Tuesday, May 9, 2017


SUICIDE RUN by Michael Connelly (Orion, 2011)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

LAPD Detective Harry Bosch as we've never seen him before, in an exclusive eBook containing three compelling short stories. In SUICIDE RUN, the apparent suicide of a beautiful young starlet turns out to be much more sinister than it seems. In CIELO AZUL, Bosch is haunted by a long- ago closed case - the murder of a teenage girl who was never identified. As her killer sits on death row, Bosch tries one last time to get the answers he has sought for years. In ONE DOLLAR JACKPOT, Bosch works the murder of a professional poker player whose skills have made her more than one enemy. Whether investigating a cold case or fresh blood, Bosch relentlessly pursues his quarry, always on the lookout for the "tell".

If you're eagerly awaiting Michael Connelly's next Harry Bosch novel (TWO KINDS OF TRUTH, out in October) but are getting impatient, this excellent novella-length collection of three Harry Bosch short stories might provide some brief relief.

Released as a three-story ebook collection prior to the publication of THE DROP in 2011, this ebook brings together three very good Harry Bosch short stories that had previously been published in different crime anthologies. The stories are clearly from different times in Bosch's career, when he's working with different partners (eg Jerry Edgar appears in "Suicide Run", but not the other two).

Individually and collectively these three short stories are all very good, offering fans further insight into Bosch's method and approach to solving crimes. Of course, being short stories, the tales don't have as many layers or complex plotlines as some of Connelly's full length novels, but I think he does a fantastic job - as usual - with 'telling details' and his great eye for character. The result is that while stories are quick reads you easily devour, they're not breezy, 'thin', or lacking in substance.

Think a tasty h'orderves or palate-cleansing amuse bouche delivered between full courses.

I think all three tales are strong, and I'm not entirely sure which is my favorite. Each reader will likely have theirs, but hopefully like me you won't think there's a weak one among the trio. Each shows a different aspect of Bosch's relentlessness, from questioning an apparent suicide, to following up with a death row inmate on a long-solved case, to peeling back the layers on the death of a pro poker player. Collectively we get to see Bosch use his skills working a crime scene, working a suspect in 'the box', and navigating relationships with his fellow investigators. If you haven't read any of Michael Connelly's excellent books before, this probably wouldn't be a bad place to start, in terms of getting a bit of a taste for what makes Harry Bosch special, but regular readers will likely get even more from this collection, adding to our understanding and enjoyment of the relentless detective.

Everybody counts, or nobody counts.

Craig Sisterson is a lapsed lawyer who writes features for leading magazines and newspapers in several countries. He has interviewed more than 180 crime writers, discussed crime writing onstage at festivals in Europe and Australasia, on national radio, is a judge of the McIlvanney Prize, and is the Judging Convenor of the Ngaio Marsh Awards. You can follow him on Twitter: @craigsisterson

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