In his first case since he left the LAPD’s Open Unsolved Unit for the prestigious Homicide Special squad, Harry Bosch is called out to investigate a murder that may have chilling consequences for national security. A doctor with access to a dangerous radioactive substance is found murdered in the trunk of his car. Retracing his steps, Harry learns that a large quantity of radioactive cesium was stolen shortly before the doctor’s death. With the cesium in unknown hands, Harry fears the murder could be part of a terrorist plot to poison a major American city.
Soon, Bosch is in a race against time, not only against the culprits, but also against the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI (in the form of Harry’s one-time lover Rachel Walling), who are convinced that this case is too important for the likes of the LAPD. It is Bosch’s job to prove all of them wrong.
Reviewers were somewhat abrupt about perennial bestseller Connelly’s 13th Harry Bosch novel: a quick read, almost half the length of Connelly’s previous novels, said one; a tasty hors d’oeuvre quipped another. How smart and fortunate for listeners that Hachette Audio has turned to veteran Connelly reader Len Cariou for some added weight. Cariou catches all the strength and sadness behind Bosch’s minimal dialogue and is also perfect as Harry’s LAPD colleagues, female and male. He is especially good at bringing to frightening life the real villains: the federal investigators, headed by a former Bosch lover, FBI agent Rachel Walling. The Feds are trying to take over the case of a body found on an overlook near Mulholland Drive—a doctor who turns out to have had access to radioactive materials stored at hospitals throughout L.A. All praise to Hachette for getting Cariou to help us through it. The production boasts original music by Frank Morgan.
Michael Connelly originally published The Overlook as a serialized novella in the New York Times Magazine; the 16 sections contained 3,000 words each. Although expanded to novel form, The Overlook weighs in as a good, if slim (and perhaps, as a few critics claim, slight), addition to the Harry Bosch series. For the most part, the novel succeeds in maintaining Connelly’s trademark fast-paced action, plot twists, suspense, and spare, humorous writing-all over the course of 12 hours. Some reviewers cited tired characters, dull romance, a bizarre time frame, and plotting missteps, but for followers of Harry Bosch, The Overlook is a worthy addition.