Monday, December 8, 2014

Review: The Burning Room

Summary: In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet ten years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but any other clues are virtually nonexistent. Even a veteran cop would find this one tough going, but Bosch's new partner, Detective Lucia Soto, has no homicide experience. A young star in the department, Soto has been assigned to Bosch so that he can pass on to her his hard-won expertise.

Now Bosch and Soto are tasked with solving a murder that turns out to be highly charged and politically sensitive. Beginning with the bullet that has been lodged for years in the victim's spine, they must pull new leads from years-old evidence, and these soon reveal that the shooting was anything but random.

As their investigation picks up speed, it leads to another unsolved case with even greater stakes: the deaths of several children in a fire that occurred twenty years ago. But when their work starts to threaten careers and lives, Bosch and Soto must decide whether it is worth risking everything to find the truth, or if it's safer to let some secrets stay buried.

In a swiftly-moving novel as relentless and compelling as its hero, Michael Connelly shows once again why Harry Bosch is "one of the most popular and enduring figures in American crime fiction" (Chicago Tribune). -- Little, Brown & Co.

One of my all time favorite authors is Michael Connelly. I pretty much love all of his novels, and there is definitely a soft spot in my heart for his Harry Bosch series. I started reading these books over twenty years ago -- that's just crazy -- and I still get excited every time a new book is released. Connelly's latest Harry Bosch novel is titled THE BURNING ROOM, and it doesn't disappoint!

In THE BURNING ROOM, Bosch is working in the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, basically cold cases. In an unusual case, a man dies from complications due to a stray bullet hitting him a decade earlier. The medical examiner is able to recover the bullet from his spinal cord, and Harry has himself some evidence. He truly doesn't have much to go on, but he and his brand-spanking new partner Lucia Soto are determined to get to the bottom of this crime.

In what was initially thought a gang-related shooting, Bosch and Soto begin to look at the case differently. They wonder if the bullet wasn't random at all. Rather, it was meant for one of the man's bandmates so they begin checking out potential leads from this angle. The discover that this crime has both political and monetary implications that threaten some powerful individuals.

In the meantime, Bosch and Soto are working another case that is personal for Soto. It's an even "colder" case -- over 20 years ago -- and involved a fire that killed adults and children working on a daycare center. What they begin to suspect is that this fire might be linked to another unsolved crime which has even bigger implications.

It won't come as any surprise to you that I loved THE BURNING ROOM. This book was really, really good; and it incorporated everything I've come to love from a Harry Bosch novel (or Michael Connelly book for that matter.) Bosch is one of my all-time favorite detectives, and that combined with Mr. Connelly's crazy-good writing skills, made THE BURNING ROOM an excellent read.

One thing that I loved about this book was the character of Harry Bosch. He is just an outstanding detective character. He's smart and bucks authority at every corner; and he's also just about as complex as a cop character can be. THE BURNING ROOM didn't focus so much on Harry's personal life, although there were some scenes with his daughter and even a "date" for Harry. The story instead had Harry doing what Harry does best -- solving crimes. In addition, I really liked how Harry was a responsible for training Soto. It was nice to see a softer side to Harry, and in this novel, he seemed to be a terrific mentor figure.

Of course, the mystery angle (or should I say angles) of the story were terrific. I loved that there were some twists and turns, but not too many; and I especially appreciated how complicated the cases were. I guess that's why they were still unsolved after 10 and 20 years! I adored seeing Harry dig into the cases, with some great help from Soto, and begin to figure out the complexities of both crimes.

Another fun thing about THE BURNING ROOM was the humor in the novel. Let me say that many of the Bosch stories are deep and dark and have virtually nothing funny in them. However, the book did have some comedic scenes. There was one scene (okay maybe a few scenes) where Harry shows his blatant disregard for author that cracked me up, and there was another scene where he encounters a witness that definitely had some humor woven into it.

Having said all of this, I did have one beef with the story... and that was the ending. There is nothing "wrong" with the ending except that it's not what I wanted or expected. It's difficult for me to write this without giving anything away, but suffice it to say, I sure hope the ending isn't what I think it is. I'm hoping that there is enough of an open-ended aspect to this book that I can interpret it how I want to!

Overall, THE BURNING ROOM was an excellent mystery, and I'm sure fans of the Connelly and Bosch won't want to miss it.

I received an electronic copy of this novel via Net Galley.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read. Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

This sounds like another winner from Connelly. You have me very curious about the ending.

Beth Hoffman said...

I'm in the mood for a good mystery. Thanks for the recommendation, Julie!

Beth F said...

You can't go wrong with a Connelly