Hello everyone and welcome to August’s #bookofthemonth discussion.
If you’ve been following my blog and my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you’ll already know that today I am going to be discussing Michael Connelly’s City Of Bones.
Let’s dive into August’s Book Of The Month.
The plot of City Of Bones revolves around Detective Harry Bosch as he investigates a cold case after bones were discovered. As he investigates, he learns that the bones belonged to a twelve year old boy who was murdered twenty years ago, and as Bosch digs into the past and uncovers the horrific abuse this poor boy endured, he becomes more and more determined to find his killer so that justice can be done.
As this investigation plays out, Bosch also faces demons from his own past while also balancing a new romance, but things are never easy. Bosch’s love affair with a female police officer causes gossip and raised eyebrows but nevertheless things seem to be going well, until a mission goes terribly amiss and Bosch is faced with questions and confusion and decisions that must be made. Bosch has always had a turbulent career and his penchant for trouble does not go away in this book. Bosch wants to do what is right, he’s got great gut instincts, and although he might be a pain at times, I found him to be a very moving character as in my opinion, he is motivated by grief.
So let’s talk about Connelly’s writing style. I am a fan of Michael Connelly and I get my love of his books from my mother who has talked about Michael Connelly’s books ever since I was very young. Something that I love about Connelly’s writing style is the level of detail and insight into police work that he features in his books. There is a lot of what I am going to call “investigative jargon”. Bosch talks about procedure, he talks about warrants, he talks about securing the crime scene correctly, etc. There are some instances where I do really have to concentrate while reading, for instance when Bosch and the medical examiner are talking about the boy’s bones and his injuries, because the medical jargon is not something that I would ever encounter in my real life. It is quite complex and I would say if you are not used to that sort of language then this may be a challenging read however this level of detail is something that fans of Connelly will expect to see and I personally really enjoy the challenge.
I love the level of detail that is found in Connelly’s books because in my opinion, the use of this detailed, insightful, serious language makes the seriousness of the crime feel more tangible. There are some detective or crime novels that you read and while the crime is there, it doesn’t always feel so serious or central because the detectives take over the plot and it almost becomes about the detective only. While Bosch is the main protagonist, it never feels as though Bosch overshadows the case. The level of detail that Connelly puts into the story makes the case the key focus of the plot because the case is Bosch’s main priority. It is what he is focusing on. This is a serious job and this is a serious case and the case’s magnitude is always highlighted. Bosch is a detective and he sees horrible crimes all the time. This case stands out. This is his job, but this case has taken hold of Bosch. It has become personal. He cannot accept the politics that are at play in the police department. If you know the character of Bosch in any way, either from the books or from the television show Bosch, then you will know that there is always a tension between Bosch and the department. Bosch’s view is that the department’s brass care more about the department’s image than achieving justice and he cannot understand that. He is thinking about that little boy, and the hellish life he endured, and he is thinking about how he was buried in a shallow grave and left to be forgotten about. Well Harry Bosch won’t forget. He can’t forget. He is determined to find the killer even if it’s not easy for the department. Bosch’s superiors make some incredibly shocking decisions which left me as a reader feeling frustrated and annoyed but also incredibly engrossed in the story.
The plot is quite fast paced and Connelly is a master of plot twists. If you are a fan of his work then you’ll know that he has an amazing talent for taking his readers by surprise. As you approach the end of the book, the investigation races to a shocking conclusion and as always, there will be no spoilers here, but I was so impressed. I was making guesses and predictions as I was reading but I was still very taken aback by how the story ends and even if you have never read a Michael Connelly book before in your life, I would recommend this one. It was fantastic. I really like how the pace is fast however it is not frantic. There are some very somber, very poignant moments and Connelly allows them to settle. As a reader, I found myself absorbing the darker moments. They weren’t raced through or glossed over, nor were they rehashed or melodramatic. There are times that I feel that Connelly allows his characters to simply be. It is the silences and the rests within the fast paced plot that stick out, that stay in your memory and there are some beautiful lines that just have a way of hitting on a heartstring.
As a character, Bosch grows personally and professionally and the events of his personal life leave him with so many questions. He is at a crossroads and I like that we do not know what way he will sway. Connelly’s supporting characters, even if they are very minor, are always very interesting and well fleshed out. Every character is relevant to the plot even if they are only present for a few pages. I don’t love every character, I’m not supposed to. They are not all likeable people, but they are relevant people and there are times when you think you’ve figured out who the killer is only for it to be one of Connelly’s brilliant placed red herrings. The plot, while always focused on the case, is layered and complex but despite some of the more challenging medical and police jargon, it never feels too complicated to the point where the reader feels lost.
The only critique I would say that I have is that the ending feels a little abrupt but I think this is partially because I was so invested in the plot and in the case and I truly couldn’t put this book down so I was actually a bit disappointed when I came to the end and it was finished. Overall I think that the ending, while a bit abrupt, is fitting and very well written. Most importantly in my opinion, the ending is very fitting and inline with Bosch’s character. It doesn’t feel like it came out of nowhere, it is very much Bosch. I will never spoil a story on Katelovesliterature.com so if you want to see what I am talking about then you should definitely ready City Of Bones yourself.
City Of Bones delves into some very heavy themes such as murder, missing children, abuse and abused children, suicide, shootings, death and grief. So I do understand that some people may find these topics too heavy or even triggering but I think that when you sit down to read a book like this, a book that is about the discovery of a child’s bones then you should open the book with the expectation of some more serious themes. It is a difficult read in the sense that it is a very emotional read. The case is a tragic one and as more evidence comes to light, the more your heart will ache for this poor boy. I would say that while Connelly is a detailed writer and the forensic elements are fascinating, I would also say he is a brilliant writer when it comes to capturing emotions. In this book in particular, I felt that Connelly really gave us an insight into Bosch’s head. I felt that I really began to understand him as a character because we were given insight into what makes him tick, and how he investigates, and the way he thinks and even with his new love interest, it feels for the first time that Bosch truly has connected with another person and I think that you would hope that there are people like Bosch in the world, people who will do what is right despite the political chess pieces that are always at play.
The story was gripping and compelling. The characters were realistic and nuanced and very easy to become engrossed by. The pace was fast, this is a story that you will read quickly in my opinion because if you’re like me then you won’t want to put it down. I was moved by this book and by this case and I think that if you read it, it will become clear why so many people love Michael Connelly. I would highly recommend this book and I would also recommend watching the tv series because I think that the essence of the book was captured really well onscreen and I may talk about this in more detail at another time because I think looking at how things can be taken from pages and translated onto a tv screen to tell the story through a different medium can be really interesting, but that is a blog post for another day.
This has been my discussion of Michael Connelly’s City Of Bones. This has been August’s Book Of The Month. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have read City Of Bones, then I would love to hear your thoughts on it so drop some comments below and keep an eye out because I will be announcing September’s #bookofthemonth very soon.
Here’s to September. I hope you all have a great month. We are moving into autumn and winter which are my favourite seasons so I am very excited for all that is to come. Stay tuned!