Monday, May 20, 2019

Book Review: The Narrows by Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch #10)

Stars: 5 out of 5
: Strong characters, fast moving and twisty plot
Cons: Evil villain, but what I expected when I picked up this book
The Bottom Line:
Bosch gets involved in
A reborn FBI case
Another thrill ride

Harry Bosch Vs. The Poet

Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe debuted, Michael Connelly was creating one universe with his books.  He started out with some books about Los Angeles Police Detective Harry Bosch, but as he began to write standalones, he wove all his books together.  Sometimes, it was just a cameo or mention of characters from another book, but other times he wove characters from the standalones into the Harry Bosch series.  The Narrows represents a leap in this process, however.  This is a direct sequel to one of his stand alones but features Harry Bosch as a main character.

Which means, before we go any further, I do want to issue a spoiler warning.  While I won’t be spoiling the twists of this book (and there are plenty), this book completely spoils the twists of The Poet.  It only makes sense since this is a direct sequel.  But if you haven’t read that earlier standalone book, you really do need to read it before you enjoy this one.  Frankly, it’s been a few years since I listened to it, and I wish it had been a little fresher in my mind before I started this book.

The Poet is back.  After popping up only one other time in the years since FBI agent Rachel Walling shot him, he has now sent the FBI a GPS device with the coordinates of the burial site he’s been using for his murder victims.  Since he addressed it directly to Rachel, she has been brought down to Vegas even though she has been sent to South Dakota since that night eight years ago.

Meanwhile, Bosch, now retired, has been asked to investigate a friend’s death.  Everyone thought it was natural causes, but his widow thinks something else was going on, and she is afraid she might be blamed if she goes to anyone else.  As Bosch begins to investigate, he thinks that there is indeed more to this friend’s death than everyone believed.  Where will the investigation lead?

Yes, I’m being vague about whose death Bosch is investigating.  I will say it is someone we’ve seen in previous books from Michael Connelly, and this death saddened me because I’ve liked the character from the first time we met him.

Connelly does a great job of starting the investigation from these two different points and weaving them together.  While it is obvious to us early on that things will merge, he keeps us interested while the characters catch up to what we can assume since we know we are reading a book.  And then when these characters do meet, there isn’t too much time before they are sharing information, so we can focus on the twists to come.  As always, Connelly lays things out well, keeping the action fast while also giving us surprising twists that make perfect sense.

Speaking of twists, Bosch got a big twist in her personal life at the end of the previous book.  That is followed up on here, and I loved getting to see a different side of his character.  All the characters in this series are complex, and that continues here, which helps pull us into Bosch’s world and makes me anxious to get back when I finish a book.

The book is told partially from Bosch’s first-person point of view and partially from other character’s third-person point of view, mostly Rachel’s.  While I was listening to the audio, I never had a hard time knowing which point of view I was in.  Well, a couple of times, the switch wasn’t obvious for a sentence or two, but then only between the action was happening fast and both Bosch and Rachel were involved in what was happening.  It was never confusing or distracted me at all.

As always, these books are certainly darker than the cozies I normally pick up.  We are dealing with a demented serial killer for one, and the series never shies away from the violence of murder.  It’s not too gratuitous, and I find the books well worth it, but do keep that in mind when you pick one of them up.

I already mentioned that, once again, I listened to an audio version of this book.  Specifically, I listened to the Booktrack edition narrated by Len Cariou.  For the most part, he did a good job, although the couple of times a kid entered the book, I found his voice annoying as he tried to mimic a preschooler.  The other thing to comment on was the music, which was at the end of some chapters, but not all.  It was needless and a bit distracting as I tried to figure out the pattern.  At least the occasional sound effects at the beginning didn’t carry over through the entire book since they were distracting.  Honestly, I just need a book read well, I don’t need the extras.

The Narrows is another masterpiece from a great writer.  It is well worth waiting to read until you have the backstory so the twists mean more to you.

To learn more about Harry Bosch, be sure to check out the rest of the Harry Bosch books in order.


  1. The Harry Bosch series is one of my all-time favorite detective fiction series. I'm caught up on the books right now and really looking forward to the next one even though Harry is pretty much going to be just co-starring with the Rene Ballard character.

    Have you watched the Bosch series on Prime video? I'm in the middle of Season 5 and loving the mashups it does of Bosh books. Good stuff with great acting.

    1. I obviously have a long way to go with the books. I haven't watched the series. I'm not a Prime member, so I don't have an easy way to watch it. And I haven't wanted to watch it yet anyway so it doesn't spoil books I haven't gotten to yet. I figure by the time I am caught up on the books, there should be some way I can watch the series.


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