44. Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly – United States – November 2017 – 3 Stars
Connelly’s writing is award winning journalism as always, a master at writing and in this genre. Each book is a masterpiece of skill and elegance. The premise is getting thin. His detective Harry Bosch, lives in a beautiful house, has jazz in his life, drives an old Jeep, drinks beer and bourbon (I used to), and very few friends. Many of us have aged with little to show in the interpersonal parts of our lives but this is sad and long now. Bosch has had an amazing record of successfully solving crimes. He has never been seriously injured that I remember. It has been a lot of books over a lot of years. Connelly has his TV show now that is really good, Bosch is about to release season 4 on Amazon Prime. See it.
This book tries to do too much and kind of gets rushed in the process. Bosch is working in a jail cell (literally) office solving cold cases as a retired volunteer. He is working on a case of a missing mother who left her baby in the crib and just has never been heard from again. He gets a visit from the LAPD that suggests that he may have planted evidence in a case 30 years ago that has resulted in a man being on death row since then. His old partner Soto is not even really on his side. At that point he is called to a double murder in a pharmacy in San Fernando. He is not officially getting paid but he is the mentor for the young detectives on this small force. While he is looking for a missing mom, and defending his honor in this case that suggests he is not a “good” cop, he volunteers to go undercover to solve a huge drug cartel case that includes Medicare fraud, ID theft, fraud, illegal drugs (opioid of course), and a dangerous Russian Mafia. Is that allowed? Using a volunteer in a life and death situation while paid detectives and DEA agents stand safely by? He also finds another old partner, Gerry Edgar, who I loved and they have been estranged for years. Edgar comes to help Bosch and even brings help. Then while juggling all that he finds a drug addicted mother who has given up on life after her daughter was brutally murdered, and Bosch decides he has time and emotional energy to try to save her. Bosch does not sleep in this book, and he gets very little rest, and doesn’t even get to shower very much. As usual everyone is mad at him and leaning toward believing he is a bad cop. As the book moves to a conclusion it becomes very clear that no matter what happens, Bosch is not going to be happy about it, and that is kind of the tone and final message of the book. BTW, the weakest part of any Bosch novel is the way he handles danger, life and death danger, and actual combat. Just clear that Connelly has no personal knowledge of these.
Bosch is at an age where a book about the challenges of being over 60 would be interesting. There are lots of us aging pretty well and still mentally sharp and physically active but with no meaningful work, and not valued by our society.