Customer Reviews: Lost Light (Harry Bosch)
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VINE VOICEon November 7, 2003
From his first incredible book, "The Black Echo," LAPD Detective Harry Bosch has had one mission and one mission only as he sees it-to speak for the dead. To bring justice to those who have killed and some measure of comfort, no matter how small to the victims left behind as survivors. When he retired, he took his watch and his files and thought his mission was over.
Instead, while he does not have the authority of the badge any more, he realizes as time passes that the mission remains. In particular, a case from a four year old unsolved murder begins to work its way into his mind. Angella Benton, an employee of Eidon Productions, was found dead in the vestibule of her apartment building. Bosch was assigned the case and was working it days later on a movie set when the set was robbed of two million dollars during a brazen daylight robbery shootout. Bosch would wound one robber, none of whom were ever caught, and the money was never found. After the robbery and the resulting high profile glare of the media, the Benton case was pulled from Bosch and folded into the robbery investigation and given to two detectives from Robbery Homicide. Days later, while eating lunch, one of the detectives was killed and the other permanently paralyzed in a robbery at a neighborhood bar.
That was a death knell for the case as cops are a superstitious lot and there are always new cases that demand immediate attention. But Bosch without a badge is just as aggressive as he was when he carried the shield. He may be retired, but he still goes at it the only way he knows how and soon seems to have antagonized his former bosses as well as other parties. Before long, old friends are annoyed, a federal terrorism task force is involved and unhappy, as well as numerous other shadowy figures. Once again, violence comes home in more ways than one, but no matter what, Bosch won't stop.
As in the other novels of this enjoyable series, Connelly looks deep into the dark abyss that lurks within everyone where life is cheap and greed in the moment wins out over human decency. At the same time, by using an unexpected plot twist, one of several at the end, Harry is redeemed and temporarily at least, finds the peace and solace he has sought for in novel after novel.
While this book reads like it might be the final one in the Harry Bosch series, which has had one heck of a run, I hope not. If it is, Michael Connelly has fittingly ended the series by exploring and further developing his signature character. He has done so in new and unexpected ways while adding plenty of action, an intriguing core mystery as well as additional secondary storylines, and a fine plot. This is a top notch read and proof of why he is simply one of the best crime writers in the business today.
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on April 22, 2003
I read the first two chapters of this book before it was published, and was sure I'd hate it for two reasons - it's written in first person, and Bosch's anti-authority figure would suffer without the LAPD supervisors to give him battles to fight. Then, I read the entire book. Connelly came through for me again. Bosch still has windmills to flail against and the story was so exciting that I forgot it was narrated by the man himself. An excellent read - not as much to my liking as CONCRETE BLONDE or ANGELS FLIGHT, but far superior to BLOOD WORK and CATCHING THE DIME.
My greatest complaint about Connelly is that he has ruined my enjoyment of other authors - they just don't measure up. I can no longer find excitement in the writings of Patterson or Burke or any of those authors I used to read before I got hooked on Bosch.
And, here comes Bosch again - fighting bureaucracy in search of the truth, rekindling old flames and renewing old relationships, and just flat tearing up anything that stands in the way of justice. If ever a character jumped out of the pages and lived, it has to be Harry Bosch.
Thanks, Mr. Connelly, for renewing my faith in you. I can't for the life of me figure out how you can keep up the pace, but I'm mighty glad you do. I can hardly wait for the next installment!
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on May 1, 2003
While I have been aware of Michael Connelly's impressive reputation as an author and the many readers who are fans of detective Harry Bosch, this is my introduction to this series. My five star rating indicates that I enjoyed the book tremendously and felt that it was exactly what the book jacket led me to expect and what the author was trying to accomplish. This is neither a great work of fiction nor is it even the best crime story that I have ever read, but it is well plotted, fast paced and very enjoyable with enough surprising details before the case is solved to keep the reader's interest.
Recently retired LAPD Detective Harry Bosch is still haunted by the four year old unsolved murder of twenty-four year old Angella Benton, an assistant to a famous movie producer. He is also bothered by the apparently coincidental robbery and murder that occurred on the movie set as he was investigating Angie's murder a few days later. The two million dollars taken in the heist was never recovered. Furthermore, the cops in the Robbery-Homicide Division who took over the case became the victims in a subsequent apparently unrelated robbery that left one dead and the other completely paralyzed and extremely bitter.
This is a classic detective story, and while it has many of the ingredients of a police procedural one of the important elements is that Harry is no longer on the force and has to rely on favors from his friends rather than having the power of his badge to get to the truth. The reader knows what happened and suspects that the question of why will in some way relate all the apparently random elements to the heist, then waits for Bosch to uncover who was involved and how they escaped apprehehension.
The thing that I appreciated about the story was the author's ability to add enough complexity so that even when the clues were sufficient to lead the reader in the general direction of the solution, you still wanted to learn how all the various threads were interrelated. The other surprising fact was that my concern about reading a novel whose main character had appeared in so many previous books was totally misplaced. The references to Harry's previous cases and relationships were self explanatory, and the use of the first person technique with Harry as the narrator of the story allowed a first time reader to easily develop a familiarity with him, since his motivations are an integral part of the story. In fact, as is often the case in long running detective series, this book is as much or perhaps more about Harry and his life in a post-LAPD world than it is about the case.
This is a very fast read, and should be enjoyed by long time Connelly fans as well as first time readers such as myself. The details and relationships of the characters are as important to keeping your interest as is the major story line; if you succeed in solving all the unexplained elements of the various crimes before Harry, then you should undoubtedly become a mystery novelist yourself. I also found the last scene both unanticipated and very upbeat. LOST LIGHT was so entertaining that I definitely plan to read some of the earlier books in the series.
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on April 2, 2003
I have to admit a particular fondness for Michael Connelly's books, those about Hieronymous Bosch is particular. There's something about the man, dark or mysterious, keeping him on the edge and away from the closeness that brings comfort from others. He is the perennial loner. After reading eight books about Bosch the Cop, we are now gifted with a story about Heironymous the pensioner. Bosch's instincts, however, haven't changed much
I won't give away the story, much. Bosch, never one to let anything slide, becomes obsessed with the 4-year-old murder of a Hollywood production assistant. Bosch's involvement with the investigation of this murder came to an end after a daring heist rips off 2 million dollars from the set of movie. The money had been a prop. Bosch had been there interviewing the director. A tenuous link is drawn between the theft of the money, which resulted in the death of a bank officer and the injury of another, and the murder of the production assistant. But the case is handed to another division. Bosch is still haunted by the unsolved case, four years later. Despite lacking a badge, Bosch decides to whip out his old murder book and go on the hunt. Along the way, we meet some familiar characters, open up a few new cans of worms, close a few old ones, and discover the darkside of "Homeland Security".
As always, Bosch's life is a slow-motion trainwreck. He has a head for criminal investigations, but spares little by way of thought for his own heart. As he is haunted by the murder case and the specter of his ex-wife, you can't help but feel attached to our old boy-in-blue. He is singularly tragic and always compelling. Hoping his life will turn out for the best is part of what keeps me reading. "Lost Light" did not disappoint.
That said, "Lost Light" is more of a novel for Bosch fans. Too many old plot points are picked up here that might leave the casual reader lost. I'm not in any way discouraging the purchase of this book. I finished it while still sitting in the bookstore parking lot, four hours after buying it. Just be prepared to love the character and buy the previous eight Bosch books. You will not regret it.
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on July 7, 2003
Newly retired and newly humble Harry speaks to us in the first person in "Lost Light." Harry is bored with his retirement and all too aware he is no longer a cop with a badge ("us"), but a plain joe average citizen ("them") with no automatic entries to questioning and sleuthing.
Harry decides to work on one of his cold cases, the never solved murder of a young woman whose death was connected to a heist of two million in cash from a movie set. (The director insisted he have "real" money in the pivotal scene for authenticity's sake). Harry undergoes the labors of Hercules trying to get interviews and documentation. Then both LAPD and the FBI warn him off. Harry (no surprise) doggedly carries on.
Connelly gives the FBI the back of his hand as usual. He succinctly shows the dangers of the absolute power of Homeland Security. Best of all, Connelly's characterizations, particularly of a paraplegic former police officer shot on duty is so sharp and acute, it is painful to read. The reader shares Harry's reluctant empathy of the desolation of the man's daily life.
The complex plot is deft and always firmly under Connelly's control as he springs twists, turns, and surprises on us. But the biggest surprise of all is the last one, and it strictly belongs to Harry. His life is going in a new direction, and I can't wait to see what it is.
-sweetmolly-Amazon Reviewer
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on April 8, 2003
Michael Connelly is probably today's best mystery writer. He's up there with the likes of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. His Harry Bosch is one of the best, most engaging cop/PI/investigator since the noir years in the 50s and 60s. You know that when you start a Harry Bosch novel, you won't want to let go of it until you turn the very last page.
That's why Lost Light is a little bit disappointing. Not that it's a bad book. It's classic Connelly; it reads quickly, the writing is sharp, the dialogue even sharper and the plot moves quickly. Only thing is, Connelly has done this before, and better.
In Lost Light, we find Bosch investigating the murder of a young woman who worked as a production assisstant on a movie. That very movie is also under scrutiny, as it was the setting for a 2 million dollar heist that is still unresolved. Mix to this a missing FBI agent and you've got more than enough to keep your mind busy for 360 pages. But the plot itself is quite predictable. You can easily predict Bosch's next step. There are very few surprises for the reader in Lost Light
The one intersting thing is that, for the very first time, Connelly chose to write the book in the first person. And I have to admit that it suits the book and the character well. It was great to finally get into Bosch's mind, see how he thinks, what he does. I just love the way this character thinks and acts. He feels so real on the page that he just seems to creep right out of the book.
You can see that Connelly is trying to bring his character in a new direction now that he is retired. And retirement works well for Bosch. I liked him a lot as a cop, but I like him even more as a retired PI. And the very last pages of the book offers a surprise that will probably change Bosch quite dramatically in the future.
Lost Light isn't a bad book. Far from it, it can be quite entertaining at times. But Connelly has done this before with his earlier books. Maybe I would have liked more surprises, or maybe a bigger payoff in the end. It would only have been fitting that, because Connelly uses the first person for the first time, Lost Light would have been a breaking point in the series. Unfortunately, it isn't. As it is, Lost Light does provide a few hours of entertainment, if only that.
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on April 2, 2003
Lost Light is the latest in the excellent Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly. Unlike the previous novels, this one is written in first person and has a generally different feel to it. Still present, however, are many of the aspects that make this series of novels so appealing to Connelly's loyal fans.
Harry Bosch is now retired. As readers of the other books already know, he is not the type to go quietly and sit around collecting pension checks. He is still bothered by his old unsolved cases. One in particular will not let him go - the murder of a young woman who's hands were found in a unique position that Harry sees as reaching out to him. During the course of his investigation, Bosch finds that her murder may involve a robbery, other murders, a terrorist, and the disappearance of an FBI agent.
This book is written from the first person perspective, and this has several effects on the novel. The reader is now privy to everything Harry thinks and feels and as a result, we are drawn closer to him as a character. On the other hand, because everything is filtered through the Bosch character, we are ONLY privy to what he thinks and feels. This results in the novel losing many of the nuances and subtleties that are usually found in Connelly's novels. Consequently, this reads almost like "Harry Bosch lite." I finished this book in one sitting, which I have not been able to do with any previous Bosch books. Connelly's writing has just been too involving.
However, readers should not avoid this book simply because it reads easier than his others. Many fans will love this book because it's a quick, entertaining way to spend a few hours. Connelly is now writing two books per year and his writing seems to have thinned out accordingly. Readers will love or hate his new books depending on whether they prefer quantity or quality. Personally, I'd prefer to get two very good Connelly books each year than having to wait for only, even though that one might be a little longer and deeper.
In any case, I thought this book was worth the read if only because it was entertaining. Is Connelly starting to sell out a little? Probably. Are his later books inferior to his earlier work? Possibly. Is he still one of the best crime fiction writers working today? No question. Read this book and decide for yourselves.
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on April 28, 2003
I was sad to think we would see no more of Harry Bosch when he retired at the end of "City of Bones". "Lost Light" brings his complex character back but with a different perspective. As Harry investigates an unsolved case because it haunts him, we learn a lot about him and his feelings for his ex-wife. Michael Connelly is one of my favorite authors to read because his novels are well written, complex and entertaining. "Lost Light" kept my attention and was a quick and enjoyable read with lots of twists and turns and a totally unexpected twist related to Harry's personal life at the end. I can't wait to the next installment! If you are a fan of Harry Bosch and Michael Connelly, you can't go wrong by spending a few hours with "Lost Light".
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on May 17, 2003
Harry Bosch is back & better than ever! Learning how to enjoy his retirement, Harry ponders on past cases, especially those he couldn't close. One such case involved a random slaying of a young woman in the vestibule of her apartment building, her lovely hands haunt Harry's dreams. Another case, in which he was forced to fire his weapon, was the audacious heist from a movie set of two million legitimate dollars in a delivery truck which a Los Angeles bank had catered.
Michael Connelly continues to write in his trademark taut, authentic & riveting style. LOST LIGHT is a fine tale of deceit & greed, friends plagued by guilt, homespun philosophy, false reports & rogue agents. This time, he also offers redemption, a rare & rewarding commodity.
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on June 2, 2003
It was her hands he would never forget... The unexpected call from Lawton Cross brought it all back to him. Standing at the crime scene, detective Harry Bosch remembered how Angela Benton's hands seemed to be reaching toward him, begging him to solve her murder. He worked the case for only four days before the company she had worked for, Eidolon Productions, was involved in a major robbery. Eidolon was in the process of shooting an action flick about a mob heist and had contracted with BankLA to borrow two million dollars in real bills to use as a prop. The hold-up occurred as the armored truck arrived on the set to deliver the money. Two million, gone without a trace. The case was immediately reassigned to Cross and his partner Jack Dorsey over at the elite, Robbery-Homicide squad since as a production assistant on the movie set, Angela had intimate knowledge of all aspects of the money delivery. Cross and Dorsey worked the robbery/murder until they were unlucky enough to be gunned down while eating lunch during a barroom robbery. Dorsey never knew what hit him and died at the scene. Cross wasn't as fortunate. He was left a quadriplegic, living a life filled with indignities, pain, and misery. But now four years later, he's beginning to remember things about their unfinished investigation, and he wants Harry to start over and rework the case. And Harry's intrigued. Now retired for eight months, after twenty-eight years on the force, he's bored and lonely, looking for direction and happy for the opportunity to reopen a cold case that has always haunted him. And he soon finds that their are forces much larger and more dangerous than the brooding, uncorruptable Harry Bosch at work here who want this mystery to stay buried and unsolved forever..... Michael Connelly's intricate plot is tight, tense, and compelling as his seemingly unrelated storylines twist, turn, and finally come together in an explosive, knock you off your feet climax and clever, unexpected ending. His prose is eloquent and entertaining, and filled with vivid, evocative language, crisp, gritty dialogue, and riveting scenes. But it's Mr Connelly's brilliant characterizations, that as always, make this book a stunner. These are complex, fascinating, real people captured on the page, and he is able to breathe life and magic into even the most minor player. For those new to Michael Connelly and Harry Bosch, start at the beginning with The Black Echo, to get the real flavor of this series, and read them all. For those who are already fans, Lost Light doesn't disappoint and belongs at the very top of every mystery/thriller lovers's "must read" pile.
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