The latest and most intricate of Harry Bosch’s cold cases (The Black Box, 2012, etc.) begins with a victim who’s still cooling off in the morgue.
Orlando Merced was shot 10 years ago by a sniper who fired into his band, Los Reyes Jalisco, as it played on Mariachi Plaza. He’s just now died of blood poisoning, but the coroner’s office is calling it murder, since the cause was the bullet that’s been lodged in his body all these years. Ex–Los Angeles mayor Armando Zeyas, who can’t resist grandstanding on behalf of the dead man who played at his wedding, offers a $50,000 reward guaranteed to bring the crazies out of the woodwork, and one of the callers tells Bosch’s very junior new partner, Detective Lucia Soto, that the shooting is linked to a 1993 fire at the Bonnie Brae apartments that killed nine victims, most of them children. Since Soto survived that fire as a child and had friends who didn’t, she comes to full alert when the anonymous tipster claims Merced was killed because he knew who set the fire. The two crimes are both linked, it turns out, to another crime, the violent robbery of an EZBank the same day as the Bonnie Brae arson. Though the felonies may be ancient, Connelly (The Gods of Guilt, 2013, etc.) maintains a rapid pace, steadily increasing the tension even after the solution becomes obvious. Following Bosch’s trail is like watching Lew Archer in the glory days of Ross Macdonald, except Connelly’s focus is social, political and ultimately professional rather than psychological.
Expect Bosch to uncover a nest of vipers as powerful as they are untouchable, but don’t expect him to emerge from his Herculean labors a happy man.