The basics: There are two mysteries at the center of The Burning Room. The first is a warm cold case. A mariachi musician dies nine years after being struck by a stray bullet. After the shooting, he became a political celebrity of sorts, and his death is very big news. Harry Bosch and his new partner Lucia Soto, who has been in the news as a hero cop, have a cold case to solve but a warm body to help. The second is a cold case very personal to Detective Soto, and it lets the reader get to know her through her backstory.
My thoughts: It was with some trepidation that I began reading The Burning Room. I read Michael Connelly's first novel in February and proceeded to read all of his novels this year. Beginning this one (before it was published) meant the wait for the next one was really long, but I had to see what was happening with Harry.
One of the things I like best about the Bosch series is how Connelly lets time pass. He writes in real time, so when a year passes between books (or two years when a Mickey Haller novel comes in between), Bosch has been living and working, and we don't know what he's been up to. It might be easy for readers to think they've missed a book. This passage of time has also been building tension in the series for years, as Harry Bosch is the most senior detective in the LAPD and has already retired and come back once. How many more years does he have?
Aside from my love for this series as a whole, I've thoroughly enjoyed Harry's time in the Open Unsolved Case Unit, so I was thrilled to see he's still there. Seeing Harry train a new partner is also fascinating. The theme of Harry as old school has been around for years, but there's a new poignancy to it, as Harry acknowledges his career is winding down. The relationship between Lucia and Harry is as compelling as any of Harry's other partners over the years. Harry's work in the Open Unsolved Unit also allows him to keep exploring the themes of past corruption. The political angles in this novel are once again as fascinating as the cases themselves.
The verdict: The Burning Room introduces a new partner for Harry, features two compelling and twisty mysteries, and continues to explore Harry's professional motivations. The pairing of Harry and Lucia is an intriguing one, and I'll be eagerly (and impatiently) awaiting the next Harry Bosch mystery, not only because Connelley leaves us with one hell of a cliffhanger. If you haven't started this series, and you like mysteries, what are you waiting for?
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 400 pages
Publication date: November 3, 2014
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