In my last post on Thursday I put up a review of the first Harry Bosch mystery, Black Echo. A few weeks ago I posted a review on the latest in the series, The Drop. I have been reflecting on Bosch. It has been 20 years since Connelly created Bosch.
It was interesting to go back to read the first in a long running series where I have read most of the other books. I found myself understanding later developments better from reading the opening mystery. I was reminded why I try to read series sequentially.
’s efforts to get Bosch fired in Black Echo makes it clear why Bosch was so surprised in The Drop to have Irving reach out to him to lead the investigation into the death of Irving ’s son. Irving
It is striking in Black Echo how Bosch is a chain smoker who can barely stay in a room without lighting up a cigarette.
Right from the start of the series Bosch has the appealing trait of fearlessness. He can neither be intimidated by superiors nor criminals. I believe he attracts readers as a person who speaks bluntly, especially to authority, what many, more polite and careful, wish they would say to those who seek to control them. I have met a few men like Bosch in real life who have been equally unafraid. All but one were big powerful men who been tested physically to the limit and met the challenge.
Physical danger has never deterred Bosch as a detective. At times he verges on the recklessly brave. Being a tunnel rat in
burned the fear of death out of Bosch. He is a man you would want beside you in a dangerous situation. Vietnam
Still, even Bosch’s stubborn attitudes to authority are affected by life. In Black Echo he is willing to take chances in his investigation and does not worry about being fired. By The Drop superiors would undoubtedly still see him as insolent but Bosch is trying to adjust a lifetime of disdain for the system to use the bureaucracy to maximize the length of his career.
Life is hard for perfectionists. Bosch is no exception. Nothing but precise investigations satisfy him. He antagonizes partners and supervisors with his intolerance of average police work.
Bosch is a hard man in Black Echo without the family around that helps soften him in The Drop. It is hard to think of the driven, often caustic Bosch of Black Echo being the affectionate father of the teenage Maddie two decades later in The Drop. If Bosch did not have Maddie I worry what would happen to him when he is forced to retire in 3 years. It to Connelly’s credit Bosch can credibly change in his personal life over two decades.
From Black Echo to The Drop Bosch works by the principle everyone counts or no one counts. He believes all victims of violent crime deserve a careful thorough investigation.
While readers would want Bosch investigating the murder of a loved one he remains so driven through the whole series it is hard to see going out with him for a beer. Of course, Bosch could care less whether someone wanted to spend time with him.
In both books, as common in many of Connelly’s books in the series, the identity and character of the bad guys is revealed relatively late in the book.
One of the distinctions through the series involves the character of the bad guys. In Black Echo there are realistic multi-dimensional bad people. In The Drop the bad guy is almost a cartoon character being nothing but evil.
I hope Connelly creates villains worthy of Bosch in coming books. While Elvis Cole is a self-proclaimed World’s Greatest Detective I would say Bosch is
’s Greatest Detective. Cartoon style bad guys should be left for the lesser detectives of southern L.A. . California
Bosch appears destined to spend his senior years alone. His work obsessed character has made a long term female relationship impossible over the past 20 years. In The Drop he tries to slow down but is soon seeking ways for Maddie to get by without him at home. I wonder if Connelly is setting up Bosch to ease the pace of life abit and find a lady with whom to share his life.