Friday, August 13, 2021

Book Review: Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch #14)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Action keeps the reader engaged
Cons: Plot weak overall, Bosch at times
The Bottom Line:
Not your average case
Contained in average book
Huge impact on Bosch

Monumental Book but Average Entry

While I have been listening to Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch books in order, I did listen to his Mickey Haller books first.  Since all of Michael Connelly’s books intertwine a little, that meant that I was spoiled for the events of Nine Dragons before I started the book, although I didn’t realize the events would happen here until I started it.  Maybe it was knowing what was coming, but I found this book to be weaker than most of Michael Connelly’s books.

It seems like a normal case.  In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that the South LA bureau is too busy, Harry and his partner would never have taken on the case.  The owner of a convenience store has been shot and killed.  Because the owner is Asian, Bosch quickly calls in the Asian Crime Unit, and the trail seems to lead to the Chinese triad.  But that’s when things get personal, and Bosch finds himself heading to Hong Kong on a personal mission.  Will he succeed?  Will that impact his case at home?

The book started out well.  I knew there would be more to the convenience store murder than there first appeared to be or it wouldn’t be a Harry Bosch book.  The book had some elements we’ve seen before, including Bosch’s frustration with his partner and his supervisor.  Okay, so it was a bit cliché, but it wasn’t too bad.

It was when the book shifted to Hong Kong that things got bogged down.  At this point, the book becomes a ticking clock thriller, and I was willing to go along for the ride.  Some of the clues Bosch follows are thin and a tad convenient, but again, I didn’t mind.  That’s how a thriller works.  My biggest frustration here was with Bosch himself.  He wants to go charging into the unknown, and I understand his feelings, but he keeps overriding or ignoring people who would actually know the situation better than he does.  I kept wanting to scream to him to slow down and listen.  Honestly, his arrogance has begun to be an issue for me in the last few books, so I hope he begins to mature and not assume he knows best as a result of what happens here.

For the final part of the book, the action returns home to Los Angeles.  And here’s where the plot suffers.  I didn’t feel like the twists in the final portion were worthy of all that had happened before.  They felt forced just we could have some twists.  Ironically, I think I would have liked them in other circumstances.  But in this case, I didn’t think they worked.

Of course, even subpar Michael Connelly is still good.  I was engaged by the story, and I do like Bosch, so it was easy to root for him to succeed, even though I knew the outcome.  I couldn’t get to the end of the book fast enough.

And Len Cariou is still doing a good job with the narration of the audio books.  I did find a few of his choices as he was reading a big odd, but they were minor issues overall, and I was able to get lost in the story.

Nine Dragons is an important story in Harry Bosch’s life, so for that reason, fans of the series will want to read it.  I just wish it were stronger overall.

Enjoy the rest of the Harry Bosch mysteries.

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