It had been a long time since I last read a Michael Connelly book. No reason, really, other than it seemed that, every time I reached for one, I'd be intercepted by another book. THE CLOSERS was a great reunion for me. As it was for Detective Harry Bosch --- at least initially.
Bosch returns after a three-year attempt at retirement, during which time he developed a limp because he lacked the weight of the gun on one side. Back at LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division, because of some string-pulling by old partner Kizmin Rider, Harry joins the Open-Unsolved Unit, currently popular on television as "Cold Case." Despite some worries that he might be a little rusty, he is content almost at once. It is the place to be, for Harry.
"Without a doubt…this squad is the most noble place in the building. A city that forgets its murder victims is a city lost. This is where we don't forget…. We're the closers."
It's Bosch's first day back on the job, and he and Rider land a case from 1988 that looks like it will be a piece of cake. Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Verloren had been abducted while asleep one night, her body later found discarded in the hills behind her home. The crime scene showed a weak attempt at making the death appear to be a suicide. The loss of their only daughter virtually shattered the Verlorens' lives, leading the father to a broken life on the streets and the mother forever frozen in time.
Roland Mackey, a petty crimes guy whose DNA gives him a relationship to the weapon at least, looks good for it: Right age, proximity, shaky alibi, and something of a white supremacist. The victim, the product of a mixed-race marriage, could have caught the attention of a young Nazi group back then. The times were volatile and the color of the girl's skin might have incensed skinhead types prowling the area. The hate crime angle fits in nicely.
But it doesn't take long before Bosch and Rider start having doubts about the direction their investigation is taking. When they lose their prime suspect while tailing him, the team has to scramble to regain their bearings and find their killer. The deeper they dig, the more they unearth --- and the more dangerous it becomes, both inside and outside the LAPD, for Harry has some old enemies in the department that make him want to watch his back doubly close. It's one heck of a welcome back.
Written with Michael Connelly's usual attention to detail, THE CLOSERS ranks right up there among his best novels.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on December 27, 2010