Saturday, 4 June 2016

Book Review : The Burning Room By Michael Connelly

 In an attempt to fill the void left by Jack Reacher I’ve been on the lookout for a new series to read and after watching the TV show I decided to read the The Burning Room by Michael Connelly.
 The Burning Room is my first Harry Bosch novel and the 19th overall which means I can continue my tradition of starting new series in the wrong place.

I'll be honest I was a bit disappointed by this book at first and found it to be really slow for the first 100 pages or so. In fact those first 100 pages were so slow in fact I almost gave up on the book altogether (which I haven’t done for ages). 
There are detailed sections about police procedures and processes. Whilst being insightful, it defeats the point of what is supposed to be  a high octane thriller. The story metaphorically speaking is like a stagnant river. There's virtually nothing happening. In this context, it is stale with elements of action and excitement missing to grip readers. I admire Bosch's qualities as a police officer. He always thinks about the victims and sometimes breaks the rules to get results. As a consequence, Bosch often gets himself into trouble with his bosses, In that respect he puts me in mind of DCI Banks.

If truth be told, this isn't a riveting story. Interesting, of course, but not one to set the pulse racing. Bosch has a new partner in the form of rookie detective Lucy Soto and at the beginning she is - in her spare time - trying to find out who caused a fire in an L.A. day-care centre   21 years earlier, a fire that she survived as a seven-year-old but which took the lives of several people including young children.

Meanwhile the case that she and Bosch are officially working on is the murder of a Mexican musician who had been in a coma for ten years. So while the shooting of Orlando Merced may have taken place long enough ago to be classified as a cold case - which is the type of crime that Bosch specialises in - the actual death happened only a few hours before this story begins.
It's therefore something of a stretch to the imagination to learn that the two crimes have a connection, although that's what does tend to happen in crime fiction sometimes. The only thing Bosch and Soto have to go on is the bullet from the late Merced's spine, and somehow that's enough for an investigation that traverses several regions of California and beyond. 

There isn't anything else to the story however; no sub-strands or multi-layers apart from some stuff about Bosch’s daughter Maddie who's following in her dad's footsteps , this is the sum total of what it's about, which is a shame as the main storyline is a bit weak.

I think the reason this book is a bit disappointing is that at the time it was being written Connelly was busy with the new Bosch TV show on Amazon, which might explain why it’s not as good as his previous books.

However, The Burning Room being a disappointment hasn’t put me off Bosch and will be trying some of the earlier books namely The Drop, A Darkness More Than night, Trunk Music and The Last Coyote. I’ll let you know how I get on with those when I read them. 

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