The Narrows, by Michael Connelly

Terry McCaleb, whose heart transplant provided the plot for A Darkness More than Night, dies while out fishing: his new heart finally gives out. But his wife believes that there's a more sinister explanation, and asks Harry Bosch, who's now retired from the LAPD and working as a PI, to investigate. It soon becomes clear that an old adversary may still be at large.

This was quite a good one, although maybe I'm getting a bit Connelly'd out by now, this being the seventh of his books I've read so far this year. Reasonably standard serial-killer stuff, and reasonably standard type conflict between the PI who keeps being warned off the case by the feds, while making more progress in the case than any of them can.

The story had some sections told in the first person by Harry (although I don't remember other books about Harry being written from that pespective) and third-person narrative. What this let the author do was to give you insight into Harry's thought processes for some of the time, but withhold that from you when it would have given you advance notice of plot developments. But I didn't really like this: it seemed a bit of a cheap trick.

There were also a couple of passages written from the killer's perspective: I don't think these added anything (same problem of being unable to make sense of lunatic ramblings such as (I'm making this up) "the glory of darkness will give me rebirth"). Now in fact, given the back-story of this particular killer (ex FBI investigator) I think he could have done more here, and filled out a bit more back-story, but apart from the fact that the guy is quite proficient, not much was made of it.

This book ties quite a few things together (well, for me, having read them in this particular order anyway). As well as involving Harry with the team who investigated the Poet, it sits just before The Closers: Harry is offered the chance to return to work in the "cold cases" department and at the end of the book decides to do so. It also fills in some more information about Harry's (by now failed) marriage to Eleanor, which took place in Angels Flight.

And, obviously, it involves the late McCaleb and his family. One thing I thought was nice was that reference is made in the book to the film that was made of the story that was told in Blood Work. Now there really is a film of that book, starring Clint Eastwood. So it's a nice twist to have fictional characters in this book discussing the real film that was made of the (to them real, but to us fictitious) story of Blood Work. And reality bleeds back into fiction too, when Eastwood himself attends McCaleb's funeral (in the book anyway).

Completed : 31-Aug-2008

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