About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Drop by Michael Connelly

(7. – 639.) The Drop by Michael Connelly – Harry Bosch is back in the Open – Unsolved Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department. The regular hours of this section probing distant murders suits his life as the single parent of Maddie, his 15 year old daughter.

In a wonderful opening Connelly describes the monthly distribution of cases with cold hits as Christmas. Each of the detectives is excited and filled with anticipation as envelopes are handed out where some new analysis of old evidence from an unsolved case has produced a hit on the identity of the offender.

Bosch and his partner, David Chu, get a present. They are assigned to investigate an old homicide where a blood smear has been identified.

Before they can start on the case Bosch is contacted by the Chief of Police to handle the  investigation of the death of George Irving, a lawyer / lobbyist / fixer in City politics. He has fallen to his death from the top floor of the Chateau Marmont Hotel. Was it accident or murder or suicide?

Bosch is surprised to have been given the case because he has had a confrontational relationship with the deceased’s father, Irvin Irving, who is a former policeman and current L.A. city councillor with a consistent record of animosity towards the department of which he had long been a member. Bosch is truly startled when he learns Irvin has insisted that Bosch lead the investigation. Knowing only one way to investigate the death – to find the truth - Bosch demands and receives assurances from the Chief and Irvin that no specific result is required from his investigation.

Still the investigation is fraught with high jingo (top level internal police politics) as Bosch starts probing into the murky professional life led by George.

At the same time Bosch is putting some time into the investigation of the cold case searching into the heart of darkness of a young man who has become a predator himself after being profoundly emotionally scarred by the killer. An uncomfortable philosopher, Bosch, is forced to look at what makes a person evil.

A new love interest arises in Dr. Hannah Stone, a psychologist whose professional and personal life is consumed by the question of what causes evil.

If either Bosch or Stone were Christian they would consider the Devil can turn people evil. Are there angels and demons competing for the soul?

Connelly skillfully crafts another excellent mystery with plausible but unexpected twists.

I was left alittle uneasy by the picture of the killer in the cold case. The killer is a total monster. It is hard to conceive how this person had managed to even reach adulthood. The character is so extreme.

Bosch does have a philosophical principle guiding his investigations – everybody counts or nobody counts. Connelly challenges Bosch on whether he will live out his philosophy.

Always in the background is the DROP – Deferred Retirement Option Plan. Bosch is trying to maximize the length of his career within the Department. No matter his skill the end of his career is being defined by the police bureaucracy.

At home life is almost too good with Maddie. While I did not have a daughter I was the parent of two boys. The teenage years of my sons were good years but there were challenges and occasional conflicts. I doubt parenting a 15 year old girl is as smooth as portrayed in the book. At the same time I am glad she is normal teenager not filled with angst.

It is a good book. I am glad Connelly kept Mickey Haller out of the book. I find his books function better with Bosch and Haller apart. (Feb. 5/12)


  1. Bill - I'm so glad you liked The Drop. I agree that it raises some fascinating questions about human nature; I'm glad you mentioned that. I had to chuckle at your mention of Maddie. I did raise a daughter and I am here to tell you it's not as easy as it's portrayed in this book. But that's OK; I forgive Connelly that precisely because it's so nice to read a novel where the teen in it is not troubled in some way. A fine review for which thanks.

  2. I was thinking the same as you in regard to the depiction of the teenage daughter! And I wonder if she's essentially there for future books or spinoffs, given that other authors (Lee Child, Harlan Coben) are following the "hero's youth" or "hero's child" route to appeal to a different readership)? In the UK we've had young James Bond for a while now, as well as more recently, Young Sherlock Holmes (none of which I've read).

    I enjoyed The Drop very much, thanks for reminding me of it in your excellent review. I agree the villain is too extreme and rather poorly sketched, though actually I was quite grateful that he and his crimes were not portrayed in detail!

  3. Margot: Thanks for the comment.

    I am glad you added your perspective of a Mom who raised a daughter.

  4. Maxine: Thanks for commenting.

    I hope Maddie becomes a more significant character. I like following the maturity of characters.

    A coming review is of a William Deverell book where the character goes back 50 years to a trial he conducted as a young lawyer.

    I am going to read one of Connelly's earliest books as I think the bad guys were subtler characters.

  5. My husband is not particularly a reader of crime fiction (or much fiction)- he reads a lot of non-fiction. However, I have recently recommended Connelly to him as he wanted a book to read on a plane. He read The Black Echo and enjoyed it very much - he's now read the next 4 books. He's a convert. I do think the early books are more detailed and perhaps slightly slower than the later ones. I would quite like to go back to the beginning myself one day, if I ever run out of new (to me) books to read!

  6. Maxine: Thanks for the comment. I recall having Connelly recommended to me by Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore during the 1990's. I have read at least one of his books every year.

    I have decided that each year I am going to make the effort to go back to read a few books I either previously read and did not review or did not read in a series.