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City of Bones (Harry Bosch)
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on September 7, 2015
My husband and I recently watched the Amazon series Bosch based on Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books. I thought it was excellent and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys that sort of thing. The story told in City of Bones was one of the ones that was dramatized for the television series, but there were differences between what appeared on screen and Connelly's written version. I think I like the book better, although the dramatization was interesting also.

The story begins on New Year's Day when a dog returns to his owner, while they are walking in the Hollywood Hills, carrying a bone he has dug up. His owner is a retired doctor and he recognizes the bone as the humerus of a child. He contacts the police and Harry Bosch, working the holiday, takes the call.

Harry goes to the area and begins the search for other bones. He finds them pretty easily. They are scattered over an area up in the hills. It looks like they have been there for a long time.

Soon the Medical Examiner and anthropologists are on the scene and, in time, it is determined that the bones have been in place since the late '70s or early '80s. Through dogged investigation, Bosch and his partner Jerry Edgar are able to confirm that the bones belong to a child who disappeared in May of 1980. The medical examination of the bones confirms further that the child - a 12-year-old boy - was beaten to death.

Not only was the victim beaten to death but throughout his short life, he had been systematically and cruelly abused. Bosch is deeply affected by this discovery, at least in part because of his own troubled childhood, and he vows to find the perpetrator of this crime and bring him to justice.

As we follow the twists and turns of the investigation, the body count begins to mount. A completely innocent man, who lives in the neighborhood where the child's bones were found, commits suicide because, in the course, of the investigation, an old secret of his is unearthed and it is leaked to a reporter who makes the assumption that he is the guilty person. The resulting notoriety of the media mania is more than the man can take.

On the trail of a potential witness, the police operation attempting to bring the man in for questioning goes horribly awry and a rookie police officer, seeking her own version of glory and heroism, is shot. Harry witnesses what happened, putting him in a difficult position because he knows that the man they were attempting to capture was not resisting and had nothing to do with the shooting. This is made even more difficult by his personal relationship with that police officer and the fact that she dies from her wound. (This was one of the differences between the book and the TV show.)

Through all of this, the mystery just seems to get murkier and it appears that Bosch and his team are not making any headway; however, persistence pays off and finally the solution to the mystery comes together, but before the final piece of the puzzle can be put in place, another person is killed.

So, three dead bodies join the bones of the dead child, but, in the end, the stubbornness of Harry Bosch wins the day. Solving murders is a sacred mission for him. It is his religion, and he always holds fast to that. It makes him a very good detective. It also makes him one difficult bugger to work with, even when he isn't deliberately trying to step on people's toes.

The ending of this novel was a bit of a surprise (no spoilers) and it will be interesting to see where the series goes after this. There are twelve more (so far) books in the series, so we know that Harry will be around to entertain us for a while. And that's a good thing.
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on May 6, 2017
Harry Bosch is still a cop but he’s approaching that point in his career, with over twenty-five years of service, when he can be retired by administrative action. He and his partner, Jerry Edgar, catch a very old case involving the murder of a ten year old boy over twenty years ago.
Harry is also involved on a personal level with a younger police officer named Julia Brasher. They have to be extra careful not to advertise their affair or it will be all over the squad room before you could say Jack Sprat. Such a liaison would be a career killer for both police officers.
This book shows how Bosch and Edgar perform a slow and methodical search of what evidence remains and those clues which can be unearthed, so to speak. The plot moves along the rim of a giant circle and eventually reaches a point where Bosch, Edgar and higher police authorities are satisfied that justice has been served.
It’s a good read but, all things considered, it’s more of a detailed police procedural on a cold case rather than an action-filled detective mystery.
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on December 2, 2015
When you read a murder mystery, you have some expectations. Unlike in the real world where the killer and the motive are usually more apparent, you expect some minimum things from your murder mystery even if those things aren't necessarily realistic because you're reading a piece of fiction. You want some twists and turns, you want some thrills, but most importantly, you want a good climatic ending with the killer where you come to understand what the motive was for the murder. In this novel, you get investigational focuses that lead nowhere and are dropped like a brick, you get a romance that ultimately added nothing to the book (as opposed to some other Bosch novels where the romance helped flesh out details about our hero), and by the end of the book, you have major unanswered questions about a major plot point in the middle of the book that is never adequately explained and about the motive of the killer at the end of the book, to say nothing about the fact that the murder weapon is never even identified. The premise is something that could have made for a good book, but it wasn't executed upon. It feels like a book that was rushed to get out on the market.
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on September 10, 2016
Connelly's Detective Bosch is such an interesting character and these stories take us through cases that he works on and solves, many of them cold cases that appear to be impossible to solve. He's like a pit bull once on a case, and this particular story is about one of those cold cases where a dog digs up a bone that belongs to a little boy that has been murdered.. He pursues clues doggedly until the entire story becomes clear as is the identity of the killer. There's always a sexual connection that is intense but not necessarily long lasting. This isn't his best story but they are all good as you find yourself getting fond of Bosch, abrasive, experienced and effective. He disdains the politics of the LA police department and tries to do his job in spite of his superiors who admire him begrudgingly since they have long forgotten how to work in the field.
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on December 12, 2015
In preparation for reading Micheal Connelly's latest Harry Bosch book THE CROSSING - #16 in the series - I took the opportunity to read this book (#8) which I had missed several years ago. I am glad I did because it reminded me of some of his past with LAPD but also reminded me that Harry Bosch, the detective, really hasn't changed much over the years.

This time, Bosch gets involved in investigating some bones found in a shallow grave. The victim is a young boy, killed about 25 years ago, who appears to have been subject to extensive physical abuse. The discovery gets a lot of press attention and it soon becomes clear that there is a serious information leak from police or other sources connected to the case which has tragic results.

This is classic Bosch as he finds things that others would overlook. It is also classic Bosch because he doesn't follow normal procedures in his key investigations and is in constant conflict with his superiors, especially when they think they have found a suspect.

I was glad that I read this book as it highlighted the talent of America's top crime thriller author who is still at the top of his game in his latest book in the series.
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on October 7, 2016
A murder dating back to the early 80's. Bones found on a lonely hillside, barely covered, nothing to indicate who he was except for a backpack. The skeleton indicates that the victim had been brutalized his entire life, broken or fractured bones healed or healing since he was a toddler. Was the abuser the killer? How did this 12 year old boy end up at this spot? A woman, called in a tip that the remains may have been those of her brother who had disappeared in 1980. Bosch and his partner are working the Unsolved cases and they get this one. Since the victim was a child, this is particularly heinous crime.
After investigating people who had lived in the neighborhood in 1980, or who had any knowledge of children in the area during that time, Harry narrowed down the suspects to one person who bashed in the skull of the victim, and the motive may have been simply out of jealousy or desire for something the victim had. Did the suspect finally get what he "deserved?"
City of bones, a name given to the Los Angeles area mainly because of the LaBrea tar pits that gave up bones of prehistoric animals and victims of murders over 9,000 years ago that gradually worked their way back to the surface.
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on July 21, 2013
When a stray bone is discovered partially buried in the woods by a adventurous Labrador and his retired doctor of an owner, it is not long before the bone is confirmed to be human, and by definition the site is declared to be a crime scene. Suspense oozes from the page of every Michael Connelly book ever written, and CITY OF BONES is no different.

The depth to the character of Harry Bosch is demonstrated once again as we get to know the complexity of his former relationship with one of the town's coroners. A potential new love is in the air for our man Harry, however, when he meets a new cop with a career goal of joining the Homicide Investigation team in LA. All Harry can say to that is, 'Good luck'. So do we.

The first part of this book has been a let down. I am a veteran of the Spenser series of novels by the late Robert B Parker as well a huge fan of the private detectives of Lawrence Block. the hing is, they are free and easy to do just as they need without getting bogged down with regulations, and police protocols and everything involved wi being a homicide detective in a big city police force. My point is that the Harry Bosch novels reflect the true lives of the police detective and this fact reduces the fun or entertainment factor of reading them. CITY OF BONES is like this. It gets bogged down in technical police work and reporting and it is not in the least bit entertaining. Several pages of a recent chapter were devoted to a love scene between Bosch and his latest girlfriend, however, but that is not why I spend good money on a Michael Connelly novel. But rumours abound about the strength and climax of the second half of CITY OF BONES and so I persist.

And my persistence paid off. Emotional tie-ins abound aplenty and shocks are in store for the reader as plot twist follows plot twist follows plot twist. The satisfying crunch of justice being served on behalf of a young boy whose life was lost amongst terrible cruelty and pain parallels with the sound of pages of the book turning. And as you race toward the unforgettable climax you find that each page turn comes faster than the last.

The ending is quite stunning and involved one final and major twist of the plot. The final pages will leave the reader in a state of shock, as well as one of disappointment (even anger?) with Mr Connelly but I assume that feeling will pass when you begin to read the next book in this much loved series.

Michael Connelly has written a modern day mystery of the highest order. I prefer my detectives to have a little more freedom from regulations and lines of report but Harry Bosch is one cool dude. I give the story telling itself full marks but take one star away for the technicalities contained herein.

BFN Greggorio!
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on September 26, 2015
Harry Bosch, the avenging angel, becomes involved in the nightmarish abuse and ultimately the murder of an adolescent boy, and he immediately relates to the victim, in his peculiar and tormented circumstances. This is a less labyrinthine plot than most of the series, essentially a straight line as opposed to a case-history network, but the outcome is as bewilderingly simple, yet infinitely complex, as a third grade jigsaw puzzle. Or a puzzle for a detective third class. Author Michael Connolly obviously lived many of the cases he describes, and walked the paths he reports and portrays. This is as beguiling as any of the thriller-enigmas in the saga of abrasive, intuitive, obviously compulsive Harry Bosch, and reveals the dyslexic contortions of his intricate, right- brain world.

The skateboard whodunnit
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on September 26, 2015
I believe this is one of the most real and most plausible detective mysteries I have ever read. Once again Michael Connelly has displayed our human condition as only he can through his character of Detective Harry Bosch. I won't say that it's an edge of your seat thriller but it definitely holds your attention. I very much enjoyed the pace of the story and the suspense of its twists and turns of its plot. The emotions of each character as they support their parts is palpable. You find yourself wanting to cry or laugh or be angry with them as situations change and evolve. The story as a whole is definitely sad and yet refreshingly raw and straightforward. It made me appreciate the simplicity of my own life and yet understand some of the complexities of my life that I caused myself. An amazing and enjoyable read.
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on October 29, 2016
From other reviews I've read, there's something about Harry Bosch that others see, but I just don't get. Perhaps the subtleties are so, well, subtle, that I miss them. I've seen him described as an extremely complex character. I don't feel it, so I'm thinking it's me, that I need to be knocked over the head with over-the-top personalities to get what they're all about. And maybe Harry's methodical methods are too methodical, which comes across to me as boring. Overall, I'm always pleased that I read the book by the end. It's the ocean crossing getting there that isn't always so great. Again, just my opinion.
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