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The Overlookby Michael Connelly
Synopses & Reviews
In his first case since he left the LAPD's Open Unsolved Unit for the prestigious Homicide Special squad, Harry Bosch is called out to investigate a murder that may have chilling consequences for national security. A doctor with access to a dangerous radioactive substance is found murdered in the trunk of his car. Retracing his steps, Harry learns that a large quantity of radioactive cesium was stolen shortly before the doctor's death. With the cesium in unknown hands, Harry fears the murder could be part of a terrorist plot to poison a major American city.
Soon, Bosch is in a race against time, not only against the culprits, but also against the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI (in the form of Harry's one-time lover Rachel Walling), who are convinced that this case is too important for the likes of the LAPD. It is Bosch's job to prove all of them wrong.
"Bestseller Connelly's dazzling 13th Harry Bosch novel (after 2006's Echo Park) reunites Bosch with his former flame, FBI agent Rachel Walling. Bosch must break in a new partner, rookie Iggy Ferras, when they're called to look into the execution of physicist Stanley Kent on a Mulholland Drive overlook. When a special FBI unit, headed by Walling, arrives and tries to usurp his case, claiming it's a matter of national security, Bosch refuses to back down. Walling's focus on the potential theft of radioactive material from the hospital where Kent was lending his expertise to cancer treatment and her unwillingness to share information only make Bosch more determined to solve the case. This is a quick read, almost half the length of Connelly's previous novels, but he spares no punches when it comes to complexity and suspense. The scramble to investigate threats to national security, justified or otherwise, is a timely subject and one on which Connelly puts a brilliant new spin." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Tick-tick. Tick-tick. Tick-tick. Ka-thump. The inexorable stopwatch framework of Fox's '24' ticks away on every page of Michael Connelly's 'The Overlook,' the latest installment of his long-running series featuring LAPD Detective Harry Bosch. This work was serialized last year in the Sunday New York Times Magazine and expanded by Connelly into book form. Only slightly longer... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) than half the length of his previous Bosch novels, and with its action compressed into a 12-hour time frame, it's all hyped-up, jittery action, with a suspenseful story but little of the complexity and humanity that are Connelly's trademarks. How '24' is it? Connelly even starts the book at midnight. Bosch is at home, listening to his beloved jazz recordings, when he receives a call from his supervisor on the homicide squad. A man has been shot execution-style on a cliff overlooking the Mulholland Dam, and the Hollywood division is busier than usual that night with three other murder cases. Bosch's old partner, Kiz Rider, has been transferred to a desk job after a near-fatal encounter (her fate was left open-ended at the end of 'Echo Park,' the previous Bosch adventure), so now he's teamed with Ignacio Ferras, who represents a new, more youthful face of the LAPD: a young minority dad who commutes from one of the limitless Southern California suburbs. (Ferras' home is far enough away to put Bosch on his own for much of the tale.) But it's Bosch's sometime lover, FBI Agent Rachel Walling, who provides the bulk of the professional — and a touch of romantic — tension. Turf wars in the police department are a constant in Connelly's writing, and none is more charged with procedural testosterone than the one between the LAPD and the FBI. In this case, though, Bosch doesn't have much choice about federal involvement; the dead man on the overlook was a doctor, and before he was shot, he had withdrawn a quantity of highly radioactive cesium from a gynecological-cancer laboratory. Naturally, the cesium is missing — and Bosch is soon contending not only with the FBI, but also with the Department of Homeland Security. (Was that 'Allah' that the assassin shouted just before he pulled the trigger?) Tick-tick. Tick-tick. Tick-tick. Connelly sends his aging cop hero pinballing all over L.A. County, from the Mulholland overlook to the victim's home nearby, from a women's clinic at the northern tip of the San Fernando Valley back down to LAPD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. (And it's only 5 a.m.) The clues begin to mount up: The doctor's wife is found nude, trussed up with the plastic ties she uses to secure her rosebushes, and a Canadian drifter camped outside Madonna's former house, hoping to see the star, seems to have inadvertently witnessed the killing. The serial origins of 'The Overlook' are obvious at each chapter's end, but the book is strongest when Connelly stops jet-propelling his characters from crime scene to crime scene and spares a few sentences to let them breathe — especially Bosch, who is a Jack Webb cop in a Paris Hilton world. When Ferras hacks into a victim's BlackBerry, looking for clues, Connelly observes that Bosch 'didn't understand why people were always typing feverishly on their phones. He was sure it was some sort of warning, a sign of the decline of civilization or humanity, but he couldn't put his finger on the right explanation for what he felt.' Connelly never loses his talent for direction and misdirection; the baddies leave a trail of red herrings, and so does Connelly, who manages in the book's fourth quarter to call into question the meaning of everything that has gone before. (One egregious misstep, though: the LAPD, the FBI and a team of paramedics aren't all likely to have mistaken grape juice stains for bruises.) Character development and terse realism, overlaid with a sophisticated sense of melancholy and age, have been the appeal of the Bosch novels. But there's not much room for character study and even less for realism in a story about a 60-ish cop swashbuckling around Los Angeles County at 90 miles an hour, fighting off FBI meddlers as he tries to save the world. Connelly is still one of the genre's best storytellers, and 'The Overlook' is nothing if not miniseries-ready, but bone-weary Harry Bosch just isn't '24's' square-jawed Jack Bauer, who manages to dispatch international evil while MacGyvering himself out of certain death every week. Connelly needs to leave the flashy tick-ticks to the kids; Bosch is a stronger character when he's not trying to save the world, but only his little piece of it." Reviewed by Kevin Allman, a frequent mystery reviewer, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"A beautifully stripped-down case that makes up in tension and velocity what it lacks in amplitude. Serialization hasn't hurt Connelly any more than it did Charles Dickens, who's cited at several key points." Kirkus Reviews
"[U]nfolds like an episode of 24, pounding its way relentlessly to a surprising conclusion. Treat The Overlook like a tasty hors d'oeuvre: down it in one quick gulp, and look forward to the next Bosch entree." Booklist
"[Connelly's] an economic writer with an arch sense of humor, a quick-sketch master, and his eye is on the plot all the way, making this a fast read and a hard book to put down if you're a murder-mystery fan." Oregonian
"Connelly, once again, has hit a home run. He does it quietly and without any pyrotechnics. He makes it look deceptively easy." Denver Post
"Connelly, a descendant of Raymond Chandler...is not just a police procedurist. He's a writer's writer who has created one of the most interesting, respected characters in modern fiction in Bosch....The Overlook will keep you on the edge of the precipice to the last page." San Antonio Express-News
"The plotline doesn't keep the mystery suspended, and worse, by page 92, I had figured out one of the criminals and the murderer's motivation. This has never happened to me before with a Connelly book." Chicago Sun-Times
"If Bosch is our detective, Connelly is our laureate, proving again that popular fiction at its best, as in a crafty little entertainment like The Overlook, is also literature." Los Angeles Times
"[A] maze wrapped in a mystery, a paradigm of a conundrum, of possible apocalyptic attack. This is Connelly at his best, and readers will find this book entertaining and perfect for summer reading." BookReporter.com
On his first case since he left the LAPD's Open Unsolved Unit for the Homicide Special Squad, Harry Bosch is called out to investigate a murder that may have chilling consequences for national security, in Connellys latest New York Times bestseller.
About the Author
Michael Connelly is a former journalist and the author of over a dozen bestselling books, including the Harry Bosch novels and Blood Work, which was a major motion picture. He has won numerous awards for his journalism, as well as an Edgar Award, a Nero Wolfe prize, a Macavity Award, and an Anthony Award for his books. He lives in Florida.
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