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Review-a-Day
Powells.com
Saturday, May 10th, 2003


 

Lost Light

by Michael Connelly

A review by Georgie Lewis

In his ninth Harry Bosch novel, Lost Light, Michael Connelly takes us closer to his protagonist than ever before by allowing Bosch to narrate in first person. Readers who were left aghast at the close of City of Bones get their chance to catch up on Bosch from the other side of the fence, seeing life directly through Bosch's eyes as he continues his battles against crime and corruption, this time without an LAPD badge.

Bosch receives a call from Lawton Cross, an ex-cop paralyzed during an investigation into the murder of Angella Benton, a case that Bosch opened and Cross took over before he was shot on duty. The case was never resolved, the file gathers dust, and now Bosch has been given an itch he must scratch, a death he must avenge.

Angella's boss, a movie producer even offers Bosch fifty grand to investigate the murder and then buy the story. As he says, "Listen to me. I know a good story when I hear it. Detective haunted by the one who got away. It's a universal theme, tried and true." And yes, it would seem to be that sort of cliché in the hands of a lesser writer. But what is so pleasurable about reading Connelly is that you really have no idea what you are going to get. (And if you thought the end to City of Bones was a shock, just wait for the coda of Lost Light.)

Lost Light is fast and furious, with the murder's implications expanding the investigation far and wide, possibly implicating police corruption, FBI conspiracy, and international terrorism. The twists and turns are never predictable, and are revealed in Connelly's trademark breakneck pace. But Connelly doesn't miss a beat, with plots that are meticulous, dense, and always satisfying. Contemporary events or issues feature frequently in his novels and Lost Light is no exception with a critical eye focused on the Homeland Security Act, and the vast powers the FBI have been extended since 9-11. And, as usual, Bosch kicks against the authorities, although this time without a badge he has only his wits and the luck of being at the right place at the right time to protect him.

Connelly has created a complex character in Bosch, and he has been savvy enough to explore Bosch's emotional ranges (and limitations) in his novels. The best crime novelists know this — their characters will age, marry or divorce, their living situations may alter — and it is this familiarity with a character which can bring readers back again almost as much as a well-deserved reputation for intricate and suspenseful plots. Connelly is one of the best at what he does, and Lost Light is an excellent addition to an exceptionally fine series.


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