How dark can you make a police procedural? Michael Connelly pushes the familiar noir envelope into new dimensions in this dark-as-night-at-the-bottom-of-the-sea story. I call it a triple noir mystery because detective Hieronymus (rhymes with anonymous) Bosch
1. comes from a horrible family background (his mother was a woman who rented by the hour and was murdered, leaving Harry to the foster care system),
2. lived a nightmare as a tunnel-rat fighter in the Vietnamese War, and
3. this investigation has enough darkness in it to put out a search light.
The book's title is a reference back to tunnel fighting.
Most new detective series begin with a character who is breaking in. During the subsequent books, the detective gradually develops skill and a career.
Connelly does something different: Bosch is a virtually burned-out case who lives only to bring down the bad guys (be they in LAPD or outside). He's beyond the classic rebel without a cause (James Dean would have been frightened of our Harry). This story picks up on Harry after he's well along on a slide in losing control over his anger.
It's the weekend and Harry's partner is out selling real estate. Harry covers what appears to be an OD by an addict until things don't add up. Pushing forward, Harry convinces himself it's a murder. No one is happy about it. But life is proceeding until Harry checks in with the FBI to find out about a bank robbery that seems connected. Harry feels like he's stepped into something he shouldn't, but the icy FBI agent, Eleanor Wish, attracts his interest anyway. Soon, the LAPD Internal Affairs team is after Harry. Can he brazen it out and keep his investigation?
This story has more surprises in it than you would expect. Harry also goes off like a Roman candle at the slightest provocation. His "payback" often reminds me of "Dirty Harry." Some of them are pretty funny, but all are powerful. You'll be cheering.
You'll know something funny is going on in the investigation, but you won't be ahead of Harry in figuring it out. Black Echo makes for a more interesting, adventure-laden story that way.
Start here and work through the novels in the order they were written. You have some amazing treats ahead of you.