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by Michael Connelly
Warner Books, February 2003
464 pages
ISBN: 0446611611

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

CITY OF BONES is Michael Connelly's eighth book in his highly successful homicide detective Hieronymous "Harry" Bosch series. Here, Harry is once again partnered with well dressed, divorced, Jerry Edgar.


On New Yearıs Day in the Hollywood Hills in California, a neighborhood pet dog digs up a bone that turns out to be from a twenty year old homicide. After examining the bone, it is found to be that of an undersized 12-year-old boy. The bone tells the story of a child who was beaten and suffered many multiple fractures and breaks starting from infancy. The thought that a boy had been abused for his short young life only to be murdered and buried in a shallow grave began to dig deep into Harry's well-covered emotions. He feels that it's his job to, at the least, bring this child some justice and to find his murderer.

Although the case is a very cold one, the news appeal of an abused child left in a shallow grave leads to a lot of media attention and the police department gives Harry and Jerry the time needed to solve this heart wrenching case.

At the same time, Harry finds himself breaking the rules of command by starting an affair with a rookie, Julia Brasher. She is at the higher end of the rookie age group and someone whose shadows might be just as dark as Harry's.

Detectives Bosh and Edgar come across a few suspects right away. The murderer might have been a pedophile who lives in the neighborhood near where the bones were found. Or the detectives feel itıs very possible that the childıs father killed him. After all, someone had been beating the child over his whole life.

Whoever the murderer is, one thing is clear, the investigation will be painful for not only the detectives and the childıs remaining family but to the city of Los Angeles itself. An abuse case that leads to a twelve-year-oldıs murder is heartbreaking.

Thereıs a reason why Michael Connelly is considered such an accomplished writer. He gives great attention to everyday police details; the way a knock on a door can sound like authority, the relationship between cop partners, and how departmental politics can sometimes get in the way of the truth. All of this is important to this dark and very down to earth detective story.

CITY OF BONES is my first Bosch book, and although I had heard of the character I didn't know much about the series. I was a little afraid that by joining the series in the eighth book, I might feel a bit confused by the traditions and relationships that the writer and the character's fans might have already taken for granted. I couldn't have been more wrong. I dropped into the time and place of the story and felt a connection and an admiration for the characters right away. Nothing was bewildering to me; there were no inner jokes or references that confounded me. This book stands solidly on its own.

Detective Harry Bosch tells the readers the story through a filter colored by his dark and many-layered personality. There were no outrageous maniacal over-the-top antagonists, just real people, slapped around by real life. The book has enough twists and turns and back peddling of the case to keep the mystery reader thinking, and there is a solid true-to-life climax when the truth is discovered.

CITY OF BONES is an outstanding read. I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, May 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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