When work is hectic, and the personal life even more so, rereads and easy thrillers are the order of the day.
Michael Connelly has always been one of my fallback authors during such times and hence these two books.
Blood Work is practically a vintage read. This is the first in Connelly’s Terry McCaleb crime series, and is set, I gather in the late 90s (mainly due to the unavailability of cell phones in the novel).
When Graciella Rivers steps onto his boat, ex-FBI agent Terrell McCaleb has no idea he’s about to come out of retirement.
He’s recuperating from a heart transplant and avoiding anything stressful.
But when Graciella tells him the way her sister Gloria was murdered, it leaves Terry no choice.
Now the man with the new heart vows to take down a predator without a soul.
~ Synopsis from Goodreads
This book started strongly with an interesting premise, and maintains the tension and the thrills till about three-quarters into the novel. And even after the reveal, the book provides a heart-pounding climax with a neatly done showdown in the end.
That said, I found Terry McCaleb as a character boring. Because he is recovering from heart disease, he can’t really exert himself too much, and I understand that.
But from the reader point of view, his frequent naps, and his tendency to take things slow, just when the suspense and tension is ratcheted up was often frustrating.
In spite of that, I still loved this book. It was a reread, but one I had only a very hazy memory of. And it was great reading this late into one really sleepless night.
You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon.
The Burning Room
This is the 19th book in the Harry Bosch series, and one of the better books that Connelly has penned recently.
The Harry Bosch series, which once was so intense and gripping seemed to have lost its way around Nine Dragons (an abysmal book, in my opinion). After that book and some of the later books, I was in a depression for many days, wondering about the direction this series would take.
Thankfully, Michael Connelly manages to turn this downward trend somewhat with The Burning Room.
In the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but any other evidence is virtually nonexistent.
Now Bosch and his new partner, rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case. Starting with the bullet that’s been lodged for years in the victim’s spine, they must pull new leads from years-old information, which soon reveals that this shooting may have been anything but random.
~ Synopsis from Goodreads
Overall, a very strong book. For the first time, I felt that Harry Bosch had an equal partner in the investigation of the case. Lucia Soto was one mind-blowing, intense character and I loved reading about her just as much as I enjoyed reading the twin mysteries of the book.
Both the mysteries are also excellent, and since the crimes are rooted in the past, they are not easy to solve. Bosch and Soto are up for the challenge though and make a formidable investigative team, managing to run down the culprits.
It is then that the story takes a curious and seemingly random twist. I don’t want to give out any details but the last twenty pages were a complete surprise, and I am not sure whether I like it or not. All said and done, this was a brave ending for Connelly to take, although I’ve seen quite a few reviews complaining about the cop-out ending.
So ambiguous ending aside, I loved this book, and I really hope that with this one, Connelly gets back into his Harry Bosch groove.
You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon.
Note: I read both these books as part of my participation in the Cloak and Dagger reading challenge. With this post, I am now three books in to the challenge. Seven more to go!