Friday, September 25, 2020

Book Review: The Overlook by Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch #13)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong, fast paced mystery
Cons: Characters a little weaker than normal; Harry’s actions at times
The Bottom Line:
New partner, new case
Fast paced, twists in shorter book
Characters are thin

Fast Paced Fast Read

I was a bit surprised when I picked up The Overlook to see that is was shorter than a typical Michael Connelly novel.  That just meant that the twists of turns were packed into few pages.

This book finds Los Angeles Police Detective Harry Bosch starting a new job in the Homicide Special division of the LAPD.  He’s also been given a new partner, Ignacio “Call my Iggy” Ferras.  Iggy is younger than Bosch, and the expectation is that Bosch will help Iggy grow into a superstar detective.

Their first case together takes them to an overlook near Mulholland Drive.  Someone has shot a doctor in the back of the head.  The execution style shooting seems out of place for the rich neighborhood.  Bosch has hardly started his investigation when the FBI shows up and takes the case in a surprising direction.  If they take over the case, will Bosch be cut out?  Can he solve the murder?

This book started life as a serialized story that was expanded slightly to turn it into a novel.  This explains the smaller page count.  As I said earlier, that doesn’t translate to a dull plot in the slightest.  There are twists and turns all over the place that keep Bosch and us guessing.  I had a piece of it figured out, but it was a small piece.

Where this book suffers is the characters.  While Bosch and a few other recurring characters are their normal selves, I don’t feel like we got to know the new characters as well as we should have.  This doesn’t impact the mystery plot at all, but I wish we had gotten to know the new supporting players better, but I’m sure we will in future books.

Of course, part of that is because of the timeline of the book.  Bosch is working against a ticking clock, which leaves no time for sub-plots.  It also means that any character growth we get is minor since the focus is on the action.

Bosch is famous for ignoring the rules and doing whatever it is going to take to solve the case.  Normally, I enjoy seeing him skirt the rules to figure out what is really going on.  Here, some of his actions bothered me.  I’m not going to say more since it could be a spoiler, but I did feel like his actions were more reckless than usual.

I’m still reading these books via audiobook.  Once again, I listened to the version recorded by Len Cariou.  I usually enjoy his narration, but there was one scene here where his take on a character was super annoying.  This wasn’t the first audio to include some jazz between chapters, but here it felt a bit more intrusive since it wasn’t just at the end of some chapters or at the end of discs.  Mind you, these are minor complaints, but they meant the audio wasn’t quite as strong as normal.

As usual, I go into these books expecting a certain amount of foul language and violence.  They were kept to an absolute minimum here, instead keeping the focus on the action.

The Overlook may not be quite up to Michael Connelly’s usual standards, but it is still a compelling book.  Fans of Harry Bosch will be glad they picked it up.

Here are the rest of the Harry Bosch books.

This book is part of this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.

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