Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Engrossing mystery, complex characters
Cons: All cons took flight
The Bottom Line:
Bodies on a train
Start another complex book
Darker but gripping
Bosch Must Solve a Murder Before the Powder Ignites
It’s very true that there is nothing new under the sun. I had that thought while listening to Angels Flight, the sixth Harry Bosch book written by Michael Connelly. While the book was originally published in 1999, I felt like parts of it were all too current.
It’s 2 AM when Bosch gets the call. He and his team are supposed to meet LAPD Deputy Chief Irvin Irving at Angels Flight, a vehicular type railroad that takes passengers up a steep hill in downtown Los Angeles. They are all confused since this is outside their normal Hollywood beat plus they are not next in the rotation.
Things become clear when Harry arrives at the scene and discovers who the victim is – Harvey Elias. Elias is a lawyer who has built a career out of suing the LAPD for brutality – both real and imagined. He currently had a major case set to go to trial in two days, and in trying to find detectives who might not be suspects, Harry and his team are logical choices. Plus, there’s the fact that Harry’s two partners are African American, like Elias.
Not only are the number of potential suspects overwhelming, but the politics of the case are daunting. One wrong step could land Los Angeles in the middle of another race riot. But Bosch’s main concern is the truth. Will he find it? Will it be enough to keep the peace in the city?
See what I mean? This really could still be ripped from today’s headlines. Yet while listening to this book, I never felt like it was a lecture. It was a mystery first, but it did a good job of presenting the complexities of people and how they react to things. In other words, there are no easy solutions, and this book doesn’t try to offer them.
Especially since this is a mystery. And as a mystery, it is wonderful. If I did put a piece together before Bosch did, I was only half a chapter ahead of him at best. There were plenty of clues and twists I didn’t see coming, but they were always logical. In fact, I am once again in awe of the way author Michael Connelly constructed his plot. He is wonderful at creating intricate plots that can only lead to the conclusion we never saw coming.
And yet his books aren’t just about the plots. The characters are just as complex. They can surprise each other and themselves. We get to see some sympathetic sides to characters we might not normally like. These grays make the stories fascinating.
As I hinted earlier, I listened to the audio version narrated by Peter Giles. I was glad to see he’d taken over the narration of the series at this point, and he does a fantastic job. I listened to this book on a recent trip up to visit my family, and I was engrossed the entire time. The miles and hours flew by.
While some of the political realities are sadly unchanged, the one thing that has definitely changed in technology. It’s actually kind of funny how little Bosch knows about stuff we take for granted now. But this was 1999, a time when people still had pagers. These dated references do nothing to blunt the impact of the book.
And make no mistake about it, while this book is engrossing, it is definitely darker than what I normally read. I think it is worth it, but remember that when you sit down to read it.
If you are looking for an engrossing mystery, I highly recommend Angels Flight. Michael Connelly just gets better with every book.