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I live in Bristol UK literary fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run

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Harry has an off day

The Overlook - Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch is called to the scene of a murder on the "Overlook" a high location in LA which offers stunning views of the city of angels. It soon becomes apparent that renowned physicist Dr. Stanley Kent was shot twice in the back of the head, all the marks of a professional killing. Very quickly the FBI are involved  in the form of Bosch's on/off lover Rachel Walling. It would appear that not only is this a murder scene but a hazardous  radioactive element "cesium" remains unaccounted for presumably stolen when the physicist  was executed. What at first was thought to be a simple homicide has evolved into a serious security issue and both the FBI and the LAPD must rush to contain an emerging national emergency. If there is one thing that angers Bosch it is having to share an investigation with other government agencies. As a maverick investigator he views with suspicion the actions of others and questions why not only the FBI but Homeland Security should "muscle" in on his turf!


As a long time admirer of the writings of Michael Connelly I must admit to be disappointed in this the 13th outing of our irascible hero Harry Bosch. He is much more comfortable (and so is the reader) when he is examining incidents peculiar to LA. Once the FBI and Homeland Security takes charge of this possible major chemical contamination, Harry is always playing catch up. Nevertheless, and almost unbelievably, it is Harry who from a single piece of evidence is able to resolve the matter by simply acting on his own intuition. What is the significance of Dr. Kent's wife? Why has a small yet potentially dangerous amount of the chemical been stolen? Is there an ulterior motive behind the theft?


This is a relatively short novel and even though I never felt comfortable with the storyline Connelly's writing, descriptions and his knowledge of this diverse colourful city always makes for enjoyable reading. There are some great secondary characters; Harry's new partner Ignacio (Iggy) Ferras who Harry refuses to call by his preferred name..."See you there, Ignacio Bosch said. Harry, Ferras said, I told you. Call me Iggy. Everybody does" Then there is the comical figure of Captain Don Hadley, affectionately know to his fellow cops as Captain Done Badly, who sees himself as a type of John Wayne figurehead.."The rest of you warriors mount up! We're going in." And lets not forget those wonderful descriptions...."Past the dam the city spread out in a blanket of a million lights, which shimmered in the cool evening air like floating dreams."........"The gray had not yet chased all of the brown out of his hair but it was getting close to victory."....."We are all circling the drain, he thought. Some are closer to the black hole than others; some will see it coming and some will have no clue when the undertow grabs them and pulls them down into the darkness forever."....