MICHAEL CONNELLY – Trunk Music. Harry Bosch #5, Little Brown, hardcover, 1996. St. Martin’s, paperback, 1998

   Connelly is to me one of the strongest authors to emerge in this decade, and I am a bit surpassed that he hasn’t been nominated for more awards. The Black Echo did win a Best First Edgar, but what I thought was his best, The Concrete Blonde, went almost unnoticed.

   Harry Bosch is back in homicide, after a disciplinary assignment away from trouble and the limelight His first case after he returns is a sleazy filmmaker’ s body in a trunk, one that has all the earmarks of a Mafia hit. The LA Organized Crime boys want no part of it, though, and this makes Harry a little suspicious. He gets even more so when the trail leads to Las Vegas and some mob figures. He follows it there, and finds a troublesome lady from his past, and more suspicions, and a lot more problems than he wanted, needed, or could comfortably deal with-but that’s par for Harry.

   [A line I spotted:] “He smiled glibly.” I’ve always wanted to do that, but never knew how.

   I think this is the first time I’ve given a Connelly book less than a [double star rating], but this was a very ordinary book for Connelly — which means it was above average, and better than most [authors] can  write.  One of the plot elements — his Achilles heel from the first book — wasn’t believable to me, and there wasn’t anything really exceptional about any part of the story.

   It was nevertheless a good book, because Connelly is good enough to be readable even at half speed,  On the whole, though, it was a little disappointing, if only because of the high standard he’s set.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #26, July 1996.