“City of Bones,” (2002), is the eighth novel in the American crime author Michael Connelly‟s best-selling, prize winning LAPD Inspector Harry Bosch series. Of course Connelly, now a mega-seller in light of the film THE LINCOLN LAWYER, based on the author‟s book of the same name, has had many best sellers. Connelly is a former journalist, a crime beat writer for the Los Angeles Times, who certainly earned his spurs in murder while earning his daily bread. The Bosch series, Los Angeles-set police procedurals, looks at life on the "noir" side in that city. Bosch, who was supposedly named after the famous 15th century Dutch painter by his mother, finds himself drawn into a case that brings up dark memories when the bones of a schoolboy are found on New Years Day. A retired doctor walking his dog in the Hollywood Hills has let her off the leash; Calamity brings back a bone that the doctor is sure is human, and shows signs of terrible, lifelong abuse. Bosch had been orphaned when he was eleven: the murdered boy appears to be 10-13 years old. As the cops start looking, more bones quickly come to light: the boy apparently was buried only shallowly. Bosch will also embark upon an against-the –rules affair with a much-younger woman cop: one way and another, he‟s in for a bad time. Yet Bosch stubbornly discovers the child's identity and reconstructs his fractured life, determined that the boy won't be forgotten. In what I consider to be one of Connelly‟s most masterful „tours de force,‟ he comes up with several characters, one after another, and all believable, as the boy‟s possible murderer. The author further deepens his plot by telling us of the bones that come out of the La Brea tar pits, an ancient hazard to life now situated in the middle of busy Los Angeles; recently, the bones of a woman murdered 9,000 years ago had come to life. The book at hand gives us several of the supporting players we have become familiar with in Connelly‟s works: Bosch‟s police supervisor/enemy Irvin Irving, and the detective‟s partners/former partners Kiz Rider and Jerry Edgar. The author also pulls one of his favorite little maneuvers here, finding a way to mention another of his works, THE CLOSERS, which, while not yet written, was probably already outlined: he cleverly does that by bringing in the popular television show THE CLOSERS, which has actually nothing to do with his book of the same name. CITY also shows the excellent narrative, descriptive, and dialogue writing that are characteristic of Connelly, and is informed by his deep, accurate knowledge of police work, it too is written with great knowledge of, and love for, Los Angeles, the author's adopted home town. (You could pretty much use his works instead of a road map). In this book, the writer describes Venice, California, (the funky beach city adjacent to Santa Monica) with such poetry and power, that I‟ve remembered his descriptions since my first reading of it-- I had to go and get a good look at the place on one of my trips to the far coast. And, surely, the book follows in the footsteps of earlier outstanding hardboiled Los Angeles authors Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, but adds the further ingredients of a police procedural. Finally, Connelly explicates his love of jazz as he goes. And the writing he gives us, as for example, he explains the book‟s title: “Kohl … was making notations on a piece of paper with a grid already printed on it…. At the top of the page she had written „City of Bones.‟ …. „Why do you call it that?‟….‟Because we‟re setting out the streets and the blocks of what will become a city to us,‟….‟At least while we‟re working here it will feel like it. Our little city.‟ Bosch nodded. „In every murder is the tale of a city,‟ he said. … „Who said that?‟ „I don‟t know. Somebody did.‟” I‟ve looked that reference up; it‟s to a poet I‟m not familiar with. Shortly afterward, he discusses his time as a “tunnel rat,” working the dangerous tunnels of the Vietnam War, and explains the title of a book yet to be written. LOST LIGHT: that he also probably already had in outline: “Lost light. We called it lost light. We never knew where it came from. But it was down there. Like smoke hanging in the dark. Some people said it wasn‟t light, that it was the ghosts of everybody who died in those things. From both sides.” Many of Connelly‟s Bosch, and Lincoln Lawyer series have been New York Times best sellers, as have some of his recent standalones such as THE SCARECROW. Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers, a non-fiction collection of his journalism, was also a New York Times bestseller. Personally, I consider this to be one of the finest of the Bosch series; Connelly is writing at his most powerful, and Bosch‟s tenderness of feeling and empathy towards the young boy and his sad, short life, are palpable.
"City of Bones - DOC"