Michael Connelly,
Nine Dragons
(Little, Brown & Co., 2009)

"It's Chinatown, Harry."

Actually, no, it's not. The Chinese community in Los Angeles is the backdrop of Nine Dragons, but Michael Connelly has a few tricks up his sleeve.

This is definitely one of the best Harry Bosch novels. Connelly swings the most gigantic red herring of all the red herrings he's every swung at readers in this outing. When you find out at the end how you've been schnookered, you will laugh. But you will also cry.

It's the most fast-moving Bosch novel he's ever written. All the action spans less than a week. The action is almost non-stop. It's a novel where Harry is mostly a hard-charging protagonist making things happen. But he gets to listen to Art Pepper. Once.

Michael the writer does a shocking thing halfway through the novel. An event happens that will bring tears to the eyes of those fans (like me) who have followed the Bosch story from the very beginning. Michael is merciless. I'm not sure I'm ready to forgive him. This is tragic. (Don't worry, readers, Harry's OK.)

OK, Michael, I forgive you. This is the start of something new.

As to the last three chapters, Michael starts pulling rabbits out of a hat that will rock your world. Classic surprise ending(s).

No one in the world writes crime fiction like Michael Connelly. (But Michael, check out Gillian Flynn. This is your competition being born.)

book review by
Dave Sturm

20 November 2010

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