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Detective Harry Bosch is out of retirement and back into the thick of things in the LAPD's open/unsolved unit, AKA Cold Case squad. And his first assignment is resolving a seventeen-year-old murder of a racially mixed teenager. It's only now with new technology that DNA evidence leads to a possible suspect - a white supremacist name Roland Mackey. The more Harry digs into this dusty crime, the more pain and resistance he encounters. Faced with unlikely suspects, departmental politics and corruption, Bosch remembers all too well why he quit in the first place.

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Kevin Galvin
Police Sergeant
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Kathy Grieve
Member of the Law Enforcement Review Board
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This is my first Connelly and I really enjoyed the read. I liked the characters: Harry, his partnership, his relationships with people that he didn't get along with, his mindset...I thought it was very well done. There's a description of how Harry felt about the loss of his badge, how before he came back he didn't even walk properly. For him, it was a connection between the psychological and physical loss of his gun. You do physically walk differently when you have the kit on.

Harry is a believable cop to me. He has the right amount of compassion and logic. He's hard-bitten and cynical, but not consumed by it. His only hobbies are a feral cat, cold pizza, bad whiskey, and cleaning his gun - that's what he comes home to every night. He is an extreme loner, really independent. There's one point where he gets a break in the case and he chooses not to call his partner - that would never happen, he'd never be allowed back in the squad room - but it's a comment on the kind of guy he is.

Connelly is playing with the idea that we don't have a justice system, we have a legal system. A legal system is all about processes and mechanics. Justice is one of these sometimes naïve concepts about what should be happening if a certain set of circumstances exist. Justice is a personal issue - my definition of getting justice for a wrong is maybe completely different than every one of yours. I think that goes into the concept of closure - I can't tell you how you should feel or when you should quit feeling victimized by a crime. I don't think there is closure through justice.

Cold case investigation is an enormous job, due primarily to the fact that standards of investigation were not the same then that they are now, and some of the cases are 20, 50, 60 years old.

 

I thought this was a very readable mystery. Connelly took advantage of the current technology and mixed in DNA and Cold Case Files, and then he added the young, pregnant, mixed-race murder victim, so I thought it was very much a current kind of mystery. At the beginning it was the characters that spoke more to me than the plot, but as it progressed it became true Connelly for me.

I find Bosch to be a likable detective. He's a workaholic, a loner, and yet lonely. There was a part of me that went out to him, like if I met him I'd want to buy him a cup of coffee. Bosch always comes out with an answer to the mystery in all of the Bosch books, but it's not always easily done. The answer often comes at Bosch's expense - at one point it cost him three years of being out of the loop.

I like that Bosch's new job is being a closer. I don't know if 'closure' is psychobabble or not. I do think that solving this murder is helpful to the parents, but I don't know that you can ever provide closure. You might close the case, but the emotions and far-reaching ramifications of a murder or death in the family may never be closed.

I did think that the investigation was unrealistically fast. A wiretap can take months to set up. However, the characters were so well developed and very human.

Other reviews by Kathy Grieve:
Darkly Dreaming Dexter
The Torment of Others