Angels Flight

Michael Connelly, Author Little, Brown and Company Inc $24.5 (393p) ISBN 978-0-316-15219-8
Hollywood homicide detective Hieronymous (Harry) Bosch (Trunk Music, 1996, etc.) is up to his very stiff neck in politics, police corruption and racial tension. The echo of the Rodney King case is almost deafening when Howard Elias, an African American lawyer famous for suing the LAPD for racially motivated brutality, is shot dead on the short train run up a steep hill in downtown L.A. known as Angels Flight. Bosch and his team--a black woman named Kizmin Rider and a black man named Jerry Edgar--are assigned the highly sensitive case. Although Bosch sniffs racial and departmental political hokum among the brass, he doggedly focuses on finding the killer, knowing that cops will be among the suspects. It all smells even worse when Bosch discovers signs of evidence tampering by the first cops on the crime scene and learns that the civilian attorney assigned to oversee the investigation had personal ties to Elias. A bit of a cowboy anyway, Bosch is even more ornery than usual, since his wife has gone AWOL and returned to gambling. Further hampered by a secretive and even obstructive departmental leadership and by his former partner's apparent links to the crime, Bosch moves well outside the rules to discover the ugly motivation for the killing. Connelly has all the hard-boiled procedural moves down and gives Bosch a reckless crusader's moral code. The finale, set against riots, delivers a brutal, anti-establishment sort of justice. This isn't Connelly's best; the plot is sufficiently ornate to diffuse tension, and Bosch seems to be evolving from the true character of early books into a sort of icon, a Dirty Harry for our times. Simultaneous Time Warner audio; author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1999
Release date: 01/01/1999
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