Audiobook Review: The Drop by Michael Connelly

4 01 2012

The Drop by Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch, Book 17)

Read by Len Cariou

Hachette Audio

Length: 10 Hrs 55 Min

Genre: Crime Fiction

Quick Thoughts: The Drop is Connelly at his best, which is like watching a sports legend pull off a career game well after it has been established just how good he is. Its mysteries are satisfying, the characters complex, and has a well plotted fascinating ending that will both excite and sadden the reader.

Grade: A

It seems every year, when I consider my favorite books of the year, somewhere on that list, a Michael Connelly book appears. In 2010, The Reversal topped my list. In 2011 it was The Fifth Witness rounding out my top 5. Although both of these books were Mickey Haller books, the presence of Connelly’s best and most famous character Harry Bosch added a lot to the overall tale. I have been a huge Harry Bosch fan for years, and always look forward to his appearance in any book, no matter the size of the role. The strange thing is I don’t read many police procedurals. Most of the thriller series I read are either legal thrillers, private detective stories, or some other person in some other job who just so happens to get themselves into some sort of trouble every year around the same time. I mean, how many surly cops, who have trouble taking orders from the brass, getting along with others in the department, and who always finds themselves on the wrong side of powerful people can we read about? I guess for me, it’s one. Yet, if you are going to choose one, you might as well choose one by Michael Connelly, who, I believe, is the best procedural writer out there. 

The Drop, if not a return to form, is really a return to structure for Michael Connelly and his character Harry Bosch. In the Mickey Haller novels, Bosch rarely drives the action, just influences it along the way, and in the previous Harry Bosch-centric novel, Harry is forced out of his comfort zone of the LAPD and Los Angeles area by truly personal events. Now, Bosch is back waiting for cases to open up in the Open-Unsolved Unit, when he is finally tasked by his Lieutenant to look into a case with potential to embarrass the LAPD and the crime lab. Yet, while working this case, Bosch is summoned by the Police Chief to take on a case ripe with political "High Jingo."  Bosch is made the lead on a case involving a suicide of a man who just happens to be the son of City Councilman Irv Irving. Bosch is leery of the case, being that he and Irving had a history of antagonism going back nearly Harry’s entire career. All this leads to a classic Harry Bosch investigation and one of the best entries in this series in a while. The Drop works because Connelly is true to his character. Bosch is aging, and Connelly acknowledges that, as well as the fact that Bosch has now become the full time parent of his teenage daughter. These changes has allowed Connelly to develop Bosch is ways long time readers may not expect, while maintaining his overall integrity, which, in all honesty, can be a little frustrating at times. Connelly pulls off what very few writers can, balancing two mysteries that interact but don’t intertwine, yet doing it effectively. The Drop is Connelly at his best, which is like watching a sports legend pull off a career game well after its been established just how good he is. Its mysteries are satisfying, the characters complex, and has a well plotted fascinating ending that will both excite and sadden the reader.

I have said before that while I feel Len Cariou wonderfully performs the voice of Harry Bosch in the recent audiobook versions, I have issues with other areas of his delivery. His reading of the narrative can be too meticulously deliberate, with a bit of a slur that you can feel him fighting back. Some of his other characters, particularly the younger men and female characters are just a bit rough. Yet, I should point out that I am a minority here in this opinion. Most people I have talked to enjoy Cariou’s narration and feel any sort of deficiency is more than made up for by the authenticity he brings to Harry. Even with my personal issues, this is a highly listenable audiobook and the story sucks you in so well, you tend to forget what was bothering you in the first place. The Drop is another winner for Michael Connelly, with the biggest downside being that I will have to wait until November for his next novel, Black Box.

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2 responses

12 01 2012
Laurie C

I’m listening to The Drop now, a long time after listening to Nine Dragons, and at first I thought it must be a new narrator. It didn’t sound like Harry Bosch! The delivery seemed slow, almost drawling. I looked back and, no, Len Cariou, was the narrator on Nine Dragons, and also on most of the others. Somehow, the voice still seemed too OLD for Harry, too SLOW. But a few minutes in, and the gruffness and hoarseness began to predominate over the slowness and Harry Bosch was back.

19 01 2012
Kelly

The Book Report had this book featured this week, I really love listening to the show, pretty much the same as listening to my books, I hope you’ll give the show a listen http://www.bookreportradio.com, You will enjoy it, no doubt!

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