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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch #15)

Nine DragonsNine Dragons by Michael Connelly

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  Harry Bosch is assigned a homicide call in South L.A. that takes him to Fortune Liquors, where the Chinese owner has been shot to death behind the counter in an apparent robbery.

Joined by members of the department's Asian Crime Unit, Bosch relentlessly investigates the killing and soon identifies a suspect, a Los Angeles member of a Hong Kong triad. But before Harry can close in, he gets the word that his young daughter Maddie, who lives in Hong Kong with her mother, is missing.

Bosch drops everything to journey across the Pacific to find his daughter. Could her disappearance and the case be connected? With the stakes of the investigation so high and so personal, Bosch is up against the clock in a new city, where nothing is at it seems.

Read as an audio book.

When I started this review, I was on Chapter 16, struggling to be engaged and was seriously debating about reading some spoilers and calling it a day.

Bosch comes across as an arrogant, conceited, and hypocritical Detective who feels he is the only one who knows how to do the job. Everyone else is stupid, slow, and in his way. Bosch demands everyone give him all the information, clues and leads they might have, but yet he refuses to share what he learns. He manages to insult Detective Chu from the Asian Crimes Unit repeatedly (note, I'm only on Chapter 16), telling the other Detective how to do his job, and why can't Chu get a translator faster, and how dare he show a photograph of a man they are trying to ID to other people in the ACU? Bosch bombast's the other Detective for butting in on "his" (Harry's) case and rags on his own partner for not being dedicated enough to the job, he's not married to "the mission". God forbid the man care about his family! Crimes come first!

Now, toward the end of the book, Harry's complaints about his partner seemed to switch from disdain that his partner wants to be at home with his family to, his partner wasn't psychologically up to going back to field work after getting shot. Without getting into spoilers, this about face/mental switch just didn't seem to work for me. Perhaps it was in part to due with Harry daughter, perhaps it was in part to the plot. Either option, it didn't jive for me.

I get the lone detective trope, I do. What I don't get is how a character can be such complete and total ass to everyone he needs to work with. Henning Mankell's Wallander character was like that and I finally had to stop reading lest I damage a wall throwing a book across the room.

Connelly also managed to turn Elenore Wish into a whining, weepy, feeble female character - a far cry from the FBI agent-turned hard nosed poker player. Yes, she's a mother in distress, but egads, I felt like the author just neutered her.

I also thought the threat to Harry's daughter, thus bringing Harry to Hong Kong, was a pretty weak plot devise. The 36 hour chase around Hong Kong came across more like an action flick than a mystery novel.

The one small redeeming quality was Harry's realization he'd been totally and utterly manipulated. Lest I drop a spoiler, I won't say by whom. I felt oddly vindicated, like I wanted to poke my finger in his face and shout, "See! It's not always about you, asshole."

Ultimately, for myself, not Connelly's best Harry Bosch book.

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