Tag Archives: Harry Bosch

Amazon Prime Review: ‘Bosch,’ Season 6

Barrel, Bosch, & Crate, photo credit: Lacey Terrell, IMDb

Has it actually been six years we’ve been enjoying Amazon Prime’s outstanding Bosch series? This isn’t exactly the world, or the characters, you’ll find in Michael Connelly’s bestselling crime novels, but it’s true to the spirit of the exercise. And Titus Welliver, as I’ve often said, has the character of Harry Bosch nailed.

This season, like the previous ones, is based on more than one book. So you’ll need to pay attention to keep the multiple story lines straight. Plot lines include the murder of a scientist near the famous Hollywood sign, which at first looks like part of a terrorist act by right-wing extremists. But it’s a lot more complicated than that, and police mistakes lead to serious blowback. There’s also a cold case, one of Harry’s “everybody matters” crusades, in which he tries to find the murderer of a teenaged street prostitute, attempting to give her mother some closure. And Harry’s partner Jerry Edgar is deep in an investigation of Haitian street gangs, which brings up bad memories of his own childhood in Haiti and leads him to contemplate crossing some lines.

It’s all intense, and fascinating, and compelling. A couple of points linger with me. I appreciated the expanded role for the Mutt ‘n Jeff detective team known as “Crate and Barrel,” older guys who started out pretty much as comic relief, but are now being permitted to demonstrate the qualities that earned them their gold shields in the first place.

Also the series took an interesting approach to its Alt-Right extremists. Although they’re clearly in the wrong, they’re given a chance to make their case, and they’re not entirely unsympathetic. Also – very oddly – they’re depicted as a multiracial group. I appreciate that touch, though I don’t find it very plausible (could be wrong).

Anyway, I consider Bosch one of the best series on any entertainment delivery system at the present time. Extreme cautions for language and mature themes.

‘The Night Fire,’ by Michael Connelly

I’ve cut out buying the pricey books for the time being. But it turns out I’d pre-ordered Michael Connelly’s new Harry Bosch/Renee Ballard book, The Night Fire. So I read it, and now I’ll review it.

As you may recall if you’re following the books (not the Amazon Plus TV show), Harry Bosch is pretty old now (about my age), and is retired as an LAPD detective. But his old motto, “Everybody matters or nobody matters,” still drives him, so he finds ways to keep involved. Mostly by providing help (off the books) to the young detective Renee Ballard. Renee works the night shift, which she likes, because it allows her to work alone. (She can generally call on Harry if she needs backup.)

One night Renee gets called to a scene of death by fire. A homeless man has burned to death in his tent. It looks like an accident, but investigators say no. However, the case is assigned to Robbery-Homicide, and Renee gets shut out. But she doesn’t forget about it.

Then Harry Bosch receives a surprising legacy. An old cop, once his own mentor, died recently, and he left something behind for Harry. It’s a “murder book” – a ring binder containing all the case notes for an old homicide investigation. The thing was police property, and should not have left police custody. The case involves the murder of a drug addict in his car in an alley. For the life of him, Harry can’t figure why his old friend stole this book, or kept it. There’s no sign he ever investigated it on his own.

What follows for both Renee and Harry is a case of what I call “retro-telescoping prioritization,” a situation where you set out to do one thing, but can’t do that until you do another thing, but there’s something else you have to do before you can do that. The plot of The Night Fire gets fairly complicated, and I lost track of a few threads now and then. But it all comes together in the end, and there’s a suitably suspenseful payoff.

The Night Fire was not the best book in the Harry Bosch saga, but it wasn’t bad. Cautions for language and adult situations, and a brief public service announcement about gay rights. Connelly fans will enjoy this new installment in the series.

I am concerned about Renee Ballard, though. She’s surviving on a diet of coffee and surfing. If she doesn’t resolve some of her personal issues, she’s gonna crash hard.

‘Dark Sacred Night,’ by Michael Connelly

Dark Sacred Night

Rejoice. Michael Connelly has brought out a new Harry Bosch novel. Except Harry’s getting long in the tooth (apparently he’s grown his mustache back too. I’m pretty sure he shaved it off a few years back), and is not technically an LAPD detective at all anymore. So in Dark Sacred Night he teams up with Connelly’s new detective character – surfer chick-detective Renee Ballard, heroine of The Late Show.

Renee is the victim of sexism in the department, and has been exiled to the “the late show,” the night shift. Surprisingly, she’s found she kind of likes that shift. She’s surprised when she sees an older cop rummaging in a filing cabinet one night. She learns that it’s Harry Bosch, who’s investigating a cold case – the murder of an underage prostitute, Daisy Clayton. Harry knows Daisy’s mother, who is a drug addict and recently cleaned herself up. She’s living with Harry right now, and he promised her he’d try to find the killer. When Renee learns about it, she wants in, and Harry and she find they work pretty well together. They’ll need that synergy when the case gets dangerous, and the brass interfere.

Not the best of a long series, Dark Sacred Night is a satisfying but somewhat downbeat visit with an old friend, professionally delivered. Recommended with the usual cautions.

TV review: ‘Bosch, Season 4’

Bosch, Season 4

The fourth season of Amazon Prime Video’s Bosch series was released recently, and I continue to like it a lot. Many changes have been made from the original books – some of which are pretty old now – but the spirit of the novels flies high, in my opinion.

Season 4 is based on the first Bosch novel I read, Angels Flight. Angels Flight is the name of a quaint funicular rail line in Los Angeles, and this mystery concerns the death of a famous, headline-hungry defense lawyer, who is found shot to death on board the car one night. (The operator has also been killed.) Racial tensions in the city immediately spike, because the lawyer had been on the brink of going to court with a case of excessive police violence against a black man. Harry Bosch is named to head a special task force to identify the killer. The obvious suspects are the cops the attorney was going to accuse – but Harry suspects the killer is someone with deeper motives.

There’s a subplot involving Harry’s ex-wife Eleanor (Sarah Clarke), who has a gambling problem but is trying to get reinstated with the FBI through going undercover and into danger. Their daughter Maddie (Madison Lintz) plays a major role in the story.

I don’t watch much TV anymore, but Bosch is a must for me, at least so far. The best part, as before, is Titus Welliver’s portrayal of the main character. He has Harry down cold – the impassive face, the world-weary, disillusioned attitude that doesn’t stop him from fully investing in every case.

Recommended, with cautions for language and violence. Not for the kids.

‘Two Kinds of Truth,’ by Michael Connelly

Two Kinds of Truth

“Look, I’m sorry. But I wanted to catch these guys. What that kid did, the son, it was noble. When this all comes out, people will probably say he was stupid and naïve and didn’t know what he was doing. But they won’t know the truth. He was being noble. And there isn’t a lot of that out there in the world anymore….”

It’s amazing how Michael Connelly manages to keep the stakes high in his long series of Harry Bosch detective novels. At the beginning of Two Kinds of Truth I was thinking that the formula was getting a little old, but before long I was fully invested. Harry Bosch is a driven character, a man with a near-Christian sense of vocation, and you can’t help starting to care as much as he does.

Harry used to be a police detective in Los Angeles, but he’s past retirement, and now he works on a semi-volunteer basis for the police department in San Fernando, a small, autonomous enclave within greater LA. His official task is cold cases, which he loves, but because he’s the most experienced detective available, he ends up working current cases as well. Continue reading ‘Two Kinds of Truth,’ by Michael Connelly

Amazon Prime Video Review: ‘Bosch,’ Season 3

Bosch Season 3

I’m pretty sure I reviewed Bosch, the Amazon Prime Video series based on Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch mystery novels, earlier on this blog. Still it’s been a while, and I just finished the new third season, so I’ll praise it again. Because it is quite good.

Harry (Hieronymus) Bosch is a Los Angeles homicide detective. He’s a military veteran and has a high case clearance rate, though he can be a pain in the anatomy to his co-workers and superiors. He’s almost obsessively by the book in his work ethic, but he can cut moral corners when he feels it’s justified. He is in fact motivated by inner demons, but he keeps them buttoned up.

In this third season, the first major plot line involves a reprehensible Hollywood producer (that’s an oxymoron, I suppose), who had a lowlife acquaintance murdered because he knew too much about a previous murder he’d committed (this is complicated by the fact that Bosch has been pursuing the guy himself over another matter, and has the murder on film, which he can’t use because his surveillance is illegal). The second big plot line centers on a group of former Army Special Forces guys who pull off a big theft and aren’t shy about killing people along the way. Their combat skills make them formidable adversaries for Bosch – and eventually for each other. Continue reading Amazon Prime Video Review: ‘Bosch,’ Season 3

Watching ‘Bosch’


I’ve been watching the third season of Bosch on Amazon Prime Video. In one episode, I noticed a detail that intrigued me.

Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver) lives in a house partly supported by stilts, on a hillside in the Hollywood Hills, just as in the books. In one shot I noticed a framed poster on a wall.

It was a poster for a movie or a novel (I couldn’t tell) called The Black Echo.

The Black Echo is one of the novels this season of the show is based on.

So even if you imagined that a book had been written or a movie made about Bosch’s adventures (such a made-for-TV movie is in fact a plot element), and called The Black Echo, there’s no way either one could have been done about an adventure that isn’t even over yet.

The poster is a wink at the viewer from the production team. A very subtle breaking of the proscenium.

I expect that sort of thing happens more in movies and TV than I’m aware of.

‘The Wrong Side of Goodbye,’ by Michael Connelly

The Wrong Side of Goodbye

Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch cop novels are a long-running series. They’re bestsellers for good reason. Connelly writes tight, well-crafted novels with engaging characters. The Wrong Side of Goodbye is a sterling entry in a saga that shows no sign of flagging.

Aging detective Harry Bosch is no longer with the Los Angeles Police Department. He was terminated at the end of the last book (he’s suing them for it). But he’s got a private investigator’s license. He’s also working part-time, on a volunteer basis, for the financially strapped police department of the suburb of San Fernando.

For the San Fernando job, he’s working on a series of rapes by a creep who cuts through screen windows in women’s homes. A recent victim got away from him, coming away with fresh clues Harry and the other detectives can use to get closer to a solution. Their main handicap is simply lack of manpower, something that will put a member of the team in genuine peril.

Meanwhile, in a scene right out of Raymond Chandler, Harry (wearing his private eye hat) is called to the home of a steel and aeronautics magnate. The old man is dying, and he knows it. He has no heir. But long ago he fathered a child with a Mexican girlfriend. He wants Harry to find out if his child is alive – if he or she is, they’re in a position to inherit billions.

It’s a pleasure to follow Harry as he does his job. Connelly is especially good at layered characters – people who turn out to be more (or less) than they appear on first glance. There are lots of surprises here, and a plot that snaps together cleanly in the end.

Author Connelly’s politics would appear to be liberal, but his views on various issues are incorporated seamlessly into the story, without hammering the points home (though Harry seems to have had more lesbian partners than statistically likely). But if I disagreed with some passing political riffs, I appreciated the respect with which Vietnam veterans were treated.

Highly recommended. Cautions for language and adult themes.