Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jack Bauer-esque

Title: The Overlook
Author: Michael Connelly
Bookmark:  I finished it in two days; I really just tucked handy items inside while I got up to make dinner and do other chores.

Harry Bosch is a pretty great, if less well-known, literary detective.  He doesn't have quite the hang-ups of so many others, and isn't over-the-top with a narrow field of brilliance, like the ones who eventually end up with TV shows these days.  Bosch is determined, and maybe narrow-minded.  Rather, he's focused.

When a body found on the Mulholland Drive overlook is discovered to have access to radiologic materials used in hospitals, the FBI becomes interested in Bosch's case.  Then a large quantity of cesium is discovered missing, and the FBI quietly bulldozes Bosch out of his case, demanding access to everything he finds while sharing nothing they have.  This makes Bosch rather... uncooperative.  And who could blame him?  The federales are so consumed with tracking down the cesium before it finds its way into a dirty bomb that they keep all their information from Bosch, who still wants to find the man's killer.  He has a job to do, and whether the FBI likes it or not, nobody stops Harry Bosch from doing his job.

A few days ago I was at a bookstore and was disheartened to find that while there were only single copies of two or three books each by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, there were entire shelves full of modern tripe by James Patterson and Janet Evanovich.  I'll be fair: while I know that both authors are ridiculously popular, I've never read any Evanovich, so I'm in no position to judge her, but I've read a lot of Patterson, and I've never been impressed.  Chandler and Hammett may not have been as prolific, but they were founders and masters of the craft, and some credit is due.  At the risk of disproportionate praise, I'd like to see more shelf space dedicated to Connelly.  The man knows how to write a good mystery, and as I'm finding in my own recent efforts, it's much harder than I ever realized.  The characters are solid, with long shared histories and distinct personalities, and the plot, which covers only about twelve straight hours, is taut, well-executed, and all too believable.

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posted by reyn at 6:29 AM


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