By Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch #9. Grade: B
Michael Connelly writes about crime fiction and detective mysteries and has innumerable fans across the globe, including Bill Clinton! The Lost Light takes that same theme and was slated as one of the Best Books of 2003 by the Los Angeles Times.
The Lost Light, simply put, is an example of a retired officer attempting to solve a case that got away. The case is one of those ones that hold an unexplainable special place in the officer’s heart. Harry Bosch, the retired officer in question here, has a similar one for the Angella Benton case. It might be due to weird manner of her death or the events linked with it that still raise questions in Bosch’s mind or it might simply be how Angella Benton’s body was found. It was as if she was praying because her hands stretched upwards as she lay dead on the floor. It had haunted Bosch for years. An unsolved case of a two million dollar robbery from a movie set added to the mystery of her death. As Bosch attempts to solve the case he finds out that there are people, powerful ones at that, who do not want him poking his nose in the case.
The protagonist retired from his LAPD job because he was sick of the hypocrisy he found there. However, retirement for him is not a relaxed laid back life as he still craves action and his devotion to justice leads him to take up the case of Angella, a case that law has failed to solve. It is interesting to see his journey and the complications he faces and narrated in first person, the book gives an insight into how cases are solved and how intricate details lead become major factors that determine success. It also sheds light on the personal elements that motivate the officer. What was earlier a job for him becomes a more important quest for finding his own motivations. He believes it is not only his duty but that deliver justice to the dead, who no longer have a voice, is what Bosch must do. The mission then acquires a whole new meaning.
“There is no end of things in the heart. Somebody once told me that. She said it came from a poem she believed in. She understood it to mean that if you took something to heart, really brought it inside those red velvet folds, then it would always be there for you. No matter what happened, it would be there waiting. She said this could mean a person, a place, a dream. A mission. Anything sacred. She told me that it is all connected in those secret folds. Always. It is all part of the same and will always be there, carrying the same beat as your heart. I am fifty-two years old and I believe it.”
When Bosch left his job, he took the file of the case with him. The murder of Angella, a film production assistant murdered four years earlier during $2 million robbery on a movie set, draws him to it. The department believed the robbery was used to finance a terrorist training camp post 9/11. Bosch cannot rest until he finds the killer and finds himself often in conflict with his own colleagues. When Bosch took up the case earlier, a tragedy hit the LAPD department and the case was almost forgotten after that. But Angella’s hands never let Bosch turn blind towards the case. It was as if she beckoned him to do her justice. This will not be easy as it turns out and Bosch realizes that he has a lot of obstacles to cross and people to deal with before he can even think of solving it. The difficulty of the task makes it even more inviting.
The Lost Light is the ninth book in the Harry Bosch series with an intriguing story that has all the classic elements expected in a Los Angeles mystery. It has movies, power, and money. It also has other great modern elements rivalries amongst agencies and the fight against terrorism. This is an engaging and entertaining at the same time. There are many things that Bosch tackles along the way. His former wife, a paraplegic ex-cop, Hollywood power shots to name a few and Bosch even gets involved with the FBI and as the protagonist gets caught up himself in a mesh of problems, the book begins to get more and more interesting. It is here that Connelly’s expertise in the genre becomes evident.
The novel really begins to move along once Connelly gets past writing about Bosch’s mission. Bosch is most interesting when he’s dealing with others. Particularly enjoyable are those scenes when we follow Bosch as he tries to interview suspects and find clues, and it is interesting to see Bosch’s journey from being an outsider to an insider. The interactions with characters are very dark and moody and add to the elements of the book.
The ending of the novel is a surprise, but works with Connelly trying to balance the light and the dark as the theme of the book and the last part of the book is absolutely great. The most interesting personal turn comes at the end when Bosch discovers that he has a four year old daughter which his ex-wife never told him about. Read the book if you want to know what happened with the case. It’s worth a read!