Reichen-Bosch Falls

The last seat on the plane. 23F. A crue seat.

Maybe Michael Connelly has reached the point in his mystery book career at which he yearns to emulate his Vocational Ancestor, Arthur Conan Doyle who, sick of his money-making hero, Sherlock Holmes, opted to get rid of him altogether by dumping him (along with that Napoleon of Crime, Professor Moriarty) into the Reichenbach Falls.

Not that Connelly’s paycheck, Harry Bosch, sleeps the Big Sleep in this newest of the Bosch adventures, Nine Dragons. Or maybe he does. I’ll never know.

The first half of the book provided very effective distraction from the claustrophobic seating on my flight the other day from LA to NYC, and for that I am so very very grateful. It’s straight-up police procedural as age-defying Harry and his LAPD chums piece together itsy-bitsy clues (a glimpse of tattoo on a forearm in a security film; a bottle of booze NOT taken) to figure out what no-goodnik shot the kindly old Chinese liquor store owner. Good Bosch, good reading, a welcome diversion that kept me from going berserk in my tiny, last row window seat — crazy like the sailor in the submarine movie who snaps and tries to open the hatch while 500 feet under the surface. Nine Dragons helped me forget where I was. Thank you, Mr. Connelly.

But, O! That second half! Bosch, departing Los Angeles, the guided tour of which is at least half the reason to read Connelly, follows the trail to Hong Kong where, in defiance of Ronald Knox’s Fifth Commandment of Detective Fiction, he does battle with the Tongs of Hong Kong in the company of — get this — a faithful Chinese partner. O pity! Pity for Bosch, pity for Connelly, pity for myself and all other fans of the swell series — pity which barred further reading. I had enjoyed most of the other Bosch books too greatly to let this one besmirch their memory.

I left Nine Dragons, unfinished, lying on a desk in the Hotel Roger Williams on Madison Avenue and 31st Street, and — who knows — perhaps to this very day it lies there still.

Nine Dragons
by Michael Connelly
(Little Brown and Company, Hardcover, 384pp.)
Publication Date: October 13, 2009

Addendum: The two guys next to me in seats 23D and 23E fidgeted so much I had to kill them.

Two dead men on the airplane.

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