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Thread: The Closers by Michael Connelly

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    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    The Closers by Michael Connelly

    From http://www.michaelconnelly.com/Book_.../closers.html:

    After three years out of the LAPD, Harry Bosch returns, to find the department a different place from the one he left. A new Police Chief has been brought over from New York to give the place a thorough clean up from top to bottom. Working with his former partner, Kiz Rider, Harry is assigned to the department's Open-Unsolved Unit, working on the thousands of cold cases that haunt the LAPD's files. These detectives are the Closersóthey put a shovel in the dirt and turn over the past. By applying new techniques to old evidence they aim to unearth some hidden killers and bring them to justice, for "a city that forgets its murder victims is a city lost." Harry and Kiz are given a politically sensitive case when a DNA match connects a white supremacist to the 1988 murder of Rebecca Verloren, a sixteen-year-old girl. Becky was of mixed race, and the case appears to have a racial angle. This was LA before the riots and Rodney King; the city was a powder keg waiting for a match. The detectives who worked the case all those years ago seem to have done a decent job, but something doesn't fit. Meanwhile Harry's nemesis, Deputy Chief Irving, is watching him. In the new "clean" LAPD Irving has been sidelined to a meaningless job. Compelled by vengeance, he hopes that Harry will make a slip...
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

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    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    I finished The Closers over the weekend after a marathon reading session.

    I've seen it happen before, and I hope it's not happening to Connelly, but every prolific, popular author (I've read) eventually reaches a point with a recurring character where he or she seems to have nothing fresh, interesting or exciting to say.

    I hope this isn't it for Connelly, but I suspect it may be.

    The Closers was a fair-to-middling offering that offered no insights into Bosch, the protagonist, or one of Connelly's favorite themes--the capacity of human cruelty.

    Click to see Spoiler:
    Worse, Bosch's daughter makes no appearance, and aside from one or two cursory mentions (due to her conveniently being out of country with her mother), it's almost as if she doesn't exist. Since this was one of Connelly's most remarkable revelations about the Bosch character, this was disappointing, to say the least.


    Not a complete failure--no Connelly novel ever really is--but certainly not up to the level of his recent Bosch novels. 7/10
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

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    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review, phat! I'll make sure to read all Harry Bosch novels this summer (nothing like a good crime novel in the summer) so I should get to The Closers eventually. I loved reading up on the entire Scarpetta series years ago, so this should be fun.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

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    FORT Fogey Leftcoaster's Avatar
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    I generally wait for novels like this to fall into my hands rather than seeking them out, so I may well have missed a story or two in this series.

    It doesn't seem like its been all that long since I read what must have been the first Bosch novel after his departure from LAPD. I immediately didn't like the new character development (prior to reading the book) that he'd left the department, and now I have that same less than happy feeling seeing that he's returned. No pleasing me, I suppose.

    There is a line in phat's initial quote that smells like trouble to me for some reason: "By applying new techniques to old evidence they aim to unearth some hidden killers and bring them to justice, for "a city that forgets its murder victims is a city lost."

    Long in the tooth Detectives such as Bosch shouldn't be in need of new fangled techniques, not if they are properly motivated (and ably written). I'm wishy washily hopping aboard the attitude express because of one sentence, but if The Closers is anything comparable to the novel I was sure that I'd hate where Bosch went private, I'll end up enjoying it.

    Until I run across the first unqualified Connelly stinker, I'll consider Connelly going through the motions as probably constituting better entertainment than the overall majority in his genre.

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    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leftcoaster
    I generally wait for novels like this to fall into my hands rather than seeking them out, so I may well have missed a story or two in this series.
    Unfortunately, LC, the Connelly Bosch series is one of those best read from Book 1 to the current.

    It doesn't seem like its been all that long since I read what must have been the first Bosch novel after his departure from LAPD. I immediately didn't like the new character development (prior to reading the book) that he'd left the department, and now I have that same less than happy feeling seeing that he's returned. No pleasing me, I suppose.
    Around that time, if memory serves, Connelly wrote two in the first-person, from Bosch's point of view. I didn't like the character development, but I applauded Connelly's attempt at trying something new.

    (Unfortunately, Connelly's compulsion to try something new is a sign--to me, anyway--that he was growing bored.)

    I thought Bosch's departure from the LAPD was a natural route for the character; however, I didn't know where Bosch would go after that, since the LAPD seems to comprise his entire life, the very reason for his existence.

    There is a line in phat's initial quote that smells like trouble to me for some reason: "By applying new techniques to old evidence they aim to unearth some hidden killers and bring them to justice, for "a city that forgets its murder victims is a city lost."

    Long in the tooth Detectives such as Bosch shouldn't be in need of new fangled techniques, not if they are properly motivated (and ably written). I'm wishy washily hopping aboard the attitude express because of one sentence, but if The Closers is anything comparable to the novel I was sure that I'd hate where Bosch went private, I'll end up enjoying it.
    I tend to latch on to details like that, too, LC.

    (By the way, "new techniques" is DNA profiling, and Bosch is still a klutz with any technology newer than a word processor, so all is not lost.)

    What bothered me was the sentence "a city that forgets its murder victims is a city lost."

    Characters in Bosch novels tend to talk like this, which leads me to wonder whether homicide detectives genuinely speak like this in real life.

    Maybe it's because I don't have an occupation anything having to do with the police, but it rings artificially to me. Just my $.02.

    Until I run across the first unqualified Connelly stinker, I'll consider Connelly going through the motions as probably constituting better entertainment than the overall majority in his genre.
    Right. I'll take an average offering from a good prolific writer over a good offering from a bad writer any day. (If that makes any sense whatsoever.)
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  6. #6
    FORT Fogey Leftcoaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    Unfortunately, LC, the Connelly Bosch series is one of those best read from Book 1 to the current.

    I agree, phat. I've read all the earlier ones (back when), its the later ones that I may have overlooked. Generally I avoid picking up later books in a series like this with a storyline or character that build upon previous novels, but never say never, I do pick up something midstream from time to time and then face the delight of another fistful of novels I'm sure I'll enjoy. I still haven't read some of the more prolific older crime and mystery novelists, mainly because I didn't like what I saw initially. But there'll come a day when I'm stuck somewhere reading a Cherrios box and I'll pick up a book and enjoy it and then be faced with a couple of dozen new old novels to read. If it hadn't been for the movie The Bourne Conspiracy I still would likely be shunning Robert Ludlum.

    Around that time, if memory serves, Connelly wrote two in the first-person, from Bosch's point of view. I didn't like the character development, but I applauded Connelly's attempt at trying something new.

    (Unfortunately, Connelly's compulsion to try something new is a sign--to me, anyway--that he was growing bored.)

    I thought Bosch's departure from the LAPD was a natural route for the character; however, I didn't know where Bosch would go after that, since the LAPD seems to comprise his entire life, the very reason for his existence.

    I don't mind temporary departures from the norm like the first person offerings you mention, but once the formats been established I generally prefer a novelist sticks with it. At least with these sort of novels. I just want to be taken for a ride even though the genre has gotten more complex over the years.

    One thing I don't recall Connelly doing which so many others have is attempting to knock away the internal webs by having the character take a road trip. I suppose the book where Bosch has left the department qualifies but having him leave the LAPD to do so was overkill in my opinion. Unlike you, I never thought of Bosch moving on permanently, though I expected Irving to manage to sideline him temporarily. He is what he is, a homicide detective for LA; even doing the same thing somewhere else would diminish him.


    (By the way, "new techniques" is DNA profiling, and Bosch is still a klutz with any technology newer than a word processor, so all is not lost.)

    In other words, same old Bosch. Unlike the 'do it all' docs on the tv series House, most people don't branch out too far with technology. Bosch and Rider will have a new buddy like NCIS's Abby, but it would be a tremendous waste of resources and skills to have them take an active role in DNA profiling. They just need a nudge in the right direction, then their well honed instincts will take over.

    What bothered me was the sentence "a city that forgets its murder victims is a city lost."

    Characters in Bosch novels tend to talk like this, which leads me to wonder whether homicide detectives genuinely speak like this in real life.

    Maybe it's because I don't have an occupation anything having to do with the police, but it rings artificially to me. Just my $.02.

    It sounded off to me as well. Your memory is better than mine, phat; I don't recall Bosch being inclined to utter things like that. The thing that bothered me about that line is the sheer numbers of homicide victims in LA. I expect detectives to think that was about the case they happen to be currently working on, along with a couple of cold cases that still wake them up from time to time, but there isn't any way to make a statement like that about all homicide victims (and believing it) without turning yourself into an ineffectual whack job.

    Right. I'll take an average offering from a good prolific writer over a good offering from a bad writer any day. (If that makes any sense whatsoever.)
    That makes perfect sense to me
    Last edited by Leftcoaster; 06-08-2005 at 05:08 AM.

  7. #7
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    I do pick up something midstream from time to time and then face the delight of another fistful of novels I'm sure I'll enjoy.
    I discovered Kellerman and Alex Delaware at the point of Devil's Waltz.

    there'll come a day when I'm stuck somewhere reading a Cherrios box and I'll pick up a book and enjoy it and then be faced with a couple of dozen new old novels to read.
    That's how I know when I need something new to read: when I'm reading the back of a box of cereal at breakfast or anything I can get my hands on over dinner in a restaurant.

    If it hadn't been for the movie The Bourne Conspiracy I still would likely be shunning Robert Ludlum.
    Great films. Still not a convert to Ludlum, though.

    I don't mind temporary departures from the norm like the first person offerings you mention, but once the formats been established I generally prefer a novelist sticks with it. At least with these sort of novels. I just want to be taken for a ride even though the genre has gotten more complex over the years.
    I know what you mean. I've compared longstanding series (like Grafton's alphabet murders, Kellerman's Delaware, Sandford's "...Prey", et.al.) to "meatloaf"--they're comfortable.

    One thing I don't recall Connelly doing which so many others have is attempting to knock away the internal webs by having the character take a road trip. I suppose the book where Bosch has left the department qualifies but having him leave the LAPD to do so was overkill in my opinion.
    So, so true about the road trips.

    Actually, during the last three or four books, I expected Bosch to move permanently to Las Vegas. Never happened.

    He is what he is, a homicide detective for LA; even doing the same thing somewhere else would diminish him.
    "Amen" to that.

    It sounded off to me as well. Your memory is better than mine, phat; I don't recall Bosch being inclined to utter things like that.
    Actually, Bosch often says crazy stuff like "I'm a speaker for the dead," etc.

    ...but there isn't any way to make a statement like that about all homicide victims (and believing it) without turning yourself into an ineffectual whack job.
    Just at "whack job."
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  8. #8
    FORT Fogey Leftcoaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat32;1422040;
    Unfortunately, LC, the Connelly Bosch series is one of those best read from Book 1 to the current.
    I've seen that truth validated in the book I'm currently reading, The Narrows.

    The Closers still hasn't fallen into my hands, or if it has its buried in the stacks of books always trying to lure me closer to have a shot at burying me. I take it that The Closers is the Bosch book which follows the one I'm with now based on him being back with the department.

    Back to you're quoted remark, I wasn't aware of (or perhaps just forgot) the connection until this book between the Bosch series and others like Blood Work and The Poet.

    I'm fairly certain I haven't read The Poet though I've purchased several copies. It not involving Bosch slipped it significantly far down on my priority list. Now I'm seeing and appreciating the linear connectivity with those tales and the ones relating to Bosch.

    Strange seeing real life movie Blood Work involving Bosch's one time partner Terry McCaleb incorporated into the story. Effectively done though. I can imagine having crossed paths with Bosch easier now if we see the same flicks.

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