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Two Kinds of Truth: The New Harry Bosch Thriller (Harry Bosch Series) Hardcover – October 31, 2017
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Michael Connelly has done it yet again. Two Kinds of Truth is an outstanding addition to the fabulous Harry Bosch series. This mystery series is one of my very favorites; Connelly has managed to create an authentic, likeable main character in Harry Bosch and has successfully provided him with a career path that lends itself to interesting cases and story lines. In Two Kinds of Truth, Harry starts out revisiting a cold case for the San Fernando Police Department. Soon after, he is dragged into a corruption investigation; a convicted criminal claims Harry framed him years before. Because he left the LAPD on bad terms, he is stuck fighting the case on his own and reluctantly decides to enlist the help of his half-brother Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer. Meanwhile, a pharmacist in San Fernando is murdered, and Harry must go undercover to solve the crime. (On a silly side note, I am never a fan of undercover operations – in books, on TV, in movies, etc. – they majorly stress me out. I managed to successfully survive this one and still completely love the book.) As the story progresses, Harry works to clear his name in the one case and attempts to resolve the other two. As always, the book was perfectly paced, and the resolutions of all three plot lines were believable and satisfying.
One of my favorite things about Michael Connelly’s books is that he uses his platform to shine light on current social issues and problems. In Two Kinds of Truth, he tackles the widespread, high-dollar world of prescription drug abuse. Connelly realizes that these is no simple solution and refuses to have Harry neatly wrap up this plot line which I liked and respected, but he still highlights the horrific effects on our society and on those who become addicted. The other part of Two Kinds of Truth that I loved was the resolution of the cold case Harry was pursuing. I would not have seen that ending coming in a million years; this is something that always thrills me to pieces – an ending that is not easy to figure out long before the book is done.
Truth is a concept that has been taking a beating in the last year. I was intrigued by the book’s title and was excited when I found the paragraph from which the title was derived. “[Bosch] knew there were two kinds of truth in this world. The truth that was the unalterable bedrock of one’s life and mission. And the other, malleable truth of politicians, charlatans, corrupt lawyers, and their clients, bent and molded to serve whatever purpose is at hand.” As the mother of three children, I have had to spend an inordinate amount of time this past year making sure my kids understand how important the truth is and how important it is to refuse to accept those that attempt to corrupt truth. Connelly’s message on truth is fabulous.
As is readily apparent from my review, I absolutely loved this book. While it is part of a long series of books, I think it could easily be read on its own.
The second reason is the book’s (and thus the author’s) thematic depth. The book is built, sometimes very subtly, on the lessons of its title, a title that is explained approximately one-third of the way into the story:
“He knew there were two kinds of truth in this world. The truth that was the unalterable bedrock of one’s life and mission. And the other, malleable truth of politicians, charlatans, corrupt lawyers, and their clients, bent and molded to serve whatever purpose was at hand” (p. 128).
It doesn’t hurt, of course, that the first kind of truth cements Harry in the world of the Chandler knight in a genre based on chivalric romance.
Connelly’s great strength in recreating this chivalric world on utterly modern terms, focusing on the daily-headlines issue of opioid addiction is his knowledge of fact and detail. In TWO KINDS OF TRUTH, e.g., he explains the ethos and economy of pill mills and the nature of their day to day operation; Oxy dosages, street values, and the manner of ingestion; regional airport rules, regulations and protocols in California; the degree of indemnification of LAPD officers in civil suits, and, preeminently, the districts of the LAPD, SFPD, etc. and their respective responsibilities. If, e.g., a man and a woman are arrested in Pacoima for a specific crime, where will each be housed before their trials?
Thus, MC draws on all of his crime reporter experiences (updated as necessary), adds his skills as a novelist and his deep awareness of the expectations that attend the genre in which he is working and adds some deft philosophizing which is both thoughtful and resonant.
It is always a delight to see a favorite novelist just keep getting better and better and keeping his hand away from the autopilot switch.