Review: The Crossing

Odd things happen in the career of Hieronymus (‘Harry’) Bosch. Harry is that immensely popular Los Angeles homicide detective who first appeared in The Black Echo in 1992. Now 20–odd novels later in The Crossing comes the oddest twist of the lot.

Harry has been forcibly retired over a minor infraction that would have been quickly covered up for any other LAPD detective. It is the old story. Harry goes after the truth like an obsessed bloodhound no matter how embarrassing for his department that particular truth may be (see The Burning Room). Typically Harry has hired his embarrassing half–brother, defence lawyer Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer – his office is a Lincoln limousine) to sue the department over the issue. To his dismay, Bosch discovers Haller wants him to help prove the innocence of a client accused of the savage murder of a female public servant. Even if she was not coincidentally a cop’s wife, Harry believes working for the defence would be a betrayal, the crossing of a line. He had never forgiven retired cops who had crossed to ‘the dark side’. However, Harry could never resist a mystery. Soon he is outraging former colleagues as he beavers away, not only totally undermining what the LAPD consider an ‘open and shut case’, but slowly uncovering a complex web of theft, extortion and murder. Worst of all, Harry discovers the likeliest suspects are two detectives from the vice–squad. It is a gripping story, but unless I missed something, its plot proves too complex for the author for a vital component of the plot is left dangling unexplained. Moreover, Connelly seems to have lost his grip on his characters. In earlier novels Haller, the cynical lawyer, would not have been so convinced of his client’s innocence because to him guilt or innocence were irrelevant. Mickey’s sole concern was to get him off. As for Harry, who always considered a detective’s first responsibility was to the victims and nailing their killer, why would he be racked by guilt for working to overthrow the prosecution of somebody he is convinced is innocent. Then there is that very suspicious character, the husband of the first victim (the first of several victims) who certainly did not kill his wife – but then why was she killed at all by the sociopaths who subsequently embark on a murderous rampage ‘tidying up loose ends’? Connelly makes the husband react guiltily to one of Harry’s questions but why should he if he is not part of it? Nevertheless my strictures should not deter Connelly’s many readers. If you start it you have to finish it – as usual. Author: Michael Connelly Publisher: Allen & Unwin

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