Better Get a Bucket

I thought I was at the end of my crime-fiction binge, but I was able to fit one more "wafer thin" novel into my gullet without exploding like Mr. Creosote-- I read the first Harry Bosch novel over break (The Black Echo) and it is definitely worth starting at the beginning; the plot is wild, convoluted and gripping, and you also find out about why Bosch has been demoted, why IAD is on his tail, and why his sense of humor isn't as keen as that of John Rebus . . . Bosch was a "tunnel rat" in Vietnam, and some of his fellow rats figure prominently in the novel's caper plot; now that I've read a few, I see the general formula of a Harry Bosch novel: there's an investigation that administrators do not want investigated; Bosch gets involved; no one else really wants to follow through the way Bosch does, so he ends up on his own; he is asked to stand down, but he becomes obsessed-- despite the fact that Internal Affairs is watching him for foul-play, breaches of protocol, and corruption-- and he eventually reaches the truth, which is not as neat and/or pretty as he would have liked, and he pays a heavy price for this knowledge . . . but he can handle it because his soul is nearly dead anyway; Connelly's brilliance is in the details-- in the description of the 1970 photo of the tunnel rats, each man's dog tags were taped together to prevent jangling when they went "out of the blue and into the black," and the novel is worth reading solely for the stuff that happens under the ground, in the L.A. sewer system and the spider holes in Vietnam (nearly as good as the Vienna tunnel stuff in The Third Man).


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