March 31, 2011

The Overlook ***

*** The Overlook, Michael Connelly, 2007

I made the mistake of reading the next one before writing this review, and now I've forgotten I thought of this one. I do remember reading and enjoying this one the first time around and it was just as enjoyable the second.

I was surprised that Bosch was out of Open Unsolved and into a special homocide squad. No explanation given for that.

It is satisfying to see Bosch put the FBI agents in their place, but I would imagine Connelly is not a satisfying read for an FBI agent. Heh. He cuts them no slack whatsoever.

Bosch has a regular habit of sneaking files. So did McCaleb. I wonder how common that is, for cops and agents to make private (illegal) copies of case files for persuing a case they're not officially on. If your view of how driven detectives work was based on Bosch, you'd think it was the natural thing that done on a regular basis. But I would imagine it's extremely rare. But what do I know?

Coming up, Haller and Bosch duke it out. Woohoo!

March 24, 2011

Echo Park ***

*** Echo Park, Michael Connelly, 2006

Bosch is back. What's more, Connelly is back, so nobody is safe. You never know which of his characters might be taken down or busted. As usual, you get a lot of the scenery of LA. This time I actually pulled up some of the places on Google Maps to get a feeling of the layout of Echo Park and other locations in the book.

I read this one in three nights, over 100 pages a night, which made for some groggy mornings. But it really does get like trying to stop eating a bag of potato chips.

Another serial killer and I'm wondering how many serial killer antongists Connelly has done. Seems disproportionally large. Hmm. As far as I can tell, that would be:

  1. The Concrete Blonde
  2. The Poet
  3. Blood Work
  4. A Darkness More Than Night
  5. The Narrows
  6. The Lincoln Lawyer
  7. Echo Park
  8. The Scarecrow (haven't read this one yet)

That's eight out of twenty two, or 36 percent. Which seems like a lot. Or not.

March 19, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer: The Movie ***

*** The Lincoln Lawyer: The Movie

Life intervened and I forgot all about this movie until the book review popped up on the blog and I saw that I said I was going to see the movie as soon as it came out. So I'm only a day late.

The screenplay for The Lincoln Lawyer was much better than the one for Blood Work. Muuuuch better. It followed the book almost exactly with very few changes and surprisingly left very little out.

The film had a very 1970s look to it, which I found interesting since it is obviously set in present day. It might cut through some of the earlier scenes a little fast, as there is a lot of story to get through. I had no trouble following it, but I had recently read the book. I don't know what it would be like for someone who didn't know the story. Let me know.

March 17, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer ***

*** The Lincoln Lawyer, Michael Connelly, 2005

The Lincoln Lawyer takes you on a great ride. I almost gave it 3.5 stars, but I felt like I was being disloyal to Bosch, so I left it at three. ;-) I remembered a lot about this going in and still loved every second of it. Haller is a protagonist every bit as engaging as Bosch, and maybe even more so, since he's not afflicted with Bosch's petulance, which he seems to be leaving behind, perhaps.

Ignoring Chasing the Dime, we have five protagonists from Connelly so far: Bosch, McEvoy, Walling, Caleb and Haller. Of those, I like Caleb the least. At this point Haller and Bosch are pretty much neck and neck at the top. That's good because I see Haller and Bosch appear together for three books in a row, The Brass Verdict, 9 Dragons and The Reversal. So I'm going to get to see my two favorites go head-to-head. It should be interesting. But first I have two more Bosch novels to get through.

This book is in first person, and now that Bosch has returned to the force, he's in third person. It will be interesting to see how Connelly handles it. With The Narrows, he did the Bosch POV scenes in first person and the Walling and Bachus scenes in third. I expect he'll do something similar, with Haller in first this time and Bosch in third, assuming Bosch is still on the force. I haven't read those books before, so who knows what's happened to him by then.

The movie based on this book starring Matt McConaughey comes out tomorrow. I'll be there. From the trailer it looks like they made a few changes.

March 12, 2011

The Gun Seller ****

**** The Gun Seller, Hugh Laurie, 1996

Stop the presses! Hold the phone! Buckle your garters!

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Connelly-fest to bring you news of a 15-year-old novel of import from Hugh Laurie. Yes, that Hugh Laurie. Dr. House, Bertie Wooster, Blackadder, etc.

What Kyril Bonfiglioli attempted with mixed results, Hugh Laurie accomplished. In spades. With knobs on. A riveting, fast-paced thriller in the style of that great master of steamy, incendiary spy stories, P. G. Wodehouse.

Yes, that Wodehouse. Jeeves, Woster, Mr. Mulliner, Psmith, Ukridge, Uncle Fred, the Drones Club, Blandings Castle.

This novel is a bit raw in spots, so if you're put off by strong language, give it a pass. But if you like clever repartee, light wordplay, an light witty voice, and lightining-paced intrigue, this is the book for you.

March 10, 2011

The Closers ***

*** The Closers, Michael Connelly, 2005

Bosch is back in the saddle, back in third person POV, and seems to actually be going beyond his self-limiting reactionary ways to a greater level of maturity. There's a shock early on as Connelly brings in a character from numerious previous books in an adversarial role that really gets things going. Nice payoff on that one at the end. There's high jingo on this one, and you know what that means.

This makes number 14 in the list of Connelly novels so far. You may have noticed I skipped over Chasing the Dime, which I read several years ago. It's a one-off story that doesn't involve law enforcement and has no characters that overlap with the rest of the books. I didn't much care for it. YMMV. The Number One Son liked it.

I've got 6 more to go that are in print, and a new one comes out in April. Then it'll be back to my normal program of reading weird stuff. One takeaway for me in doing this Connelly marathon is that it has helped with with the voice of the Muffin Man story, which is rocking along in first draft. About 25% done so far.

March 3, 2011

The Narrows ***

*** The Narrows, Michael Connelly, 2004

I think this is the first Bosch novel in multiple POVs. Well, The Poet had occasional switches to the antagonist's POV, as this one does, but not having half the novel in a different POV.

In The Narrows, Bosch is still in first person and we also get third-person POV scenes from Rachel Walling, sometimes switching back and forth quickly between the two in high action segments. There's also a cameo appearance from Cassie Black. I like the way Connelly cross pollenates characters from other novels. Terry McCaleb, his family and Buddy Lockridge play a big part in the plot.

I'm learning that I enjoy the novels a lot more when I read them in order. In the past, I just read them whenever I picked one up I hadn't seen, but not particularly in order. And several years might pass between books. That makes it tough to remember what's what and who's who.

This one was a good one. High energy.