Gunn was a small-time criminal who had been questioned repeatedly by LAPD Detective Harry Bosch in the unsolved murder of a prostitute, most recently on the night he was killed. McCaleb knows the tense, cranky Bosch (Michael Connelly's series star--see The Black Echo, The Black Ice, et al.) and decides to start by talking to him. But Bosch has time only for a brief chat. He's a prosecution witness in the high-profile trial of David Storey, a film director accused of killing a young actress during rough sex. By chance, however, McCaleb discovers an abstruse but concrete link between the scene of Gunn's murder and Harry Bosch's name:
"This last guy's work is supposedly replete with owls all over the place. I can't pronounce his first name. It's spelled H-I-E-R-O-N-Y-M-U-S. He was Netherlandish, part of the northern renaissance. I guess owls were big up there."Bosch fits McCaleb's profile of the killer, and McCaleb is both thunderstruck and afraid--thunderstruck that a cop he respects might have committed a horrendous murder and afraid that Bosch may just be good enough to get away with it. And when Bosch finds out (via a mysterious leak to tabloid reporter Jack McEvoy, late of Connelly's The Poet) that he's being investigated for murder, he's furious, knowing that Storey's defense attorney may use the information to help get his extravagantly guilty client off scot-free.
McCaleb looked at the paper in front of him. The name she had just spelled seemed familiar to him.
"You forgot his last name. What's his last name?"
"Oh, sorry. It's Bosch. Like the spark plugs."
It's the kind of plot that used to make great Westerns: two old gunslingers circling each other warily, each of them wondering if the other's gone bad. But there's more than one black hat in them thar hills, and Connelly masterfully joins the plot lines in a climax and denouement that will leave readers gasping but satisfied. --Barrie Trinkle
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Harry Bosch, the worn, pragmatic Los Angeles police detective, protagonist of a number of Connelly's earlier books, is joined by Terry McCaleb, former FBI crime-scene profiler, introduced in Blood Work (Little, Brown, 1998). Harry is immersed in testifying at the murder trial of a Hollywood film director, Jack Storey. When McCaleb, retired and living a quiet life with a new wife and two young children, is asked by a former colleague to look at the investigation materials of a recent gruesome homicide, he realizes just how much he misses his vocation. Terry alone has noticed some clues from the crime-scene video that point toward the influence of Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch. Despite pleas from his wife, Terry is drawn into the investigation and finds, to his dismay, that pointers lead straight to acquaintance Harry Bosch, whose real name is Hieronymus. Certain details in Harry's life fit in well with the profile Terry is developing of a ritualistic killer. The clues stemming from Bosch's paintings may lead readers straight to the Internet to view some of Bosch's well-known works to see the clues for themselves. The plot is intricate, and the twists and turns keep coming, but it is so well done, and the characters are so vivid, that confusion isn't a problem. Despite its length, this involving book is a fast read with "can't put it down" appeal.
Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA
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