Book Review: THE DROP by Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch might be facing retirement—DROP stands for Deferred Retirement Option Plan—but there’s still a lot of evil for him to bring to justice. The story opens with him being assigned to an Open-Unsolved case that gets a hit when old DNA evidence—a drop of blood—is run through the database. What should be a nice break instead complicates things, since the match is for someone who couldn’t have committed the rape/murder twenty-two years ago, which calls into question the lab’s entire evidence-handling process.

Before Bosch can make much progress, he gets a fresh case involving a jumper at the famed Chateau Marmont. This one is full of “high jingo”—internal politics—since the body belongs to the son of Irvin Irving, the former deputy chief of police and current councilman who hates Bosch and has long tried to derail his career. Did George Irving commit suicide, or did someone with a grudge against Irving père murder him? Bosch juggles both cases, while also working in dates with an attractive psychologist and spending time with his fifteen-year-old daughter, Maddie, who now lives with him full-time after the events in Nine Dragons. The work leads him to horrific places, revealing things that will change him forever.

That’s one of the reasons I keep reading this series—Bosch changes, for better or worse. Some series authors hit the reset button as soon as one novel ends, with the next one showing no consequences from previous incidents. Connelly paints his detective more realistically. Bosch is dealing with advancing age, the cumulative effects of his years on the job, and being a single dad. This doesn’t mean he’s slathering on Ben-Gay or baking cookies with his kid. He’s just questioning whether he’s lost his edge to be a cop, if he should retire to be a full-time father. But how can he when there are still so many monsters to fight, so much more he must do to make the world a safer place for Maddie? It’s a dilemma that’s perfectly understandable, especially after what he encounters in this novel.

I had worried a teenager might cause unwelcome headaches in Bosch’s life, but Maddie is evolving into a young woman who’s sharp in thinking and shooting. Bosch has taught her how to use and respect guns, develop excellent observational skills, and she wants to follow in her father’s career footsteps. It’s a clever turn because if Harry does retire, it looks like there’s another relentless Bosch waiting in the wings.

Nerd verdict: Bosch not ready to Drop

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  • Reply
    November 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Long time fan of Connelly’s Harry Bosch, so it’s a foregone conclusion I’ll be picking up THE DROP.

    On a side note: It would be really interesting to have his daughter follow in the great man’s shoes.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      November 29, 2011 at 3:53 am

      Maddie is shaping up into a very interesting character. She’d be a worthy successor.

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    November 29, 2011 at 5:16 am

    It sure does sound like there’s great potential for Maddie to continue where her father leaves off. The Harry Bosch books are on my list to start working through. He could well have retired by the time I catch up! Thanks for the helpful review, PCN.

  • Reply
    November 29, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Damn, this one snuck up on me. One more to add to the TBR. Nice review, as always.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I think this review is accurate and quite gracious. I hate to admit this, because I totally adore HB and greatly admire Michael Connelly’s work, but this one wasn’t up to snuff. He did a great job showing us Harry’s declining mental and physical abilities, and his interactions with Maddie felt very true to life. But my overall sense was this was more like a rough outline than a final draft. For example, there seemed to be almost no sense for Harry and the new love interest to hook up. It felt forced, not at all organic.

    As I’ve said, the same fullness of the story just wasn’t there as it’s been in all his other books, and I can’t help wondering if Mr. Connelly is pushing himself and his characters way too hard.

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