The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly
Okay, I’m hooked. Connelly is great at the noir cop novel and this Harry Bosch series keeps me entertained on the long runs. From the opening line: The house in Silverlake was dark, its windows as empty as a dead man’s eyes. to the end I was entertained.
In this continuation (although all the novels can stand alone) of the Harry Bosch saga, Harry is in civil court, accused in the wrongful death of Norman Church the “Dollmaker.” Harry shot and killed Church when he reached for what Harry thought was a weapon – it turned out to be his toupee. Church’s apartment where he was killed is found to contain several pieces of women’s make-up that he used to ‘paint’ his victims after they were dead – thus his nickname.
Church had a thing for prostitutes and poetry. He sent poems to the police and the papers giving clues as to where his victims might be found. Harry’s actions, though noble, force the LAPD to demote him to Hollywood Homicide for the incident. He is then further humiliated when the prosecuting attorney in the civil case reveals that his mother, a hooker, was murdered when he was 12. Telling the jury that Bosch’s actions were a revenge killing.
Re-living his mother’s death, the aftermath and questioning himself for the events in Church’s apartment send Harry on a self inflicted retrospect of his life. Then, as if on cue, another poem arrives from the Dollmaker! It can’t have come from Church because he’s been dead for 4 years. The poem leads the LAPD to a storage locker where they find a bleach blonde street walker encased in cement. Forensics determines she’s been there for two years – again, it can’t be Church. This of course forces Harry to re-look at the case. Did he pop the wrong guy? As he continues to attend the civil case by day, at night he hunts for what ultimately is a copy-cat killer. It’s a great read (listen) with a few big surprises.
Spooks the hell out of a runner on a lonely road in Iowa too…