“Everybody counts, or nobody counts.” Hyeronimus “Harry” Bosch has been living by his egalitarian code (and plugging jazz albums, and investigating murders with the LAPD) for so many years now that talk of retirement was bound to come up. It does in 2011’s “The Drop,” the 15th Bosch novel by Michael Connelly. As the title suggests, the case involves a jumper ( or does it?) , but the DROP is also the controversial “Deferred Retirement Option Plan” of the LAPD. Connelly is always down for wordplay.
Is Harry truly retiring? Not while he’s so busy determining whether the son of Councilman Irvin Irving committed suicide or was thrown off the balcony of the popular Chateau Marmont in Sunset Boulevard. Here’s a historical tidbit: the balustrades at the Marmont seem so dangerously low and suicide-friendly because the hotel is an architectural imitation of the French Chateau D’Amboise, which was constructed in the 1400s, when the average male was about 5’2″. John Belushi died at the Marmont; Dorothy Parker and F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed there for some time; Sofia Coppola used the hotel prominently in “Somewhere.” None of these factoids will help Harry solve the crime, but it’s always nice to learn.
The case is not the most gripping in the Bosch casebook, (unless you’ve been dying to take a wild ride into the sexy demimonde of taxi-cab companies.) Connelly is aware, so he tacks on a second cold case (involving a serial sexual predator) that would have been rejected from a “Law and Order: SVU” writers’ meeting, at least until it went through some serious revisions.
What’s interesting here is the conflict between Harry’s increasingly intransigent view of good vs. evil, and the more pliable attitudes of the other characters, like Harry’s would-be love-interest Hannah Stone, who rehabilitates sexual offenders. What happens when “making everyone count” puts Harry in the uncomfortable position of helping one of the predators Hannah counsels?
RATING: GOOD ENOUGH. If you’re a Connelly fan like me, this book will not alter how you already feel about the series. If you’re a newcomer, I recommend starting at the beginning, with “Black Echo”…
… or with “Black Ice,” the second Bosch novel, which just reminded me of this delightful bit of sketchiness by Key and Peele. Remember: “A perfectly safe neighborhood can be suddenly terrorized by the appearance of black ice.”