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Harry Bosch #8

City Of Bones

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Updated cover of this Kindle edition.

On New Year's Day, a dog finds a bone in the Hollywood Hills--and unearths a murder committed more than twenty years earlier. It's a cold case, but for Detective Harry Bosch, it stirs up memories of his childhood as an orphan. He can't let it go. As the investigation takes Bosch deeper into the past, a beautiful rookie cop brings him alive in the present. No official warning can break them apart--or prepare Bosch for the explosions when the case takes a few hard turns. Suddenly all of L.A. is in an uproar, and Bosch, fighting to keep control, is driven to the brink of an unimaginable decision.

448 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 16, 2002

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About the author

Michael Connelly

485 books29k followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads' database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Michael Connelly decided to become a writer after discovering the books of Raymond Chandler while attending the University of Florida. Once he decided on this direction he chose a major in journalism and a minor in creative writing — a curriculum in which one of his teachers was novelist Harry Crews.

After graduating in 1980, Connelly worked at newspapers in Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, primarily specializing in the crime beat. In Fort Lauderdale he wrote about police and crime during the height of the murder and violence wave that rolled over South Florida during the so-called cocaine wars. In 1986, he and two other reporters spent several months interviewing survivors of a major airline crash. They wrote a magazine story on the crash and the survivors which was later short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. The magazine story also moved Connelly into the upper levels of journalism, landing him a job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, one of the largest papers in the country, and bringing him to the city of which his literary hero, Chandler, had written.

After three years on the crime beat in L.A., Connelly began writing his first novel to feature LAPD Detective Hieronymus Bosch. The novel, The Black Echo, based in part on a true crime that had occurred in Los Angeles, was published in 1992 and won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by the Mystery Writers of America. Connelly has followed that up with over 30 more novels.

Over eighty million copies of Connelly’s books have sold worldwide and he has been translated into forty-five foreign languages. He has won the Edgar Award, Anthony Award, Macavity Award, Los Angeles Times Best Mystery/Thriller Award, Shamus Award, Dilys Award, Nero Award, Barry Award, Audie Award, Ridley Award, Maltese Falcon Award (Japan), .38 Caliber Award (France), Grand Prix Award (France), Premio Bancarella Award (Italy), and the Pepe Carvalho award (Spain) .

Michael was the President of the Mystery Writers of America organization in 2003 and 2004. In addition to his literary work, Michael is one of the producers and writers of the TV show, “Bosch,” which is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Michael lives with his family in Los Angeles and Tampa, Florida.

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5 stars
18,483 (34%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,244 reviews
Profile Image for James Thane.
Author 9 books6,941 followers
December 7, 2017
The eighth Harry Bosch novel, published in 2002, opens when a dog unearths a human bone in Laurel Canyon in the hills above Hollywood. The dog's owner, a retired doctor, recognizes the discovery immediately and calls the police. Harry Bosch responds, climbs the hill where the dog had been playing, and discovers the bones of a child that had been buried in a shallow grave more than twenty years earlier.

An autopsy reveals that the boy had been murdered, but there are precious few clues apart from the bones themselves. A case this cold will be almost impossible to solve, but for Bosch, this case, like virtually all his others, becomes personal and he simply won't let go of it.

Harry is, ultimately, able to identify the victim, but tracking down the killer will take all of the skills he has honed through the years. Along the way, he will acquire a new love interest, and, as is almost always the case, will find himself in conflict with the department's brass who are, at least in Harry's view, much more interested in protecting the department's image than they are in achieving some sort of justice.

This is another very good entry in the series, featuring the level of detail and insight into police procedure that readers have come to expect from Connelly. One of the particular joys of this book lies in the minor characters, beginning with the doctor whose dog discovers the bones, all of whom are very well-drawn and unusually interesting. The book ends with a particularly shattering climax which will leave readers very anxious to get to the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday .
2,049 reviews2,104 followers
December 31, 2017
EXCERPT: The old lady changed her mind about dying but by then it had been too late. She dug her fingers into the paint and plaster of the nearby wall until most of her fingernails had broken off. Then she had gone for the neck, scrabbling to push the bloodied fingertips up and under the cord. She broke four toes kicking at the walls. She had tried so hard, shown such a desperate will to live, that it made Harry Bosch wonder what had happened before. Where was that determination and will and why had it deserted her until after she had put the extension cord noose around her neck and kicked over the chair? Why had it hidden from her?

These were not official questions that would be raised in his death report. But they were the things Bosch couldn't avoid thinking about as he sat in his car outside the Splendid Age Retirement Home on Sunset Boulevard east of the Hollywood Freeway. It was 4:20 p.m. on the first day of the year. Bosch had drawn holiday call out duty.

The day more than half over and that duty consisted of two suicide runs — one a gunshot, the other the hanging. Both victims were women. In both cases there was evidence of depression and desperation. Isolation. New Year's Day was always a big day for suicides. While most people greeted the day with a sense of hope and renewal, there were those who saw it as a good day to die, some — like the old lady — not realizing their mistake until it was too late.

THE BLURB: Detective Harry Bosch tears open a 20-year-old murder case - with an explosive ending that leave all Bosch fans hungrily awaiting the next instalment.
When the bones of a twelve-year-old boy are found scattered in the Hollywood Hills, Harry Bosch is drawn into a case that brings up the darkest memories from his own haunted past. The bones have been buried for years, but the cold case doesn't deter Bosch. Unearthing hidden stories, he finds the child's identity and reconstructs his fractured life, determined that he not be forgotten.

At the same time, a new love affair with a female cop begins to blossom for Bosch - until a stunningly blown mission leaves him in more trouble than ever before in his turbulent career. The investigation races to a shocking conclusion and leaves Bosch on the brink of an unimaginable decision.

MY THOUGHTS: Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, and the relationships between family members the most complex. It is these relationships that form the basis of City of Bones.

Michael Connelly never disappoints. The quality of his writing is consistently high, the pace of the plot fast, but never frantic. Connelly loves, and is master of, the plot twist. I know it is coming, but still he manages to take me by surprise. No matter how hard I try to work out what it is going to be, I have never yet managed to correctly predict it in its entirety.

Bosch continues to grow as a character, both professionally and personally. In City of Bones, Connelly leaves Bosch at a crossroads in his life.

Supporting characters are also well fleshed out. They are not always people we like, but all have relevant parts to play in the plot. Connelly's plots are never simple, but neither are they so complex that they become confusing. He lays red herrings with great skill, and in City of Bones I found myself, as I so often do with his books, picking the completely wrong person as the killer. Perhaps it's just as well I'm not a detective!

I listened to City of Bones by Michael Connelly, narrated by Peter Jay Fernandez, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the 'about' page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
Profile Image for Justo Martiañez.
403 reviews134 followers
October 11, 2022
4.5/5 Estrellas

Qué decir de esta entrega. Tiene un poco de todo y muy bueno.

Perfecta en su relato de los procedimientos policiales. Estamos a principios de los años 2000. De forma totalmente casual se hallan los restos del esqueleto de un niño, que perece haber sufrido todo tipo de maltratos durante su corta vida. En estos años ya se ha generalizado el uso del móvil, y ya se estaban utilizando métodos genéticos como pruebas forenses para establecer relaciones de parentesco entre individuos o para identificarlos, cómo en el ataque terrorista a las Torres Gemelas. Me extraña que no se haga referencia a ello en el libro, quizá al tratarse de huesos, la extracción de ADN de este tipo de muestras, todavía no era viable. Al no contar con este tipo de análisis, el atar cabos, sobre todo cuando estamos hablando del hallazgo de restos que se remontan a más de 20 años atrás, se convierte en una obra de artesanía que el autor nos plasma con gran maestría.

Perfecta en su análisis de la naturaleza humana, los abusos infantiles, la culpa, la redención, la ambición, la crueldad, la búsqueda de tu lugar en el mundo.....el amor y el odio. Pequeños detalles, que dejan una huella profunda en el lector.

No he acabado de entender lo que sucedió con Julia, pero se intuye. Creo que es un punto clave de la trama y uno de esos pequeños detalles que nos permiten abundar en la psicología de los personajes, que no queda aclarado con limpieza.....entiendo que algo debe poner el lector de su parte.

Ciudad de huesos....¿cuántos huesos se encontrarán debajo del suelo que pisamos esperando que alguien desentrañe su historia? Mejor no pensarlo.

A por la siguiente.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,323 reviews2,144 followers
January 16, 2016
This is the eighth book in the Harry Bosch series and the one I liked the least so far. I still enjoyed it and found it a quick easy read but it lacked a certain something. I know I was uncomfortable in all the scenes involving Brasher who I found I could not like at all. Eventually I wondered why she had even been included and in fact whether the author felt the same way judging by events! There was a lot of description of police procedure which I enjoy but which can also drag a bit when there is too much. So for me not the most successful book in the series but still eminently readable!
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,225 reviews2,730 followers
December 1, 2015
Calamity (“he was trouble as a puppy”) was the one who changed the course of Detective Harry Bosch’s future and set a course for the following two weeks of dark memories and turbulent trouble. When Bosch was called to Wonderland in Los Angeles, he suspected the bone which had been unearthed would be the usual; a wild animal of some description. But when the almost complete skeleton of a young boy was brought to the surface; and learning the bones had been in the ground for twenty years, Bosch was determined to discover the identity of the bones, and bring the perpetrator to justice.

Bosch and his partner Detective Jerry Edgar dug deeply – unable to be spared for too long on such a cold case, they worked the clock around. And the secrets they began bringing to the surface chilled them both. Lives changed, circumstances changed – but the end result was always the same – murder. When tragedy struck, they kept going – it was imperative; personal to Bosch. Would he find the killer after so many years?

Wow! What a brilliant instalment in the Harry Bosch series - #8 – and it’s been on my TBR for over 4 years! Gripping, intense, with an extremely fast and chilling pace, City of Bones is (in my opinion) one of Michael Connelly’s best! A writer who is definitely at the top of his game, I can’t recommend this one highly enough.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,791 reviews961 followers
December 4, 2018
I definitely enjoyed "City of Bones." I really enjoyed this look at what it was that caused Harry Bosch to retire from the LAPD. I'm sad to think about what could have been though when you see a more thoughtful and happy Harry in this one.

Bosch is still teamed up with J. Edgar in this one (book Edgar still sucks) and they get called in when a bone is found up in the hills. When it becomes clear they are looking at human remains, Bosch is thrown into a high profile case that the LAPD just wants closed and doesn't seem to care about the truth. But long time readers know that is all Harry cares about.

Besides the high pressure case, we also have Bosch undertaking another romance in this one that I liked. Connelly always seems reluctant to me in showing Bosch in a relationship. Even when he does show bits of it, he seems to skip over showing any type of romance. Instead it also seems to fade to black. When Bosch gets involved with a rookie cop named Julia Brasher, it felt like the first time in a while we had him connect with someone.

The writing was great and I couldn't put this book down. It was honestly hard to stop. I think that was mostly because I felt invested in finding out who was responsible for the death of the victim in this one, and there was so many other layers to peel back here.

The flow was top notch though the ending felt a but abrupt.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,818 reviews12.8k followers
January 24, 2012
A great Bosch book that details many sub-stories within the one novel. Perhaps not stories as much as solutions to the case, in which Connelly has the reader (and Bosch) sure that the killer is Mr. X, only to find out that new evidence points to Ms. Y. It also touches on many powerful (and painful) themes, including missing children, abuse, foster care, and death on the job.

Connelly continues to build a strong emotional foundation for his best character, Harry Bosch, and examines the continually flickering romances that seem to cross his path while he works for the LAPD. A seemingly innocent bone discoverY leads to some fairly scary revelations; news he can share with his new belle, an LAPD rookie. As the case gets more complex, Bosch discovers nothing is as it seems and no answer is truly as simply as it appears on paper.

Much interesting news and happenings occur in the latter 25% of the book, so it is not one to skim, unless your attention to detail is high. I would highly recommend the book, but, of course, read the series in order to get the true feel of character development.

Where will you take us next, Michael Connelly? Tune in to see!
Profile Image for Charlie Parker.
202 reviews47 followers
September 7, 2023
Ciudad de huesos

Novela número ocho en la serie de Harry Bosch donde tendrá que acudir a una colina donde se han encontrado huesos humanos. Todo hace indicar que se trataba de un joven de corta edad al que asesinaron dos décadas atrás.  

De nuevo otra historia impecable de Connelly que maneja el ritmo y sus personajes a su antojo para mantener el interés durante toda la novela.

De paso aprendemos como se puede saber lo que pasó hace miles de años al encontrar huesos en pozas de alquitrán con signos de violencia. El mal siempre ha estado entre nosotros.
Profile Image for Diane Wallace.
1,152 reviews63 followers
July 1, 2017
Good series! crime thriller and a murder mystery in the plot...nice action and many tense moments but in the end it's still a really good series M.Connelly keep writing (paperback!)
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,243 reviews968 followers
September 24, 2016
I have such mixed feelings about this story.

Harry Bosch and partner Jerry Edgar respond to a call about a bone found by a doctor's dog. He's certain it's human and he turns out to be right, prompting the start of what ends up being a very cold case.

I loved the forensics aspect of the story, along with the procedurals. Nobody does it better than Harry and I enjoy his investigative style. There are other personal situations that impact the investigation and Harry's career that I found troubling. The ending left me in a weird space but if I'm honest, it was true to the character.

Another new narrator that just didn't come close to capturing Harry. Hopefully, the next one will come closer. I probably just need to let Dick Hill go:) Even with some of my issues, it's still a really good story.
Profile Image for Becky.
1,384 reviews1,650 followers
December 5, 2018
Hallelujah. After the last volume in this series being such a disappointing cluster, I was a little concerned that it might be impossible to come back from such a mess, but I need not have worried. With Terry McCaleb out of the way, Bosch was more than ready to get back to business as usual.

This storyline is one that was featured in the show (it's all out of order, don't worry about crossover ruination - even having seen it, I wasn't spoiled on the story) and it reads, thankfully, just as easy as watching it, but with the added benefit of being somewhat in Harry's thought process.

Really great being back in the saddle with Harry again. I really love his passion for the work and for wanting to right wrongs and make a difference. I like that he isn't just looking to fit any old piece into the puzzle... it has to be the RIGHT piece.

It was also nice to see Jerry stepping up a bit more in this story. Often, it seems like Harry carries the case and the weight on his own, and just delegates tasks to Jerry. But in this one, Jerry was handling interviews (though not always tactfully or appropriately), putting together evidence, and running down stuff on his own. It was almost like he was a cop too, not an assistant to one. And he wonders why he's always passed over for promotions. *sideeye*

There was a love interest subplot, though thankfully it was short lived. She wouldn't have been good for him, which I think he knows, but whatever.

Finally, there was a crazy spur of the moment decision made at the end of this book, and I'm really not sure where the series will go from here because of it. It seems that Harry always finds a new bridge to burn that freaks me out... but even so, a new barge appears for him to use so he's maybe a bit inconvenienced or slowed down, but not unable to get where he wants to go. Weird analogy.

Anywho! Back on track with this book, and looking forward to the next one! :)
Profile Image for Book Addict Shaun.
937 reviews279 followers
January 17, 2018
After a few disappointing reads over the last few days I couldn’t wait to jump back into the Harry Bosch series. Having only recently read Michael Connelly for the first time, he has quickly became one of my favourite authors and I can’t think of an author in this genre who writes better crime fiction than this. The realism just oozes off the page and I can’t get enough of these books.

Once again Connelly has written a truly gripping and engrossing tale with so many strands running off it across the whole of Los Angeles. Bosch is the kind of police officer you hope exists in the real world. Somewhere amongst all the political bullshit that goes on, there’s got to be officers like him out there. The politics in policing in crime fiction has always made me feel quite sick and it definitely did here when Bosch’s superiors once again make some shocking decisions.

In terms of Bosch’s personal life there’s some huge developments here and I was gobsmacked at some of the things that happened to him whilst reading this book (although not the cliffhanger as I stupidly knew that was coming). Connelly’s writing has real emotion within it and you really get inside Bosch’s head in this story, learning his thought processes and what makes him tick. He’s just an endlessly fascinating character and I can’t wait to continue his story.

There can’t be many people left who haven’t discovered the sheer brilliance of Connelly and Bosch for themselves but if there is, then I cannot recommend these books more highly.
Profile Image for Mark.
1,107 reviews139 followers
April 15, 2008
A South African mystery writer recently said this was the best crime book ever written. I have no way of verifying that, but it was very, very good. This novel seems to come in the middle of Michael Connelly's series featuring Los Angeles detective Harry Bosch. The title derives from the discovery at the outset of a set of boy's bones on a wooded hillside above a residential street, and the case resonates strongly with Bosch because of his own troubled childhood.

Through the twists and turns that follow, three more people will die and what looked like an unsolvable mystery, then like an open-and-shut case, finally goes through an end-of-the-book reversal that pulls it all together, without straining a reader's credulity. There are a few standard mystery tropisms, but also some very nice touches, particularly the obligation that Harry lays upon the dead boy's mother at the end of the novel.

I've promised myself no spoilers, so you'll have to see for yourself. As with all good crime-solving heroes, Harry Bosch has a stubborness about him that makes him a top detective, but also makes it difficult for others to work with him, even when he's trying to treat them well. And without overdoing the scenic descriptions in the least, Connelly manages to convey a good sense of the sprawl, diversity, meanness, traffic and rootlessness of Los Angeles, and particularly of Hollywood.

Profile Image for Carolyn (on vacation).
2,247 reviews642 followers
December 14, 2015
Harry Bosch has one of his most puzzling cases yet. The skeleton of a 12 year old boy has been found in a shallow grave on a hillside. Not only must Harry find the identity of this boy murdered 20-30 years ago but he must also find the killer. Harry follows a few false leads as he tries to match the evidence from what he knows of the boys life and his friends and family and it comes to look as if it may remain a cold case. Harry also has some serious thinking to do about his future and where he might be heading.

This is one of the best Harry Bosch cases I have read to date. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,235 reviews145 followers
October 10, 2018
A solid mystery featuring my favorite lone wolf, Harry Bosch. Unfortunately it dragged for me, but not because of anything Connelly did or didn’t do, but because most of this book was well-covered in the third season of the Amazon series.

Because TV manages to change up even the best of storylines, there were a few surprises. Most notable the ending.

I didn’t see that coming but no doubt Bosch will find new ways to annoy the LAPD leadership.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,379 reviews139 followers
August 12, 2022
An ok read. On the whole I enjoyed it but it didn't blow me away.

Two stars.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
January 8, 2023
A dog finds a bone that turns out to be from the shallow grave of a twelve-year-old boy, buried twenty years ago. The drunk Dad lives in a trailer park, after Mom left when he and his sister were two and four. More evidence reveals physical abuse. The kid had been in the same youth home as Bosch had lived, firing his desire to take the case. And he has a new love, a rookie cop.

They have a solid suspect, and approach him; then things go very very wrong. This is a solid and much awarded entry to the series, a basic police procedural with mopey Hieronymous (rhymes with anonymous, we are reminded regularly) Bosch, who gets in trouble for being a rogue outsider, breaking the rules, mostly standard-issue stuff. I'd rate it, for this series, 3.5, a kind of average entry for Connelly, but then he is also basically the bar-setter for this kind of story, so the bar's pretty high, better than most books of this kind for sure. We're wrong more than once about whodunnit, and then we have that terrific last chapter, so ethically and emotionally complicated. Some writers just don't know how to finish stories; Connelly really does.

I like how in the nasty underworld of LA crime, Connelly creates a good balance of admitting there are those in the LAPD who are corrupt and self-serving (how to we play the media, sweep it under the carpet so the public sees the cops as admirable) and those like Harry who really do care about justice, who are hindered by the system because of the bad guys in the system (OJ and Rodney King are regularly referenced).

Connelly says the story was inspired by the discovery of the bones of woman buried in the La Brea Tar Pits more than ten thousand years ago. City of bones! Including the bones of those who Harry has loved. Harry keeps a collection of empty shells from all the dead cops he's known killed in the act of duty. It's got a lot of shells in it.

Profile Image for Howard.
1,284 reviews80 followers
July 9, 2023
4 Stars for City of Bones: Harry Bosch, Book 8 (audiobook) by Michael Connelly read by Len Cariou.

This is the first book in this series for me. I enjoyed it enough that I’m going to start at the beginning and see how Harry got his start.

Harry Bosch is an interesting detective. He definitely had to use his hard upbringing to give him some insight into the foster care system. After several tries he got to the bottom of what happened in this cold case.
Profile Image for Jim.
575 reviews88 followers
December 30, 2018
The eighth book in the Harry Bosch series opens on New Year's Day with a dog returning to his owner with a bone. The owner, a retired doctor, realizes the bone is human and calls the police. Harry is working the holiday and gets the call. When Harry arrives on the scene he climbs the hill where the dog had been playing and discovers the bones of a child that had been buried in a shallow grave twenty years ago. Forensics show that the child had been abused repeatedly. It is a cold case. It is the start of a new year and this case will cost a lot. It will be difficult, if even possible, to learn the truth. The brass in the LAPD would like to close it ... soon. Just close it. For Harry it becomes personal, stirring up memories of his own childhood. He cannot let it go. One is worried about image and budget. One is looking for the truth and justice for a child.

Harry also meets, and develops a relationship with, a rookie cop. A violation of LAPD policy. It doesn't take long for rumors to start. Some just wink and smile and make a comment. Some urge Harry to be careful. For others, especially Deputy Chief Irvin Irving, it is just another reason to want Harry gone. With Harry there is always conflict with the brass who seem more interested in protecting the department's image.

The abuse and the death may have occurred twenty years ago but now that the bones have been unearthed there will be other victims. This is about a child who was abused and killed. What had been secrets, like the bones, will brought out into the light of day. Sometimes there are innocent victims.

Of course I like Harry Bosch but part of what makes this series great is the supporting characters you meet along the way. Some you like, like the retired doctor whose dog found the bone, and others you dislike, like Irvin Irving. This particular entry in the series ended with a terrific cliff hanger that leaves the reader wondering what is next for Harry?
Profile Image for Ben-Ain.
105 reviews17 followers
January 7, 2021
Cuatro estrellas.

Octava entrega de la saga sobre Harry Bosch. Un libro entretenido y ligero. Se lee muy rápido, pues la investigación y la acción no decaen en ningún momento. Como todas las entregas anteriores, y como viene siendo la tónica en los libros de Michael Connelly, la intriga se mantiene hasta las últimas páginas del libro.

La jerga policial así como la de la judicial es algo que Michael Connelly maneja a la perfección. Su personaje, Harry Bosch, incluso después de tantos libros, mantiene su humanidad y sigue siendo muy creíble.

En este caso concreto, Harry Bosch investigará unos huesos antiguos desenterrados por un perro en una colina junto a una urbanización tranquila donde nunca había pasado nada. Poco más se puede decir para no destripar el libro.

Muy recomendable para los que les gusta las novelas policíacas.
Profile Image for Alex Cantone.
Author 3 books35 followers
February 1, 2023
“The solution is not to bend things to fit our needs. This is a homicide case.”
“I know that, Harry.”

First published in 2002, City of Bones is the eighth in the long-running series featuring LA detective Harry Bosch. Harry is attached to Hollywood Division with partner of 10 years, Jerry Edgar, under Lt Grace Billet. Kiz Rider was promoted to Robbery-Homicide Division less than a year earlier, and Asst. Chief Irvin Irving, a political animal, is more committed to the preserving the image of the police and his own reputation, and he and Bosch have had a long-standing run-in.

The title stems from a play on words: those used by the ME’s office to describe the grid system used by crime scene investigators to locate, unearth, and photograph artefacts/ remains in situ prior to transporting them to a lab for forensics, and also a term for LA itself, built on ancient La Brea tar pits, where bones, both human and animal have remained buried for thousands of years, occasionally rising to the surface.

The case opens with a bone retrieved by a dog, Calamity, at Laurel Canyon, taking it to his owner, a retired doctor who recognises it as a human humerus, possibly that of a child. Called to the scene, Bosch meets the attending uniforms, and is mutually attracted to rookie Julia Brasher. Within days the ME’s office retrieves almost half a skeleton from a shallow grave, some bones uprooted and dispersed by animals, high on a trail above nearby houses, with the media swarming for details.

Forensics points to the bones being buried almost twenty years earlier, some showing fractures, as if a victim of sustained abuse, and the investigation turns to who the body is, and who lived in the nearby street at that time.

With the victim so young, the Police try to keep a lid on it, but news of a potential suspect is leaked to the media, compromising the investigation, with tragic results. Amid the blame game, Harry’s budding relationship with Julia Brasher has tongues wagging, and identifying the body takes second stage to office politics. Thus the book drifts for a while, with Bosch still methodically checking out possible witnesses and family members.

To this reader it seems a peculiarly (though not exclusively) American thing of partnering of uniforms and detectives. Add to that Navy Seal “buddies” and Mormons travelling the world in pairs - perhaps a throwback to the days of the stagecoach with a driver and someone riding shotgun. And while a partner adds strength, it can also lead to challenges if the partners don’t always see eye-to-eye. Another avoidable death, the police covering for their own, and Harry Bosch considers his future.

This was one of the better earlier ones in the series, but I probably would have appreciated it more had I read it a decade ago, and more emphasis on forensics and less on personalities.
Profile Image for Fred.
571 reviews77 followers
September 8, 2022
Detective Harry Bosch Returns with a difficult “track” of bones to find & uncover a murder trail.

Dr. Paul Guyot MD, called to report his dog found “an arm bone of a kid” on a steep hill behind his home. His dog helps Bosch find more bones scattered under dirt, including a child’s hand. This is near a Hollywood street named Wonderland.

After seeing a TV news report, Shelia Delacroix called to say 20+ years ago, she lived near Wonderland & her brother, Arthur(12) had disappeared after being hospitalized with “head injuries” from skateboarding with his best friend, Johnny Stokes(13).

This helped them get the case started finding a 1980 police report with a boy’s hospital medical record for “head injuries” to confirm it was Arthur.

Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch
Bosch searches for suspects...

1. Don Blaylock - Set Director runs a foster home & has the skateboard with Arthur’s initials?
2. Nicholas Trent - neighbor, punished molesting a 9 year old boy in 1966?
3. Johnny Stokes - his best friend growing up mostly in & out of foster homes?
4. Samuel Delacroix (dad) - confesses but why prove him innocent?

I found the death/killer of Alex Delacroix is a.....nice surprise on what happened, what was he doing & it was well written.
Profile Image for Candace Moser.
6 reviews7 followers
February 19, 2011
About halfway through the 2 hour drive to my in-laws' house, I realized that I had forgotten to bring a book or 2. I figured I would find something to read at their house. I started it on Friday evening around 7, and I had finished it by early Saturday afternoon, it was a quick and easy read. It wasn't a bad story, it just wasn't a great one. It follows Hieronymus Bosch, a Hollywood detective who kind of brings to mind a slightly less jaded version of Bruce Willis' character in The Last Boyscout. His character is entertaining but not original. The case he is working is actually interesting, but it kind of peters out once they start figuring things out-and honestly, I thought the whole thing, overall, was a bit anticlimactic. There is also a romance thrown in there that just seems like, "what the hell just happened and why?" It opens up a character with minimal development (but enough to make you want more) and then snuffs her out in, quite possibly, the most "wtf?" scenario possible.
Profile Image for kartik narayanan.
739 reviews207 followers
December 6, 2018

City of Bones is an amazing Bosch novel. I knew the ending - sort of - since I have seen season 1 of the TV series but this book still held my attention right till the end. An intriguing mystery, murky organizational politics, tons of red herrings - all of them come together to make this one of the best detective fiction stories ever.
Profile Image for Scott.
448 reviews54 followers
September 11, 2019
** Continuing my read and review of Michael Connelly’s Detective Bosch series **

Connelly’s 12th book and the 8th outing with Bosch - “City of Bones” - was published back in 2002 before cell-phones and social media played a key role in police work. Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch is a Vietnam war veteran and a twenty-year police officer serving in the Los Angeles, California police department. Harry was previously a star in the Robbery/Homicide division, working out of the LA city headquarters. However, Harry’s bad habit of fighting the formal structure of the police department and especially those in leadership positions has had him demoted to the Hollywood detective squad.

Harry’s eighth outing starts with our fearless detective responding to calls on New Year’s Day, which are turning out to be primarily messy suicides. That is, until a dog finds a bone in Laurel Canyon and brings it to his owner, a retired doctor who recognizes it as being human. The doctor calls it in and Harry arrives on the scene to discover a shallow grave in the nearby woods and more bones of a child.

Bosch and his partner, Jerry Edgar, are put in charge of the twenty-year-old cold case, but everything starts to fall apart before they can get any traction. Their first person of interest has a hidden past that gets leaked to the press and all hell breaks loose, putting added pressure and attention on the investigation from both the news media, as well as internal affairs.

In addition, Harry is having to deal with other problems on a personal level. First, the abuse that the young victim appears to have suffered before being killed is bringing back bad memories of Harry’s own childhood growing up as an orphan. Second, Harry is introduced to a new woman, a rookie cop named Julia Brasher who is trying overly hard to successfully make it through her probation period. In addition, she has an eye for Harry and an assertive way of getting his attention. Although Harry is not supposed to date fellow officers, especially since he is in a lead role, the temptation is too great, which leads to further problems and complications for more than just his current case.

As usually, Harry cannot let go of the case and his passion for exploring the dark takes over. However, so much time has passed and the only real clue is a skateboard found during a search. Bosch and his partner find themselves digging through records of missing and runaway teenagers from two decades ago. The further Bosch investigates his victim’s past, the bigger the political fallout and media frenzy grows, and the deeper his personal entanglements get. Will he be able to keep control long enough to solve the crime or will he be pushed beyond his own breaking point and make a life changing decision?

Like the previous books, this one takes place over a short period of time. In this case, about two weeks. The two primary plots – the investigation of the missing teenager and Bosch’s new relationship with a rookie cop – are told in a fast-paced, rhythmic style that gets your immediate attention and pulls you willingly into the unfolding storylines. Connelly’s prior experience as a journalist shines through. There are no wasted words and his descriptions are crisp and larger than life. Connelly moves back and forth between the two plots smoothly and effortlessly, making you feel like you are standing there right next to Harry the whole time.

This time out I was especially drawn into the intricate and political interaction between law-enforcement, the media, and the public. No one describes a police investigation from start to finish better than Connelly. He uses Bosch’s struggles with the inner police department processes and leadership, as well as the frenzied reporting approaches of the new media, to show (not tell) how complex the real world is when trying to serve in the world of law enforcement. Connelly paints a vivid and conflicting picture of how relationships, politics, and the tensions leak out into the news processes and the public perceptions. A cop’s life is not easy, and part of the conflict for the reader is watching Bosch face so many challenges as he tries so hard to do the right thing (and yes, sometimes using the wrong approach).

As I have described in my previous reviews, there are so many strengths that Connelly has as a writer. He is a master of plotting, characters, and setting – mixing each one together in a winning synergistic style of his own. However, this time I found myself a bit disjointed when reaching the end of this book. I was surprised by two things that I hadn’t been before in any of his previous books. I want to be careful in giving too much away if you haven’t read the book yet…

The first thing is that I felt the murder mystery lacked a bit of clarity in connecting the dots between the clues to the perpetrator. Although Harry figured out in his mind who committed the murder, it felt like there wasn’t that same confirmation and closure for me as a reader. Yes, we were told who the guilty party was, but that person never really admitted to and confirmed his/her guilt and the related motive to provide the necessary closure I was expecting. And the reason for that is another hinted at mystery of its own. We’ll stop with that.

The second thing is the same type of clarity and confusion in the outcome of Harry’s relationship with Julia. I know what happened from a physical sense, but her psychology, motivation, and behavior was not really explored or explained enough to keep me from scratching my head. I think I know what she was doing or trying to do… But none of her past history and secrets were ever revealed enough to provide enough understanding of her internal reasons for what really took place.

Maybe Connelly intended one or both of those outcomes to make me think. I don’t know. It’s just that this was the first time that I felt some things were not really wrapped up and convincing enough.

Overall, my nitpicking does not take away from what was, otherwise, another strong outing with my favorite literary detective - Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch. It was well worth the read and two nights of less sleep that went with it. Also, after that major, what-the-heck, surprise (no spoilers), at the end of this one, I cannot wait to open the pages on the next Bosch book, “Lost Light”.
Profile Image for Laura.
676 reviews143 followers
July 18, 2023
In this installment of the Harry Bosch Universe a dog uncovers the bones of a long-buried child. It's a cold case but, he won't give up until the truth is uncovered despite many obstacles.
Profile Image for Scott Rhee.
1,884 reviews74 followers
January 5, 2015
The title of Michael Connelly’s eighth book to feature his hero-detective Harry Bosch, “City of Bones”, refers to a term used by crime scene investigators to describe the sight of an old crime scene, where the body has deteriorated down to the bones. Oftentimes nature will scatter bones throughout a general area, especially if the grave is a shallow one, and the resultant grid that CSI forms is dubbed a “city of bones”.

The title has another, more metaphorical, meaning, as well. It refers to the fact that, like bones in a shallow grave, everyone has a secret story to tell. Everyone has skeletons in the closet.

When a dog brings his owner a human bone back from the Hollywood Hills, Detective Bosch is called to the scene. It’s New Year’s Day. Bosch isn’t expecting much. He doesn’t even think the bone is human, but he is required to check anyway.

Unfortunately, Bosch finds the rest of the body. It is that of a child. It’s been in the ground for roughly 20 years.

The case affects Bosch emotionally, for reasons that he can’t even explain. It brings back memories of his childhood as an orphan, shuffled through foster homes. It forces him to remember how lonely and depressed he was as a child and how those feelings haven’t really gone too far.

The case also quickly becomes a media-driven spectacle.

When news of the case leaks to the press, it results in the suicide of a potential suspect, a man whose horrible secrets---while having nothing to do with the present case---have inadvertently come back to haunt him.

Now Internal Affairs is breathing down Bosch’s neck. They think he either purposely leaked info or accidentally let the info get to the press. In either case, it’s a total fuck-up and a serious impediment to the case.

On top of all this, Bosch has begun dating a rookie cop. Besides being a violation of departmental regulations (Bosch is, after all, a senior officer), it also may be interfering with the case. He also suspects that she is hiding something pretty bad from her own past, something that has repercussions on her present state of mind.

Everyone involved in the case seems to have some secret from the past that haunts him or her. Skeletons are pouring out of closets.

For once, Bosch isn’t the only one dealing with a turbulent past.

As always, Connelly creates a gripping and emotional story. His police procedural is, as always, fascinating and probably more in-depth and realistic than any episode of CSI or Law & Order. It’s the human element, though, that truly breathes life in to this “city of bones”.
Profile Image for Laura.
772 reviews280 followers
June 12, 2020
4.5 stars. No matter what is going on, you can always count on Michael Connelly to interrupt it, in the best of ways. If you want to lose yourself in a book, you can't go wrong with his work. You're immersed before the first chapter is over and the chapters are short!

The ending genuinely surprised me. I'm very very curious how he picks up this thread in the ninth book. I don't want to give anything away or I'd say more.

I really wish I had the ninth book in my hands right now because I would pick it right up. There are very few series I want to read back to back. This is one of them. There was a new audiobook narrator for this one, but once I got used to him, I enjoyed the performance. It wasn't as great as the previous one but I would give it four stars out of five.

You can't go wrong with anything Connelly writes. He appeals to everyone I know who enjoys mysteries.
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