As a long time fan of Michael Connelly, I was very happy to read his latest Harry Bosch mystery, The Burning Room.
On the cusp of retirement, Bosch is LAPD Robbery and Homicide Division's most senior detective. He is matched with Lucia (Lucy) Soto; a young recently-promoted novice to the force, who has already established herself as a hero. Unfortunately, her youth and inexperience cause the resentment of some of their colleagues.
The Burning Room starts with the gruesome every day autopsy of paraplegic Orlando Merced; a man who has succumbed to declining health due to blood poisoning caused by a bullet that lodged near his spine ten years earlier. His death is ruled as a homicide.
Assigned to the case, Bosch and Soto must learn to trust each other and forge an effective working relationship. Things are strained, however, when Bosh discovers Soto undertaking a clandestine unauthorized investigation into a cold case she is personally connected to. Here the plot twists, and The Burning Room begins.
While the trajectory of the Merced bullet is being traced, an intertwined plot emerges: a 1993 unsolved arson in an unlicensed daycare that led to the death of several innocent children. Was it gang or drug related? Accidental? Were there connections to the Merced shooting?
Add financial gain, dirty politics, infidelity, switched allegiances and robbery, and there is always much more to the story than ever meets the eye.
Fan favourite Harry Bosch is a great character with an interesting, fallible personality. The Burning Room further tracks Bosch the man, and Harry Bosch the homicide detective. It fills in more information about his early history, his problems, his personal life, as well as his relationship with his daughter.
An expert at story development, Connelly ties everything seamlessly together. He has an excellent way of forming cases, with steps and missteps, complications and frustrations. It is a real process.
What begins as a slow burn develops into an inferno. It starts a bit low key, but with many shocks and surprises as the plot moves along, The Burning Room soon becomes a complex, riveting novel that goes deeper down the rabbit hole with every chapter. Until the exciting and explosive ending, you simply can't put it down.
You decide whether justice is served.
The final pages are a bit too Hollywood for this reader's taste, but The Burning Room still leaves room for a tease, and speculation.
That being said, another very good Michael Connelly novel is on the shelves.
Other Michael Connelly Reviews
Crime Beat: An interesting read for true crime fans.
The Lincoln Lawyer Audio Book Version: An excellent departure for mystery writer Michael Connelly
Echo Park: The best Michael Connelly mystery to date and that is saying a lot.
The Concrete Blonde: This third Harry Bosch mystery is solid.
The Overlook: Yet another great Harry Bosch mystery
The Overlook - Another Review: The usual solid and captivating mystery by a master.
The Brass Verdict - October 2008: A lawyer s murder brings Harry Bosch and Lincoln lawyer Mickey Haller together.
The Brass Verdict - A Mickey Haller / Harry Bosch Mystery: 20th Connelly mystery brings Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch together with a bang (from a revolver)
The Black Ice - A Harry Bosch Mystery: Second in the series. Brilliant, of course.
The Scarecrow: Jack McEvoy of The Poet is back in yet another excellent Connelly mystery.
Nine Dragons - A Harry Bosch Mystery: The lesser Harry Bosch mystery.
The Reversal - October 2010: Detective Harry Bosh, Mickey Haller, and their exes on the same case.
The Fifth Witness - April 2011: A solid (of course) Mickey Haller mystery
The Fifth Witness - J. Curran Review - April 2011: Third Mickey Haller mystery. This reviewer was not as impressed as the other one was.
The Drop - J. Curran review: Although not one of Connelly’s mind blowers from start to finish, The Drop is definitely a good solid read.
The Drop - A Harry Bosch Mystery: Decent enough Connelly but not up to usual standards
Blood Work Blu-ray: Excellent movie adaptation of Connelly novel
The Black Box - A Harry Bosch mystery: This time Bosch investigates a case dating back to the L.A. riots. Good but not great.
The Gods of Guilt - Mickey Haller Novel: The Lincoln Lawyer takes a case that propels him along a journey to face the demons of his past and present.
The Crossing - A Harry Bosch Novel: The Crossing, the twenty-second Harry Bosch, represents a major change in the life of Connelly s foremost character.
The Wrong Side of Goodbye - A Harry Bosch Novel: Harry Bosch is hired by a billionaire to find out if he has an heir and also works for the San Fernandino PD and discovers there is a serial rapist on the loose. This being a Michael Connelly mystery it is of course excellent.
The Late Show - A Renee Ballard Mystery: There is a new kid in town. Dog lover, and surfer by day, Detective Renee Ballard is a tough, tenacious, no-nonsense loner who works the late shift in Hollywood. Due to unsubstantiated accusations thrown at a superior officer, she is not exactly on the warm and fuzzy list of her fellow officers. With limited trust running both ways, her investigations are often solo.