Friday, April 20, 2007

Read Lately: The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly

  • I am a very selective reader. Whether it's in words or pictures, there are too many options for me to slog through something I don't enjoy. So when I find an author that hits my buttons correctly (Can I still use that phrase in a non-ironic way?), I become a very loyal reader. Michael Connelly has become one of those authors.

  • The Last Coyote, the fourth book of his Harry Bosch series, is an exemplary example (whee!) of the detective mystery genre. As it starts, Bosch has finally gone over the line with the LAPD and is on disciplinary leave. He may be freed from the burden of day-to-day casework but he is still driven by his mission to right the wrongs in his city. One wrong in particular, the murder of his mother.

  • Any good mystery tells us as much about the detective as the crime being solved. In this case, the crime informs Bosch's character so much that to take him out of the story would destroy it in every way. The three previous novels in the series have only cement the groundwork upon which this tale plays out.

  • Michael Connelly has by this point (I mean 1995 when the book was published. Duh.) already developed a natural writing style that is spare, but still evoking the look and feel of modern Los Angeles. His prose is fast moving and relentless in its pace. However character development does not suffer from the speed with which the book reads. Instead the intensity of the mystery casts his characterizations into high relief, sharpening their personalities and propelling their growth throughout the novel.

  • My only nitpick is more due to the nature of the genre than with this book in particular. I much prefer for mysteries to be solved at the climax of the book. However in this novel, the tension peaks too early. Instead of resolving the mystery, you get a build to a second, much weaker climax before the end. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it feels forced more than anything. And for a novel that has done so much right to that point, it is a little disappointing.

  • Nitpick aside, Michael Connelly is now on my list of go-to authors for when I need a new mystery. Thank goodness there are so many of his books I haven't gotten to, yet!

No comments:

Post a Comment