Wednesday, August 6, 2014

mini-book reviews: The Closers, The Lincoln Lawyer, and Echo Park 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 The Closers and Echo Park contain spoilers from prior Connelly books.

The Closers is the eleventh title in Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series. After being retired, Harry is back with LAPD, and he's working in the Open/Unsolved unit. It's a fascinating turn for Harry, as he and his partner are assigned a series of years, including some from when he was a beat cop. Will he have the chance to solve cases he has seen before? The case that dominates this book is the 17-year-old abduction and murder of Rebecca Verloren, a sixteen-year-old mixed-race teenager. The case benefits from new technology, and the mystery has an urgency to it that surprised me for a cold case.

As I read, I found myself hoping Connelly would let Bosch stay in the Open/Unsolved unit for quite some time, but based on the rest of the series, he doesn't stay anywhere too long, lest things get stale. Overall, I appreciate this approach, but cold cases seem the perfect place for Bosch, and I loved this novel.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: library

The Lincoln Lawyer is the first in Michael Connelly's Mickey Haller series. Haller, the son of a famous LA criminal attorney, has followed in his father's professional footsteps. He uses Lincoln towncars as his office, as he covers all 400 square miles of Los Angeles county. I liked the insight into the legal system Connelly explores here. Haller is a fascinating anti-hero character, and I appreciated his explanations about strategy and procedure. What was much less successful for me was the mystery at the heart of this novel. It's momentum was bogged down by the legal maneuverings, which made it less compelling. While it was intriguing, there weren't enough wow moments of mystery for me in this novel to counteract the exposition. I did, however, enjoy the film more than the book. The pacing issues weren't present in the film, which did not have the same exposition problem. Also, the casting and acting were perfect. The characters truly came to life on film. The bottom line: if you're really interested in the law, particularly criminal law, this book is fascinating. Otherwise, the movie is a better bet.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (movie 4 out of 5)
Source: library

Echo Park is the twelfth Harry Bosch book, and he's still working in the Open/Unsolved Unit. One of the cases Harry has quietly tried to keep working by himself all of these years is the murder of Marie Gesto, a 22-year-old woman found dead in 1994. He never solved it, and it's one that haunts him. When he receives a call that a serial killer is willing to confess to several murders, both unsolved and unknown, Harry relishes the chance to officially be on the case again, even as he has to call into question all the choices he and his then partner made in 1994. 

I'm oddly fascinated with serial killer stories, and this novel offers a compelling one. Coupled with the cold case with so few clues, this mystery is a complicated page-turner that I thoroughly enjoyed. At times, it read more like a thriller than a police procedural, but it works beautifully.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: library 

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  1. Echo Park looks especially interesting - thank you for sharing these! You might also enjoy Ann Rule's newly formatted eBooks on her website at One of the books I am re-reading is The Stranger Beside me, which is a haunting first look into the real life of Ted Bundy, who was charming yet an insatiable cold-hearted killer. Can't wait to dive into your recommends :-).

    1. I am a huge Ann Rule fan - thank you for sharing, Audrey! I agree that Echo Park is a tantalizing read, too.

    2. You're welcome, Ashley :-). Enjoy!


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