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The Overlook    by Michael Connelly Amazon.com order for
Overlook
by Michael Connelly
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In this thirteenth in the series, Harry Bosch has come in from the cold - after a brief stint as a private investigator and a position with the LAPD Open-Unsolved Unit - and is back in the role for which his talents are best suited. He's now assigned to the Homicide Special squad, concerned with cases that look to be long-running, as well as those with political, celebrity or media connections.

Now, 'his first call out in the new job' takes Harry to the overlook near Mulholland Drive, Hollywood - close to a mansion that used to belong to Madonna - where the corpse of Dr. Stanley Kent has been found, shot execution style. Harry arrives ahead of his new, young and inexperienced partner, Ignacio 'Iggy' Ferras. So does beautiful FBI agent/profiler Rachel Walling, with whom Harry has had an on-again, off-again relationship through several cases (and novels). Rachel, now with 'a shadowy FBI unit called Tactical Intelligence', doesn't like Harry's methods though she respects his abilities.

Agent Walling identifies the body and lets Bosch in on the fact that Dr. Kent, a medical physicist, was wearing TLD rings that read radiation exposure. He had access to cesium, used in the treatment of cancer, and of interest to terrorists for less benign purposes, i.e. a dirty bomb. Rachel met him while interviewing individuals on a Homeland Security watch list. They proceed to Kent's home, where they find his wife tied up - it seems that she was used as a hostage to ensure that her husband followed orders and acquired the cesium. Harry unearths a rather dorky witness, and uses him as leverage against the feds who're keeping him in the dark.

Soon, plenty more cooks start stirring the political soup and (from Harry's perspective) getting in the way. Rachel's partner, Jack Brenner, naturally gives the terrorist threat priority over the murder. And then there's Captain Don Hadley, a political appointee commonly known as Captain Done Badly, who heads the LAPD Office of Homeland Security, and badly wants in on the action. As always, Harry doggedly pursues his own agenda, despite the strong reservations of his rookie partner and even though it will surely compromise his hope of a future with Rachel - 'that he still carried like a number in a cell phone's heart.'

Of course there are more deaths, of course all is not what it seems, and of course Harry quickly figures it out (in a record twelve hours this time) in Connelly's usual twisting, turning plot, involving multiple murders and misdirection. Though shorter than previous Harry Bosch episodes, The Overlook is an engrossing, surprising read, not to be missed.

Audiobook review by Mary Ann Smyth:

A body is found on the overlook near Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, apparently an execution-style shooting. Dr. Stanley Kent has been shot in the back of his head twice. LAPD's Homicide Squad, headed by Detective Harry Bosch, is called out to investigate.

In tracing Kent's steps prior to his death, Bosch finds contradictions. A routine investigation turns into a highly dangerous exercise with action at every turn. The plot at times seems a bit convoluted but never really strays off a steady path to a solution. The actual villain in the piece will startle but maybe not.

Bosch is a well-fleshed out character with some of the same flaws we all try to hide. His cohorts in the investigation could easily be co-workers anywhere. The only thing that defines them as unusual is their chosen occupation.

Len Cariou's narration is superb. A distinguished stage, film and television actor, he brings this background with him as he fills each role with believable accents and idiosyncrasies. A very talented man, he adds greatly to an already fine work. I'm sure he could make the Manhattan phone book interesting. Both book and actor make for hours of listening entertainment.

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