The Parsons branch of the Columbus Public Library system prominently displays “new arrivals” on a rack facing the door, presumably thinking that people coming in might pick up a volume on impulse. Yesterday, when Kish and I stopped by for some browsing, I was delighted to see a new Harry Bosch book had come out, called The Crossing by Michael Connelly. I greedily snatched it off the shelf before somebody else beat me to it.
Years ago, the Philosopher King of the Fifth Floor recommended the Bosch books to me. They’re a series — I’m not sure how many there are now — that follow the career and exploits of Hieronymus (“Harry”) Bosch, a long-time police detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. I started with the first in the series and was immediately hooked, and ever since I’ve happily followed the jazz-loving, uncompromising Harry through multiple partners, tragic deaths, love affairs, family dramas, political intrigue in the LAPD, and countless other back stories as he searches for clues and carefully solves grisly murders. It’s been a terrific series.
I like the plotting in the books, I like the characters, and I like the way the books always provide some interesting insight to how police detectives work and police departments operate. But more than anything else I really like the prose. Connelly writes in short, declarative sentences — a very Hemingwayesque style — and I always enjoy the way he describes what Bosch is doing. Too often, modern fiction is so focused on trying to plumb new depths in depressing modern relationships that the authors fail to give any kind of physical description of the setting, the characters, and their actions. Connelly, on the other hand, always provides a rich account of what the characters are doing and how things look. It’s wonderful to read his depiction, for example, of how Harry Bosch opens an envelope, organizes the papers inside, and then lays out the photos of a crime scene.
So excuse me, for now. It’s a beautiful, sunny spring day, I’ve changed into my shorts, and I’m going to go outside and dive into the world of Harry Bosch. I feel like a kid with a full Easter basket.