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The Closers    by Michael Connelly order for
by Michael Connelly
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Is Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch beginning to mellow? After operating as a PI in Lost Light (in which our hero also discovered the existence of a precious daughter) and The Narrows, he's re-joined the LAPD at the urging of Kizmin (Kiz) Rider, who now partners him once again, in a unit responsible for 'Open Unsolved' (cold) cases. The officer in charge calls his team 'closers'. But the LAPD is not what it used to be; it seems to be mellowing too. On his first day on the job, Harry's called in to the office of the Chief of Police, 'Mr. Clean', who calls Open Unsolved cases a 'chorus of forgotten voices', each a stone 'whose ripples move out through time and people.' Can Harry actually respect his ultimate boss? Unfortunately, his shark-like old nemesis, Deputy Chief Irving, still lingers in the department. Irving calls Harry a 'retread' and predicts his failure.

Harry and Kiz take on their first case, that of young Becky Verloren who was attacked with a stun gun, taken from her bedroom, and murdered on a hillside behind her home seventeen years before. Becky's devastated parents went their separate ways - her white mother Muriel lives on in the same house, where she's made a shrine of her daughter's bedroom, and her black father Robert, once a successful chef and restaurant owner, nosedived into alcoholism and a life on the streets. Robert confides to Harry how it feels to lose a child - 'You are like an empty bottle tossed out the window. The car keeps going but you are on the side of the road, broken.' DNA tests of blood on the gun link it to white supremacist Roland Mackey, to a series of hate crimes committed by the Chatsworth Eights in the 1980s, and to departmental 'high jingo' (corruption and cover-ups) with links to Irving. Harry suspects a racial motivation for the killing, one suppressed by the department to avoid an eruption of violence in the city.

Harry Bosch is still as headstrong, as stubborn, and as much of a loner as ever, annoying both partner and peers, but he's also still exceptionally good at his job. What fans have always loved most about Harry is his single-minded advocacy for the victims of crime, and that passion shines through the pages of The Closers, another absorbing (and surprising) police procedural from a master.

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