Monday, February 15, 2010

9 Dragons, by Michael Connelly

Nine Dragons (Harry Bosch)It's always a pleasure to meet up again with Harry Bosch. It seems like it's been a while since Connelly wrote about his most well-known detective.

Bosch's latest case starts with the murder of the owner of a grocery store. He's a Chinese immigrant, and evidence quickly points to the triads, Chinese secret societies along the lines of the Mafia or Yakuza. Bosch and his partner are quickly led to the local collector of protection money, and arrest him as he is trying to flee the country. At this point, things get a little twisty.

I actually identified who the bad guy was early in the book, and immediately thought, when Harry gets a threatening phone call from an oriental-sounding person, that the crooks were going to do something to Harry's teenage daughter, Maddie, who is living in Hong Kong with his estranged ex-wife, Eleanor. So, things proceed pretty much according to my expectations for quite a while.

It's an old adage that reading science fiction requires the willing suspension of disbelief, but I found myself in the same situation at about the midpoint of the novel. Harry heads for Hong Kong to rescue his kidnapped daughter. He leaves on Friday afternoon, and has to have her back by Monday morning, when they'll have to release the suspect in the murder case, if they don't have more evidence to hold him. So, at this point, I'm supposed to believe that Harry can fly to Hong Kong, successfully investigate his daughter's disapppearance, find the kidnappers, bring them to justice, in a city he's only visited a couple times a year, when he doesn't speak a word of Chinese? Yeah, right.

Regardless of my lack of faith, Harry manages all these things, and rescues the daughter (not much of a spoiler, it has to happen, right?), then returns to L.A. At this point, some little details start to click in Harry's brain, and the resolution of the tale gets a little twisty. Suffice it to say that I didn't have everything figured out, as I'd assumed, and the ending was worth the price of admission.

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