Connelly weaves another fascinating detective tale

Michael Connelly’s latest book has just come out and, of course, it already is atop the bestseller lists. In “Desert Star” Connelly rejoins Los Angeles Police Department detective Renée Ballard and now retired LAPD detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch in a newly minted cold case unit.

Connelly painstakingly guides the reader through the evidence maze of two cold cases. One was the murder and desert burial of four family members — two parents and two children. It was one Bosh had not been able to solve as a homicide detective, though he had a suspect’s name.

The other is the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in her own bedroom. The only clue is a smudged palm print on the window sill. Her brother is now a city council member and was instrumental is resurrecting the cold case unit. So, of course, that case is of highest priority.

Connelly tells the story with brusque prose, snappy dialogues and the occasional heart-pounding action sequences that sometimes leave the aging Bosch a bit worse for wear. As with all of his books, it is a true page turner.

Here is a snippet that shows Connelly’s writing style and reveals the derivation of the book’s title. Bosh has driven early one morning into the sweltering Mojave Desert, where the four Gallagher family members were buried, just to help him recall the various aspects of the unsolved case. He runs into a local cop who stopped when he saw Bosch’s battered Jeep aside the remote road. That cop also had worked on the Gallagher case.

Bosch stood up and dusted off his pants. He was done here. Orestes reached down and picked one of the flowers.

“Hard to believe something so beautiful can exist in this place,” he said. “And people say there is no God. You ask me, there’s God right there.”

He turned the stem between his fingers, and the flower turned like a pinwheel.

“You know what that is?” Bosch asked.

“Sure,” Orestes said, “This one’s called the desert star.”

Bosch nodded. He wasn’t convinced that it was God on earth, but he liked that.

They started back toward their vehicles.

“What about McShane?” Orestes asked. “ He poke his head up somewhere?”

“Not as far as I know,” Bosch said. “But I haven’t started to look again. I will today.”

McShane is is the aforementioned suspect, of course.

I highly recommend this book, as well as the three dozen or so books this former newspaper reporter has written over the past three decades.

And, yes, Hieronymus Bosch is the name of the Dutch painter also known for complex depictions of large groups of people doing depraved deeds.

3 comments on “Connelly weaves another fascinating detective tale

  1. Debra says:

    I really liked this book – Connelly’s books are terrific – and lost a bit of sleep engrossed in its pages. The end left me somewhat sad, though – no, neither Bosch nor Ballard get killed, and I won’t spoil the book for others – and found myself mulling over one of the underlying plotlines in the days after finishing it.

  2. I too was a bit bothered by the ending. Knowing that my aging body provides frequent aches and pains, I wonder if 66-year-old Connelly is feeling a bit cranky.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good point!

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