Little, Brown & Co., 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD
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Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
've been looking forward to this novel since
City of Bones
left a question mark in reader's minds about Harry Bosch's future. Well, he's done it. As this story opens, Harry's been retired from the LAPD for a year, with the watch and a PI license to show for it. Of course, Harry's not the type to sit around forever, and an old colleague's call has instigated his investigation of yet another cold case.
our years before, Harry, along with partners Kiz Rider and Jerry Edgar, took on the case of a dead young woman, the supplicating position of whose hands haunted Bosch, reminding him of a Renaissance painting. Subsequently the murder was tied in to a robbery/shooting at a film set (where Harry was interviewing a witness) and the '
' reassigned it to detectives Dorsey and Cross. Several months later they were shot while lunching in a bar - Dorsey killed and Cross paralysed. Lawton Cross asked Harry to look into the case again.
here's something almost jesuitical about Harry Bosch, with his tortured soul and his lifelong mission to '
stand for the dead
'. He interrupts his regular sax lessons (with old Sugar Ray McK in a retirement home) to start digging, using old contacts, but without the resources he had as a cop. When Harry finds a tie to a disappeared female FBI agent, he strays onto territory marked as their own by a heavy hitting Homeland Security outfit in the Bureau, and they come down hard.
his is where the author takes the Nietzsche quote that has been central to the series and to Harry's character ('
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster
') and applies it to a small corner of the struggle against terrorism. There is an abuse of power, but the author does not condescend to the reader by giving trite answers to a big question; he lays it out and lets us make up our own minds about who should watch the watchers - as Bosch solves his own problem with them in his inimitable fashion.
arry also struggles with desire (and fear) associated with seeing his ex-wife Eleanor Wish (first met in
The Black Echo
) again. In a typical example of the author's powerful use of imagery, Harry's feelings are compared to a blended milk shake filled to the very edge. He does travel to Las Vegas, where he enlists Eleanor's help in diverting FBI attention from his actions. And of course, Bosch solves the case, indulging his need for violence and facing his personal demons once more.
he novel ends in earthquaking action, resulting in a series of tsunami surprises. It's a remarkable thriller even for those not already fans of Hieronymus Bosch. If you've followed his adventures through the series, as I have, you'll find the ending immensely satisfying, as the '
' of the title seeps into Harry's wounded soul.
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