Harry Bosch juggles yet another cold case turned disconcertingly hot with the sort of brand-new case that would be routine for anyone but him.
Thirty years ago, Bosch was sure that Preston Borders had raped and murdered three young women. The district attorney’s office, less confident about two of the cases, still managed to convict Borders of killing Danielle Skyler. A jury gave him the death penalty, and he’s been sitting in San Quentin ever since. Now, however, it looks as if he may get out, and not because he’s been executed. An analysis of the evidence that went unexamined back in 1988 has identified the DNA on Danielle’s pajama bottoms as that of Lucas John Olmer, who died in a different prison and never met Borders. Under the guidance of sharp-practice lawyer Lance Cronyn, Borders has filed a habeas corpus petition, made a new statement accusing Harry of planting evidence against him, and expressed a serious interest in suing everyone in sight. Bosch (The Wrong Side of Goodbye, 2016, etc.) has only nine days before the habeas hearing to defuse this ticking bomb. But how can he possibly find the time to work the case when the murder of José Esquivel Sr. and Jr., a pharmacist and his son, at their family business has swept the San Fernando Police Department—where Bosch, booted off the LAPD, is now volunteering—into a hurricane of fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions and provoked Bosch to agree for the first time in his life to go undercover as an addict and potential drug mule?
All the structural problems you’d expect from jamming two urgent but unrelated cases together: during much of the second half, Connelly (The Late Show, 2017, etc.) seems to be tying up increasingly low-impact loose ends. But a marvelous courtroom sequence will bring you cheering to your feet.