...and after 100 pages I was sorry I was so anxious. To me it seems as though Connelly has simply whipped up a new novel of the month. This story has probably been on television numerous times with different characters and different locations, but they are all the same. As much as I was anticipating a great read, I now am hesitant to pick up his next book for fear it may be another Patterson or Woods book for the month. Sorry Michael, I'd bet that even you know this book is not one of your favorites either.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2009
I love Michael Connelly's Bosch novels. I think he's the best police procedural writer out there. His Harry Bosch is truly a modern reincarnation of Raymond Chandler's trench coat PI. But alas, "Nine Dragons" doesn't make it. It starts out promising with Harry in his natural environment - LA's sunny seediness. But his desire or need to shift the background to Hong Kong takes the story out of Harry's natural world and places him into a fantasy adventure. The entire middle of the book seems to be an excursion by Connelly into a world that he finds fascinating and mysterious. Unfortunately, I can't share that sense of excitement. Harry's excursion to Hong Kong seems manufactured and false. Harry Bosch may be a loner in sunscreen instead of trench coat, but he's not a knuckle walking feed'em the butt of your gun character which is what he becomes for way too many pages.
Harry Bosch is a product of Los Angeles - it's glamor, glitter, and faux glitz. Harry Bosch works best as the odd man out in a world where everyone recreates themselves day to day, minute to minute. But Harry is a constant - hard, but fair; a human under the badge. Unfortunately by putting him in an environment and situation where all he can do is react, he diminishes his potency and interest.
It's understandable how a writer can become weary of his creation. Heck, Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes but was forced to bring him back because of public demand. I hope Michael Connelly brings back the Harry Bosch of earlier novels and the shiny, seedy world of LA that is his home.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Other reviewers have amply outlined the plot here so I will not repeat their efforts. I have read every one of the Harry Bosch books and still love the character, but neither Bosch nor author Connelly is in top form here.
First, the plot requires the infinitely savvy and experienced Harry to make a crucial and astonishingly stupid blunder, one that would be dumb even for a naïve civilian. The blunder has important plot consequences.
Second, the plot also requires that Harry operate in Hong Kong, something that he does in the rough and violent fashion familiar to the readers of this long-running series. It is difficult to believe that this could be done in Hong Kong, a place quite efficient at shutting down private violence by the citizenry, let alone by visitors. Suffice it to say here that I simply did not find the actions of the Hong Kong police believable at any stage.
Overall the book is well-written and entertaining but not really credible. It is perhaps best suited to established fans. If you are not already a fan, I suggest starting with something else (for example, "The Overlook," a recent and more convincingly plotted book).
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I've read and enjoyed all the Harry Bosch books -- except this one. Harry investigates a case that refers back to one of his most powerful novels in the series, then he drops the ball in every way possible. To me this book read like a person at a party who starts telling a pretty interesting story, then segues into a long story only marginally related to the first one before trying to go back to the original story -- that's a leap that's hard to make, and it didn't work for me here at all. The original case isn't exciting, but it was moving right along until we're thrown into a story that reads like one of those cold war spy thrillers where the corpses barely have names, they die so fast. Then we're back, and it's a really bumpy landing. The plot twist isn't believable, either the motivation or even that Bosch would recognize the bit of evidence that solves the case. I thought that it would at least turn out to be insurance fraud (Bosch knows something about the victim that should have made him wonder if there was a motive to collect insurance), but instead the solution went against cultural norms and had his partner behaving totally out of character. Bosch doesn't react to events that demand a response in Hong Kong and when he returns to L.A. things get so absurd I found myself wondering if Connelly had any kids himself. Kids aren't puppies, and unless Harry marries or hires a nanny pronto he'll be going up against child welfare authorities on his next case. I agree with Harry Bosch on one thing: I hope he stays in L.A. and never sees Hong Kong again.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2009
Let me say at the beginning, Michael Connelly is my favorite author. Having said that, I have difficulty believing Connelly actually wrote this book. It never seemed like a Bosch novel and I was wondering if there was something wrong with me, maybe I had the swine flu and didn't realize it. I can't really describe my feeling it was so surreal.
The entire book was a real disappointment and seemed ridiculous at times - totally unbelievable. I'm stunned.