NINE DRAGONS by Michael Connelly

Book Quote:

“He came to fully realize that his relentless pursuit of the killer had put others in jeopardy…. The burden of guilt he would now carry would be the heaviest of his life and he was not sure he was up to it.”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky (OCT 13, 2009)

In Michael Connelly’s Nine Dragons, Detective Harry Bosch, who works in the Robbery-Homicide Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, is sent with his partner to investigate a “rob job” at a liquor store that resulted in the shooting death of the proprietor, John Li. After speaking to Li’s family and viewing surveillance discs, Bosch comes up with two theories. Either a teenage shoplifter who was banished from the liquor store committed the crime, or a member of the Chinese Triad (thugs who extort money and engage in other illegal activities) killed Li for refusing to pay protection money. For a variety of reasons, Bosch leans towards the second explanation. When he realizes that his ignorance of Chinese language and culture might impede his investigation, Harry enlists the aid of Detective David Chu to interview witnesses and provide him with relevant background information.

This case becomes personal when someone close to Harry is abducted. Bosch suspects that the kidnapping may be retaliation for the arrest of a Triad member who is suspected of killing Li. Harry flies to Hong Kong, where he tries to track down a villain about whom he knows next to nothing. He has no name or physical description, just a photograph of a room from a video sent to him via cell phone. Without police backup, Harry attempts to nab the bad guy. At one point, his ex-wife, Eleanor, chastises him, “Harry, enough with the one man army! Don’t run off like that again.” Her words of wisdom, unfortunately, fall on deaf ears.

This is a dispiriting novel that is filled with mistaken assumptions, betrayal, and needless tragedy. Bosch is in way over his head; his impulsiveness and poor judgment prove very costly. Nine Dragons is a plot-driven book with plenty of action, cool forensics, and a number of twists and turns, some predictable, others not. However, since it lacks well-nuanced characters and themes, this somewhat disjointed and overly complicated novel does not rise to the level of Connelly’s best work. Harry learns the hard way that that behaving like a desperado may work in old westerns, but in real life, it is prudent to have backup and a sensible plan before rushing into dangerous situations. In spite of his good intentions, Bosch’s usually unerring instincts fail him with disastrous results. He must settle for picking up the pieces after selfishness, greed, and recklessness damage innocent lives.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-3-5from 374 readers
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company (October 13, 2009)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Michael Connelly
EXTRAS: Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Harry Bosch reviews:

Michael Haller:

Stand-alone mysteries:


LAPD Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch Series

Mickey Haller:


* Terry McCaleb is in these novels
** Harry Bosch is in these novels
*** The Poet is in these novels.
****Mickey Haller is in this novel


Movies from Books:

October 13, 2009 В· Judi Clark В· No Comments
Tags: , ,  В· Posted in: California, China, Sleuths Series, y Award Winning Author

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.