Book Review: The Drop: Harry Bosch #17 (Michael Connelly)

Book: The Drop: Harry Bosch Series #17 

Author: Michael Connelly 
ISBN:  1455518980
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing  
No. of Pages: 448

Michael Connelly, a former journalist, is a cult author of crime novels. He is master of mixing realistic details of police work and legal procedures with the private feelings of police officials and personal lives of his protagonists. Back in 2009 I read The Closure which was his eleventh book in Harry Bosch series, and became his diehard fan. Now, in 2012 I got my hands on The Drop, his seventeenth book in Harry Bosch series. So world’s favorite homicide detective is still hunting for criminals hiding in darker side of the world.

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.
In typical Connelly Way without giving much of the plot, story proceeds where detective Bosch is assigned on two unrelated cases at once. First case is assigned to Bosch and his partner David Chu by Open Unsolved Unit and other is forced on him by his old nemesis Irvin Irving, who is now City Councilman. The title The Drop has two meanings, first can refer to Suicidal of Councilman’s Son and other can also refer to Deferred Retirement Option Plan, that is 39 months for Harry.
First case led them to Clayton Pell, a sex-offender, whose DNA evidence was found on victim’s body. But soon they found that when crime ensued he was just eight year old. Before Bosch could start working on first case he was assigned to another. Councilman Irving’s son is found dead on a hotel’s sidewalk and Councilman ordered LAPD to call Bosch for investigation. Harry is anxious of councilman’s behavior because they don’t much share a good relation.
Connelly followed his legendary writing style of letting readers know about the case first then about an obvious suspect, who seems perfect for the job. Later during the investigation other character starts to join and makes the case more and more complicated. Unlike his other novels The Drop is suffering from lack of depth in characters. Except for Harry Bosch, I found most characters being stuffed in the story. Bosch’s daughter, fifteen year old Maddie, somewhere added a bit of interest, but only in hope of her joining LAPD as detective to inherit legacy of Bosch.
Connelly’s language lost its edge this time, it engaged me but failed to evoke the cerebral investigation feel. There are twists and surprises but almost all are predictable. For me, reading experience was more of reading two short stories pooled with each other just to make a four hundred forty eight page novel. With two such strong cases Connelly could have written two standalone novels. Dialogs are not strong and felt extremely flat. He maintained the pace of story by introducing different angles of investigation and characters, but there are no events to support his attempt. In chapter #31, I almost believed that there is nothing more to read because there are multiple shadow endings.
Political influence is described correctly and is not bound to LA only; you can see such influences in any country. Connelly has successfully schematized plot around political influence and centered it as theme of novel. I somewhere read Connelly has decided to end the Harry Bosch series soon and probably that’s the reason why he showed softer side of Bosch. He presented him as a sincere father of a teenage girl and showed his inclination towards a middle aged woman Dr. Stone. Growing older and ornery behavior of detective Bosch is dealt perfectly.
Connelly tried to build suspense throughout the book and at climax; successfully evoked the grave serious message of battling with the darker side of the world. Connelly is undoubtedly skilled and renowned writer but The Drop failed to meet my expectations. Only point of recommendation would be that even after being seventeenth book of a series, one can read it without wondering about any inexplicable flashback.

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