Title: The Drop
Author: Michael Connelly
Blurb: Harry Bosch has been given three years before he must retire from the LAPD, and he wants cases more fiercely than ever. In one morning, he gets two.
DNA from a 1989 rape and murder matches a 29-year-old convicted rapist. Was he an eight-year-old killer or has something gone terribly wrong in the new Regional Crime Lab? The latter possibility could compromise all of the lab’s DNA cases currently in court.
Then Bosch and his partner are called to a death scene fraught with internal politics. Councilman Irvin Irving’s son jumped or was pushed from a window at the Chateau Marmont. Irving, Bosch’s longtime nemesis, has demanded that Harry handle the investigation.
Relentlessly pursuing both cases, Bosch makes two chilling discoveries: a killer operating unknown in the city for as many as three decades, and a political conspiracy that goes back into the dark history of the police department.
Coming fresh off the mediocre 9 Dragons, this installment of the Harry Bosch series was a breath of fresh air. Harry was back in good form, using his typical grab bag of detective skills and his ever-present “charm” to burn through two cases, one a political assignment he isn’t keen on working and the other a murder that intrigues him far more.
I appreciated this book because of the way it balances showcasing the baggage of Harry’s history with Irving with the allure of a “fresh” murder case. The push and pull between the LAPD’s need to resolve the death of Irving’s son and Harry’s own need to bring justice to one of the “little guys” is highlighted here in a way that it hasn’t been for quite a few books, and it serves to re-emphasize once again just who Harry Bosch is—the guy that cares about every murder, not just the ones that “matter.” I liked that this book brought that point of characterization back into focus.
Plot wise, I thought both cases presented in the story were strong enough, and they each had a number of solid twists and turns. As is typical with Connelly books, the resolution for each case was morally complex and raised a lot of difficult questions. Neither case was wrapped up neat and tidy with a little bow, and that’s how I prefer my murder mysteries to end, because I think it accurately reflects the “gray” moral nature of reality and makes the books feel more realistic.
I won’t say this is my favorite Harry Bosch novel—there are so many choose from that it would honestly be hard to pick just one as the cream of the crop—more like a middling book, but this book definitely redeemed the series after the letdown that was 9 Dragons. So this gets a solid rating from me.