Some random book thoughts for June 2013

This post will be a little different from the previous ones because I’m going to start with the book I’m currently on, The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly, instead of what I’ve been reading this past month. The reason is that not only is The Lincoln Lawyer the part that ends of the story, it’s also the beginning of the story. To get to that beginning, we need to step back a few years.

I’m not a very patient person, and there is very little I hate more than waiting for an appointment. I figure if I’m supposed to be there at a given time, the person I’m scheduled to see should also be ready then. Now obviously at places like doctor’s offices that’s not realistic, so every single time I’m heading to a doctor’s office I bring a book. After going to the same primary care physician for 15+ years I know how long my wait will generally be, so passing the time reading a book was time I considered well spent despite the circumstances. I knew however long he would need with me he would take the time, so presuming that would be true of all his patients I know that longish waits were occasionally in the cards.

A few winters ago while taking a glance at what I was reading Dr. T, as he frequently would do, started talking about what books he had just finished and among the titles was The Lincoln Lawyer. He had read a couple of Connelly’s other books and liked them, but he thought that The Lincoln Lawyer was one of the better books he’d read recently and couldn’t recommend it enough. He even went as far as to write the title down on his prescription pad. Up to that he point he had never done that before, the ‘norm’ was he’d mention a book or two and the conversation would move along. But not only did he write it down he came back to the topic a couple of times during my office visit. I was pretty much convinced I should check it out.

Later that afternoon after surfing eBay for large book lots and not finding anything that interested me I searched for The Lincoln Lawyer. Not only did I find several copies up for auction I also saw an auction for 22 different Michael Connelly novels. A quick Wikipedia search showed it was the first 22 fiction books he wrote, and as it worked out to under $1.50 each counting shipping I bought the lot. A few days later the books showed up, but as I didn’t have room on my shelf for that many titles I left them in the box to get to at a later date.

Where they promptly got covered by lots of other boxes and books, and were soon forgotten.

Flash forward to October when my wife and I moved into our new home, and the box ends up on top of a pile of other boxes as we move stuff from one house to another. Now with the extra space I got from moving they easily fit on my new shelves. A couple of times after I almost grabbed Connelly’s first book The Black Echo off the shelf, but something else would catch my eye and I’d be off to something else. That’s the peril of having so many choices, sometimes good stuff sits on my shelf for a long time before I get to it.

In late April I got word that Dr. T had passed suddenly after suffering a massive heart attack while gardening one Sunday evening. Along with reading, working in his yard/garden was one of the long list of other things Dr. T loved to do. I was shocked. He was such a good guy who should have had lots of great years still ahead of him. In an oddity I was supposed to have seen him just the next week where I was going to mention that at some point I was going to actually get around to reading The Lincoln Lawyer.

After a few days I figured now was a good time. So on May 5th I grabbed The Black Echo and started my run though Connelly’s books, figuring it would take me all summer (and then some) to get through them all. Amazingly I have gotten through the first fifteen novels Connelly wrote in a month and am now just starting The Lincoln Lawyer. There’s no way I could have ever expected to have that work out in time for a new blog post. So despite the already longish post there’s 15 books to talk about.

The first four books, The Black Echo, The Black Ice, The Concrete Blonde, and The Last Coyote are all novels centered around Connelly’s primary character, LAPD homicide detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch. They’re all pretty straight forward detective novels. There’s nothing really new to the genre in any of these books, but Connelly does a pretty good job in each novel while keeping enough strings going in each book so that some minor ones continue on in the next book.

I did have some issues with The Concrete Blonde, which along with a murder case also has in its main story line a civil trial against Bosch concerning events that are brought up as back story in the first two novels. It was pretty obvious to me that Connelly didn’t consult with any lawyers about some of the plot points because what the plaintiff’s attorney was trying to do would not have been allowed, nor would she be able to bring up many of the things she did in the novel. It only detracts from the novel a little, and like most of the Connelly books I rated it four stars on Goodreads.

I read Trunk Music and The Poet backwards from the order that they were released, but because Trunk Music is a Bosch novel and The Poet is a stand alone novel it didn’t matter. Trunk Music, along with Angels Flight, and the continuation of the Bosch story line that again don’t bring anything new to the mystery genre but were still very good reads.

The Poet is an interesting book about a serial killer, only no one realizes there’s a serial killer in action until a newspaper reporter uncovers him while searching for information about his own dead brother. Blood Work is a mostly stand along novel, although many of the characters from the novel appear in future books. What’s funny about the book is I was about half way done before I realized I had seen the movie, which starred Clint Eastwood.

The next up for Connelly was Void Moon, a novel that’s centered on the “bad guy” (who is not really bad, nor a guy). After I first read the book I didn’t like it very much as I had lots of questions about why (and how) some of the things that happened could have happened. I originally rated the book low, but after a day or so I kind of worked out what the gist was and I rerated the book. It’s still worth reading, but it’s my least favorite of his books so far. A Darkness More Than Night has much of the same cast as Blood Work, only this time Bosch is added to the mix. The ending is a little predictable but it’s still a very good book. City of Bones is just a straight forward detective novel, but I still don’t understand the motives of Bosch’s love interest in the book. What she did makes no sense to me.

Chasing the Dime is another stand alone book, only this one really stands alone as up to The Lincoln Lawyer not a single character from Chasing the Dime has appeared in another Connelly book. To me this one was the strongest of the stand alones so far, but unless Connelly invents a reason for any of those characters to show up in a Bosch story I think we may have seen the last of them for now.

The last three I’ve finished, Lost Light, The Narrows, and The Closers are more of the same for Bosch, although in the first two he’s quit the LAPD and gone off investigating some cold cases on his own. In The Closers he returns to the LAPD to join the “Open-Unsolved” division, and what kind of investigator would he be if he didn’t start right out by solving a cold case? Which brings us right back to The Lincoln Lawyer.

I did make a couple Barnes & Nobel runs last month and grabbed a few new books, but because there’s a good story to tell about my second visit you’ll all have to wait for a few days for a ‘special” second book post this month.

Until then…

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