Review: The Crossing by Michael Connelly

Crossing.jpgIn this explosive new mystery, Michael Connelly, the acclaimed author of The Burning Roomand The Black Box, positions Harry Bosch at a crossroad. No longer a preacher of the blue religion, the ex-LAPD detective’s days are now dominated by the restoration of an old Harley-Davidson. Bosch’s mission is over; something else has to fill that void in his life. Easier said than done, of course; his daughter, Maddie, has become increasingly detached as she goes through her adolescent years; his latest relationship is stuttering towards an inevitable conclusion; and it’s not like Harry had a lot of friends outside his day job. The badge meant everything to him – it defined him. Without his badge, without the mission, who is he?

Meanwhile, his half-brother, Mickey Haller – ‘the Lincoln Lawyer’ – continues to serve as a defence attorney; effectively tasked with undermining the hard work undertaken by Bosch’s brethren; dismantling cases that’ve taken weeks, if not months, to formulate. Harry hasn’t ever imagined crossing that line, alternating from prosecutor to defender – but when Haller takes on a case that piques his interest and suggests a killer is still out there, Bosch is hooked. He knows there will be consequences; relationships that are severed. For once that line is crossed, there’s no coming back – especially not when Haller’s case points the finger firmly at a dark underbelly of the Los Angeles Police Department…

The evolution of Harry Bosch continues in The Crossing. Fears of the series stagnating now that Bosch has left the LAPD are misplaced. In fact, his ejection from the department has provided a shot in the arm for the series; not one it needed, for the Bosch novels have been universally consistent in their quality since The Black Echobut this new status-quo has provided Connelly a chance to dig deeper into his protagonist’s psyche. Will Bosch continue working for Haller? Will become a full-fledged private investigator? Or does Connelly have something else in mind? The possibilities are exciting. The end of Bosch’s time with the LAPD doesn’t feel like the end – rather the beginning of a new phase.

The excitement and tension in The Crossing is unrelenting. Nobody explores Los Angeles better than Michael Connelly through the eyes of Harry Bosch. Its core mystery is intriguing, and its finale is pulsating. This is prime Connelly – a book that will keep you awake until you’ve finished the last page, and leave you gasping. Unmissable.

Category: Crime & Mystery
ISBN: 9781760290573
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: November 2015
Page Extent: 400
Format: Paperback

Review: The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

Gods-of-Guilt-AUSThe Lincoln Lawyer – the first Mickey Haller novel – was a brave change of pace for Michael Connelly, who could’ve quite easily maintained his steady annual output of the Harry Bosch series. And what a stunning debut it was, followed-up by equally stellar instalments, all of which I’ve enjoyed, but none of which have quite matched Haller’s inaugural outing. The Gods of Guilt follows that trend – another finely executed legal thriller – but unable top the original. Still, if every attempt is going to be as good as this, I’m more than happy for Connelly to keep trying, and have little doubt in his ability to succeed, and indeed exceed my expectations.

I am not a fan of ‘legal thrillers.’ I think it’s perhaps related to the fact I once wanted to be a lawyer – before I realised the work involved in becoming one, and the sheer amount of jargon I’d have to memorize, and the reality hit home that I simply don’t possess the verbal eloquence necessary to sway a jury. Maybe I’m jaded. But Connelly won we over with The Lincoln Lawyer thanks to Mickey Haller’s character and circumstances; a lawyer who works out of the back of a Lincoln is just intriguing as its own concept; when you throw in the fact he’s Harry Bosch’s half-brother, well, you couldn’t keep me away. And after that initial taste I was hooked.

Connelly paints Haller as a real person who accepts the reality of his career as a defence attorney; he frequently represents the dregs of society, but understands that he plays a necessary function in the legal system. It’s cost him, though – we learn at the beginning of The Gods of Guilt that he’s estranged from his daughter, who has effectively ‘disowned’ him. His personal life is in a bad way. Enter a new client: a cyberpimp (yeah, that’s a real thing) accused of murdering a prostitute who happens to be one of Haller’s ex-clients (and, of course, one he was particularly close to). From here Connelly weaves a convoluted tale that quickly spotlights all the players and identifies them as good and bad. Don’t expect too many surprises here (although fear not, it’s not entirely perfunctory). This is less a whodunit or thriller and more an intriguing (and indeed illuminating) exploration of the mechanics of the legal system.

It’s the ending – that final dramatic beat before the epilogue – that feels unnecessary and could’ve perhaps done with a rethink. Connelly was obviously striving for a ‘shocking’ finale (or at the very least one final major twist) but it earned only a sigh from me, and was the only true blemish on an otherwise greatly satisfying read. Highly recommended. 4/5