Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When You Can't Identify with the Main Character...

Hoo-boy. It's been a while. I know. I've added the blog to my Tuesday to-do list, so hopefully once a week I will really, truly be here, giving you news and reviews and exposing you to fun stuff.

So. First things first. You may have heard something lately about the FCC cracking down on book bloggers. No, I'm not kidding. Apparently, there is some rampant problem with publishers *gasp* giving bloggers copies of their books for free, to read and review, and the bloggers not stating that they got a free book for this purpose. Can you say YAWN?! Seriously? Do our governmental agencies have so little to do that THIS is a major concern? Because I can think of a thing or two that they might do instead. So here's my disclaimer: I have not ever received a free book from a publisher. Ever. For any purpose. And I don't anticipate getting one in the future. With that, I'll jump down from the soapbox.

Okay. I read this book months ago, but I'm going to do my best. The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly is a book in his series of mysteries about Detective Harry Bosch. I picked this up because an author I adore recommended it as one of her favorite mystery series, and this her favorite of the series. I am a mystery lover, so I immediately put it on the to-read list.

The premise is that Harry was on a case a long time ago - something like 9 years ago - that was a serial killer case. And he shot and killed a guy who he had good reason to believe was the killer in a situation where he thought the guy was reaching for a gun. Turns out he was reaching for a toupee, but Harry didn't know that until after he had shot him. After the kill, though, all evidence pointed to the fact that he still shot the right guy - the scary Dollmaker serial killer. The guy's family, however, has now brought a civil suit against him for wrongful death. Meanwhile, bodies have started turning up again bearing the marks of the Dollmaker killings. Harry is caught in a courtroom drama combined with a fear that maybe he did somehow, despite the evidence, get the wrong guy and the Dollmaker is really still out there.

Sounds exciting. Didn't really grab me. There are a lot of fans of this series - a LOT - and I am no stranger to the mass market paperback series in the mystery section. I kinda like a lot of them. But this one...was fine. It wasn't bad, but I never bonded with the main character. I was also driven nearly insane by Connelly's habit of "recycling" famous people's names in his characters - something that I'm sure fans find cute, but Heironymous Bosch is already a famous, real-life 15th century Dutch painter. He doesn't also need to be a fictional LA cop in Connelly's books. John Locke also makes an appearance as a fictional psychologist specializing in serial killers and sex crimes. I prefer the real John Locke, the philosopher. And every time I read these names, I was jolted out of the story in annoyance.

I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading this book. The story is well-written and well-crafted; it had me guessing as to whodunnit until near the big reveal. I just...did not identify with Bosch. And have no desire to read more about his life. Maybe that's just a thing with me, but them's my two cents.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Jen! Glad to know that you haven't received a free book from a publisher and so democracy is safe for another day. (Ye gollies! I'm with you. Don't they have anything better to do???????) Anyway, I appreciate this thoughtful entry. I might try one of his just to see, as I, too, am a mystery fan, but I won't expect to love it!