Friday, July 4, 2014

mini-book reviews: Chasing the Dime, Lost Light, and The Narrows by Michael Connelly

I've been tearing through Michael Connelly's lengthy backlist, and I often find myself with repetitive things to say about them, so I'll mostly be doing mini-reviews of his titles, unless one compels me to write more deeply. 

Note: the reviews of Lost Light and The Narrows contain spoilers from prior Connelly books.

Chasing the Dime is a stand-alone thriller about Henry Pierce, a tech guru whose company is on the verge of making millions. His girlfriend, and now former colleague, breaks up with him, and when his new apartment landline turns out to be the former number of a prostitute named Lilly. The frequent calls are a nuisance, but he soon sets off to track Lilly down and finds himself getting deeper into the sexual underworld--and putting himself, and his company, at risk. Chasing the Dime is the first Connelly book to have a narrator who is not a criminal nor in law enforcement. As a reader, I often found myself frustrated with Henry and his lack of access to resources. His actions veer between stupid and reckless too often, but I must admit the premise of the novel is a fascinating one. Would I follow the story the way Henry did? No. In that sense, he wasn't a character I related to, as his actions confounded me. As the novel went along, however, I accepted Henry's quest and began to enjoy it more. The fast pace of this novel helped, but the reliance on technology means it hasn't aged that well (it was published in 2002.) Compared to the rest of Connelly's books, it's the weakest and my least favorite. As an escapist thriller, it's enjoyable.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Source: library

Lost Light is the ninth Harry Bosch mystery. Bosch is now retired from the LAPD, but he's using retirement to work the cases that still haunt him. He briefly worked the murder of Angella Benton, until her murder was linked with the theft of two million dollars from the film set on which she worked. Both cases remain unsolved. I was curious how Bosch would transition from being a detective to retirement, and in many ways, Lost Light isn't much of a departure. Bosch is forced to go rogue because he no longer has a badge, but he often felt forced to go rogue when he did. I appreciated this development because it provides even greater insight into Bosch and his motivations. His personal life is again well developed in this novel, but the complicated case kept my attention from the beginning. After a departure with Chasing the Dime, Lost Light is a welcome return to everything Connelly excels at.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: library

The Narrows is like old-home week for Connelly characters. Readers are treated to retired LAPD detective Harry Bosch, FBI agent Rachel Walling (last seen in The Poet), and journalist Jack McEvoy (last seen in A Darkness More Than Night.) What brings these three together? Two more deep ties to the Connelly universe: the return of the serial killer the Poet and the death of Terry McCaleb, whose suspicious wife hired Bosch to investigate. It was a delight to see all of these characters in a single book, even as I was surprised (foolishly) that Connelly killed off McCaleb. The Poet was a startling good stand-alone mystery, but I was thrilled to see its storylines revisited for more resolution. In that sense, I was incredibly glad to have read all of Connelly's earlier books so recently--the action begins quickly in this novel, and I didn't have to spend time remembering the details of the earlier works. The Narrows was a satisfying mystery and thriller, but I loved seeing all of these characters together a little bit more than I loved the mystery itself.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: library

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  1. My husband and Iistened to Chasing the Dime years ago on audio on some trip, and I still recall enjoying it...thanks for the flashback.

  2. I've been reading and loving the Lincoln Lawyer series. I know I need to get to the Harry Bosch series.


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