Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
The Concrete Blonde: Michael Connelly, October 5—12, 2015
My rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
Fans of Mickey Haller will see some familiar territory for Connelly as Detective Bosch faces up to his actions in the infamous Dollmaker case.
In what is doubtless the best book in the series so far, Bosch faces a civil trial for his fatal shooting of Norman Church, aka the Dollmaker, four years ago and prior to the events of The Black Echo. It’s a case that’s been alluded to in every Bosch novel to date, and is finally laid bare for examination by the jury, and the reader.
Connelly’s skill in courtroom scenes comes from combining the fascinating legal interchanges with narration that reflects on the hidden motivations behind the characters. The message being conveyed by the lawyers runs as a second thread alongside the dialogue, and the complexity of the psychology is incredible.
Together with these proceedings, we have an opportunity to examine the series’ leading man. Is he a hero, or a monster? The moral ambiguity is addressed by the lawyers, the jury and even Bosch’s own private thoughts, but it’s the decision of the reader in the end as to whether he is worth backing.
Alongside the trial, Bosch has a further headache as notes purporting to be from the Dollmaker emerge, claiming he is still alive and busy killing. With this throwing doubt on the original investigation, Bosch has to quickly identify the copycat.
Yet again, Connelly manages to blindside us with twists you just can’t see coming, all soaked in the gritty realism of LAPD and the seedy Los Angeles beat. The characters are rich, the story is tense and the plot keeps moving. An absolutely flawless, unputdownable book.