The Closers (OME)

Connelly, Michael

Published by Orion, 2005
ISBN 10: 0752864572 / ISBN 13: 9780752864570
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After three years out of the LAPD, Harry Bosch returns to find the department a different place from the one he left. A new police chief has been brought in from New York to give the place a thorough clean up from top to bottom. Working with his former partner, Kiz Rider, Harry is assigned to the department s Open-Unsolved Unit, working on the thousands of cold cases that haunt the LAPD s files. These detectives are the Closers. They put a shovel in the dirt and turn over the past. By applying new techniques to old evidence they aim to unearth some hidden killers and bring them to justice, for a city that forgets its murder victims is a city lost.

Harry and Kiz are given a politically sensitive case when a DNA match connects a white supremacist to the 1988 murder of Rebecca Verloren, a sixteen-year-old girl. Becky was of mixed race, and the case appears to have a racial angle. This was LA before the riots and Rodney King, when the city was a powder keg waiting for a match. The detectives who worked the case all those years ago seem to have done a decent job, but something doesn t fit.

Meanwhile Harry s nemesis, Deputy Chief Irving, is watching him. In the new clean LAPD Irving has been sidelined to a meaningless job. Compelled by vengeance, he hopes Harry will make a slip.

Review: "A city that forgets its murder victims is a city lost. This is where we don't forget," Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch is told by his new boss, as he ends a three-year retirement and rejoins the Los Angeles Police Department at the start of The Closers, the 11th installment of Michael Connelly's Edgar-winning series. Having long ago demonstrated his knack for cracking previously unsolved homicides, Bosch is assigned to the newly re-branded Open-Unsolved Unit (aka "cold case" squad), and charged with resolving the 17-year-old abduction and slaying of a mixed-race teenager.

Rebecca Verloren, 16, was discovered missing from her Chatsworth home on a July morning in 1988. Her corpse and the gun that ended her life were later found on a hill behind the house. An autopsy revealed that she'd recently undergone an abortion, and a piece of skin tissue--presumably the killer's--was found trapped inside the murder weapon. Only now, though, has DNA science matched that tissue to Roland Mackey, a dyslexic 35-year-old tow-truck operator with no obvious connection to the deceased. It's up to Bosch, once more partnered with Kizmin Rider, to determine whether Mackey offed Becky Verloren, or was at least an accessory to that tragedy. But the more Bosch and Rider dig into this dusty crime, trying in part to determine whether racial animosity might have been involved, the more pain and resistance they encounter. Becky's white mother maintains the teen's old bedroom as a shrine, while her shattered father, an African-American chef, has vanished into LA's homeless community. Of the two original investigators on the case, one has since committed suicide, and Bosch suspects that the other--now a police commander--is helping to keep the lid tight on some old departmental secrets, perhaps linked to our hero's nemesis, Deputy Chief Irvin S. Irving.

Understandably rusty after three years sans shield, Bosch makes his share of personal and professional mistakes here--including one that supplies The Closers with a lethal, plot-turning climax. But the greater problem is that Connelly exhausts so much time and effort following his protagonist through the tedium of modern police procedures, that he neglects what readers have liked more about this series in the past: its persistently deft exploration of Bosch's lonely, haunted soul (which remains mostly out of sight in this tale), and the author's frequent flights of lyrical prose (also not much in evidence). Would-be novelists wanting an example of a solidly constructed cop tale need look no further than The Closers. But readers hoping to learn why Connelly is so well-respected in this genre should turn, instead, to previous Bosch titles such as The Concrete Blonde, Angel's Flight, or City of Bones. --J. Kingston Pierce

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Title: The Closers (OME)
Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: 2005
Book Condition: Good
Edition: Open Market Ed.

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