My Two Cents

Today’s Review — The Drop, by Michael Connelly

by Dec 7, 2011Reviews, Writers

I’ve been hanging around with Michael Connelly’s character, Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch for a couple decades now and loving every minute of it. So I was glad to see he had a lead role in Connelly’s latest book The Drop.

Fans of the series will know that Harry is a Los Angeles detective, most recently working in the Open-Unsolved Unit and staring retirement in the face. He’s been through a couple partners on the job, and a few romantic entanglements. Harry is defined by his integrity and his relentless pursuit of the truth.

In The Drop Harry and his current partner, David Chu, have two cases to solve. The first is a cold case involving possibly tainted DNA evidence. If the evidence is to be believed, a convicted rapist sexually assaulted and killed a woman when he was only eight years old.

The second case is a present-day case involving the death of George Irving, who either jumped, fell or was tossed from the top floor of a local hotel. George is the son of Harry’s long-time nemesis, Irvin Irving, and Irving Senior demands that Harry head up the investigation. Harry works cold cases, so there’s no reason for him to accept the Irving case, which is definitely not cold. And given the heated animosity between Harry and Irving Senior, Harry should turn it down.

But Harry lives by a code that demands he find the truth. When you live by a code, it sometimes makes for tough decisions.

Like accepting the Irving case, despite his feelings about Irving Senior.

Like pursuing the truth about the DNA evidence in the cold case, even if it means Harry must see a convicted rapist as another victim of the case, rather than a villain.

When Harry is not feeling pressure to solve the Irving case from LAPD brass, Irving Senior and the media, he’s feeling the self-imposed pressure to solve the cold case and to give long-awaited answers to the victim’s parents.

Harry’s integrity and relentless pursuit of the truth are both his greatest strengths and his greatest failings.

His stubborn belief that those whom he trusts should be unfailingly loyal to him, means Harry cannot cut people slack when they are more human than he, when they stumble and fail him. His relentless pursuit of the truth means he is destined to discover truths that may show his trust is misplaced.

During my two decades sharing the pages with Harry Bosch, I have come to trust him to always do the right thing. Or perhaps I should say the right thing à la Bosch.  There were one or two times during The Drop when I wanted to shake him and tell him to stop being so pig-headed, because he was in danger of not living up to my expectations. I worried that my trust in Harry was misplaced, that he would fail me.

No doubt that is exactly the response Connelly expected. He is especially good at showing us the two sides of a character. In The Drop Connelly shows not only the things that push and pull Harry Bosch, but those that define Harry’s colleagues and friends.

Harry Bosch’s strengths are both admirable and frustrating. And isn’t that the type of character with whom we love to spend time? A human being whose strengths can be his undoing. A character who makes us ask “what would I have done?”

The Drop is well worth reading.  Although some of the vital elements of Harry’s backstory are provided in the novel, if you are new to Harry Bosch, you might want to begin with an early novel in the series so that you are more grounded in Harry’s world. But, if you elect to start with The Drop – I think you’ll be so intrigued with Harry that you’ll want to read the entire series.

The Drop is available from Little, Brown and Company.

Reviewed by Charlotte Morganti

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