26 April 2008

THE OVERLOOK, Michael Connelly

Allen & Unwin, 2007, 260 pages.

If I needed it, the ease and speed with which I read THE OVERLOOK is really confirmation that crime fiction, police procedural bordering on thriller is absolutely my genre of preference.

Harry Bosch has recently moved from LAPD's Open Unsolved Unit to the prestigious Homicide Special squad. He has a new partner, a youngster Ignacio Ferras, who regards him as a bit of a dinosaur, and this is their first case. A body has been found at the overlook above the Mulholland Dam, and it's rather obviously a murder. The victim is a medical physicist who supplies a radio active substance called cesium for use in medical procedures that use radioactive therapy.

Alarm bells go off for Harry when FBI agent Rachel Walling turns up at the scene of the crime. Rachel is attached to one of the FBI's Homeland Security operations called the Tactical Intelligence Unit. The body is easily identified and once the fact that a large quantity of cesium is found to be missing, the case becomes a tussle between the LAPD and the FBI. The FBI are saying this is a possible terrorist killing.

For Harry, the involvement of Rachel is fraught with all sorts of hurdles, given a previous relationship. The FBI involvement spell danger for Harry in a number of other ways, including some he can't forsee. His new partner Iggy Farras causes other problems for Harry, not the least because Harry likes to be the alpha dog, works on hunches, rarely discusses anything, and doesn't do partnerships at all well.

THE OVERLOOK was originally serialised in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and Connelly says this gave him a chance to re-visit the book prior to publication as a book, although he did not make substantial changes.

I haven't read all of the Harry Bosch series, 13 books since BLACK ECHO in 1992, but I have enjoyed all that I have read. This one was no exception.

My rating 4.6

Michael Connelly's website is at http://www.michaelconnelly.com/index.html
His next novel is called THE BRASS VERDICT.
Here's the blurb from the website page:
Lincoln lawyer Mickey Haller and LAPD Detective Harry Bosch team up in this new novel by Michael Connelly.
Things are finally looking up for defense attorney Mickey Haller. After two years of wrong turns, Haller is back in the courtroom. When Hollywood lawyer Jerry Vincent is murdered, Haller inherits his biggest case yet: the defense of Walter Elliott, a prominent studio executive accused of murdering his wife and her lover. But as Haller prepares for the case that could launch him into the big time, he learns that Vincent's killer may be coming for him next.
Enter Harry Bosch. Determined to find Vincent's killer, he is not opposed to using Haller as bait. But as danger mounts and the stakes rise, these two loners realize their only choice is to work together.

8 comments:

Peter Rozovsky said...

I've never read Connelly, perhaps because of my focus on crime fiction from outside the U.S. You may finally rectify that oversight on my part. One has to admire the moxie of an author who calls his protagonist Hieronymous Bosch and gets away with it.
===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Kerrie said...

If you finally take the plunge Peter, think about starting at the beginning of the series, because Bosch's character develops over time. That said, each book can stand on its own I think.

Katherine Howell said...

I love this kind of book too, Kerrie, and have read all of Connelly's work but this one. You've whetted my appetite!

Kerrie said...

I'm sure you'll like this one then Katherine. There's a sort of epilogue at the end of the book which is an interview with Connelly about how the book was written. 16 serialised chapters all about 3,000 words long. There seem to be a few of thse happening don't there?

Peter Rozovsky said...

That's a selling point for me, or at least an attraction. I enjoy eloquent authors talking about their creations.
===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

maxine said...

I loved this book, too. I have read all of Connelly and think he is brilliant.
Thanks for the news that he is going to "combine" Lincoln lawher with Harry Bosch. I loved the way the author did this with Terry McCabe (surname?) the FBI agent and Bosch. Connelly created McCabe for a movie deal as he had already optioned the Bosch books. Clint Eastwood played him (McCabe). I did not see the movie, but I guess Eastwood decided not to make any more. Hence Connelly had the two characters meet. I won't say any more for spoiler reasons, but it was most enjoyable, how the author did this and wove the Eastwood playing the character in a movie into the plot.
I foresee the same kind of fun with LL and Bosch.
So far as I know they have not yet made any Bosch movies or TV series, but I don't follow the movie/TV world very closely.

PS to Peter, you find out in the Bosch books why the character is called Hieronymous, and it is poignant. I think you'll enjoy these, start at the first (the Black Echo).

Peter Rozovsky said...

Speaking of Bosch, I missed a chance to see The Garden of Earthly Delights when I visited the Prado because the painting had been removed for conservation. That's right: the tortures of hell were being cleaned up.

The painting's Spanish title is even more evocative than its English one, by the way: El jardín de las delicias.
===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Uriah Robinson said...

Connelly is great but I have had to tag you for one of these memes at
http://camberwell-crime.blogspot.com/2008/04/another-day-another-meme-another.html
Sorry

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