Book review: The Burning Room

Saturday, November 1, 2014 Permalink
by Michael Connelly

Although I’ve read quite a few of Michael Connelly’s novels I haven’t actually read too many from the Harry Bosch series. Goodreads tells me I’ve only read one but I didn’t start adding books there until a couple of years ago, so it’s of little assistance when it comes to the first 40 years of my reading existence! ūüôā

However, what I do remember, and appreciate is that Connelly’s novels are consistently good. In the very brief review of the other Bosch novel I added to Goodreads I said it didn’t matter that I wasn’t a regular reader of the series. And the same goes here. I’ve talked before (and often) about the issue I have with books that are part of a¬†series, particularly if you enter part-way through. Connelly however, seems to have a talent in this regard.

He manages to succinctly relay what we need to know in a sentence or two – spread throughout the novel (as required). There are no long-winded backstories which drive me mental.

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In The Burning Room ¬†‘old-timer’ Bosch, still in the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit is paired with new (but high profile) detective Lucia (Lucy) Soto. Unlike most of their cold cases their latest case is newly deceased. Orlando Merced’s death however, is the direct result of a shooting ten years earlier.

The victim –¬†a member of a mariachi band – would normally have received minimal focus however a¬†former mayor (now candidate for higher office) trundled Merced out on a regular basis as ‘evidence’ of the police’s failure to protect minority communities.

With new evidence Bosch and Soto are on the case. However Bosch soon discovers his partner’s preoccupied with another cold case,¬†one that she takes very personally. With only a year until his retirement Bosch is determined to make sure he (and his partner) do nothing to jeopardise that.

Given that this is almost Bosch’s 20th outing, Connelly has well and truly got his key protagonist pegged.¬†I don’t mean to understate Connelly’s writing or Bosch’s character when I say he’s like that comfy¬†old sweatshirt you don¬†each winter. You know you won’t be disappointed by this faithful, reliable and well-worn stalwart.

Lucy is the perfect ying to Bosch’s yang. I like that – though suspicious of her meteoric rise – he overcomes his antipathy,¬†respects her and appreciates her potential. And the fact that she so readily soaks up Bosch’s advice and is already starting to mirror her mentor is kinda cute.

A fabulous new piece of work from Connelly which reminds me I need to get me more Bosch!

The Burning Room, published in Australia by Allen & Unwin, is available from 3 November 2014.

I received a copy compliments of The Reading Room and Allen & Unwin.

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