"City of Bones" is Michael Connelly's thirteenth book, his eighth to feature Harry Bosch and was first published in 2002. Orphaned at the age of twelve when his mother was murdered, Bosch spent his teenage years in and out of orphanages. He enlisted in the army and served in Viet-Nam, before returning home to Los Angeles and joining the police force. Once a member of the LAPD's elite RHD (Robbery-Homicide Division), he was demoted in the Hollywood Division following an Internal Affairs investigation. Bosch has occasionally been seen by some as a maverick, but increasingly by others as a 'man with a mission' and an excellent homicide investigator. Harry is one of the senior detectives at Hollywood's homicide table, and is Squad One's team leader. Although he continues to work with Jerry Edgar, the team's third member - Kiz Rider - has yet to be replaced following her promotion to RHD.
"City of Bones" provides both a difficult case and a rough ride for Harry. A retired doctor makes a call to the department, saying that his dog had returned from a run in the Hollywood Hills carrying a human bone. A number of calls like this are made every year, which normally turn out to be bogus: however, this time, there is no mistake. Dr. Guyot, the caller, has correctly identified it as a child's humerus and has also identified a healed fracture on the bone. Using the dog to discover where the humerus had been buried, a subsequent, more detailed search recovers about sixty per-cent of the skeleton. This includes the skull, where the fatal blow was apparently struck. The remains are of a boy, possibly as young as ten, and show evidence of several years worth of chronic abuse. The best initial guess for the time of death, meanwhile, is between the mid-seventies and the mid-eighties - making the investigation a 'cold case', the hardest cases to close. The first step, obviously, is to identify the victim - a process that included looking at the list of missing persons who match the criteria for age and the time of disappearance. As harsh as it sounds, the injuries that made the boy's life so difficult may provide the key identifying him - and, possibly, the killer.
When Bosch first arrives at Dr. Guyot's house, a couple of uniformed cops are already there. The junior partner, Julia Brasher, is a rookie (or 'boot') who Bosch is immediately attracted to. Given that Bosch is at supervisor level, it's against regulations to allow anything other than a professional relationship between the pair. However, given a pretty face, who also seems rather taken with him, and a chance to bend the rules, there's generally only one thing Harry Bosch is capable of doing...and when Bosch bends the rules, it generally means trouble.
After "A Darkness More Than Night", when the action was divided between Harry and Terry McCaleb, this is a return to a 'straightforward' Bosch book - and is much better for having only one 'main' character. You won't feel too left out if you've never read any of the other Bosch books before. However, it's probably better if you've read at least a couple of them : there's a few passing references to some of the events of his previous adventures - the story behind his scar on his shoulder and his relationship with Teresa Corazon, for example. Recommended.