Sleep is good, he said, and books are better.
– George R.R. Martin
DRIES DE BEER
Two kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly (Orion Books)
Harry Bosch has been with us for a long time.
This the 23rd book in the series and I have not read all of them.
Bosch is now in his mid-60s, semi-retired and working cold cases for the San Fernando police department. The current cold case is more of a missing person case. A mother disappeared leaving behind a husband and a baby. Her body was never found.
Bosch’s current office is a police cell and his table a door that he scrounged from somewhere and placed across two stacks of file boxes.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is lurking in the background and the action starts when they re-open an old case of Bosch when newly-discovered DNA evidence now shows that an innocent man has been imprisoned by the seasoned detective. The suspicion is that either Bosch or his now dead partner planted evidence to get a conviction.
Bosch naturally is very sure that he had the right man sent to jail but the Conviction Integrity Unit has other views; they work old cases but unlike Bosch, it is not unsolved cases, but rather badly solved ones.
Just as the LAPD is trying to get Bosch back in court, a double homicide happens at a local pharmacy and the detective gets roped in.
The police investigation about the wrongful conviction drives the timeline and Bosch must juggle his time between the double homicide, the cold case of the missing mother and the pending investigation and possible overturning of one of his old cases.
The Lincoln Lawyer, Harry Bosch’s brother in law and his motorcycle-riding sidekick, also make an appearance in the book, racing in to help Harry and his wrongful conviction case.
So, there is a small legal drama on the side with the Lincoln lawyer providing at least some sense of drama while Bosch’s other investigative ventures appear to be pretty much by the book.
The double homicide leads to an undercover job for Bosch as he tries to unmask an opioid drug ring in order to find the gunmen who killed the two people in the pharmacy. This also kicks the story into the current addiction crisis in the US, and perhaps more could have been made of this.
While the opioid drug smuggling and abuse is very current and interesting, the drug bosses are portrayed stereotypically as Eastern Europeans and Russians cast as invincible and without feeling for corrupt drug runners.
Connelly is an accomplished writer and this is an easy read. But it lacked suspense. The perpetrators are revealed early on and the only mystery is how Bosch has been conned into an unlawful conviction.
I have to confess that I read this book while trawling through an awfully repetitive and at times, boring biography and I needed a break. Connelly’s crime thriller provided the breathing space, but no more than that. Perhaps the Harry Bosch genre has been over-traded and perhaps, dare I say it, it is time that he is put out to pasture.
I dread to think about the last cold case that Bosch will have to unravel. He may be using a zimmer frame by then.