Amazon Best of the Month, October 2009: An investigation into a cold-blooded murder introduces Detective Harry Bosch to a Chinese underworld lurking in the dark recesses of the City of Angels. Its tentacles are far reaching, yet it remains shrouded in secrecy due to time-honored cultural traditions that keep the exploited from speaking out. To the victim's family, Bosch promises revenge, but when his own daughter suddenly becomes a target, he promises blood. However, working a case with leads on both sides of the Pacific provides little room (or time) for error. 9 Dragons is a gritty, coffee-and-cigarettes crime thriller full of smart twists and generous helpings of suspense. Fans of Michael Connelly can expect another exceptional thrill ride, while newcomers will be immediately engaged by the tortured and unrelenting Bosch. "He knew one day it would come to this, that the darkness would find [his daughter] and that she would be used to get him," writes Connelly. "That day was now." --Dave Callanan
LAPD Detective Harry Bosch is off the chain in the fastest, fiercest, and highest-stakes case of his life.
Fortune Liquors is a small shop in a tough South L.A. neighborhood, a store Bosch has known for years. The murder of John Li, the store's owner, hits Bosch hard, and he promises Li's family that he'll find the killer.
The world Bosch steps into next is unknown territory. He brings in a detective from the Asian Gang Unit for help with translation--not just of languages but also of the cultural norms and expectations that guided Li's life. He uncovers a link to a Hong Kong triad, a lethal and far-reaching crime ring that follows many immigrants to their new lives in the U.S.
And instantly his world explodes. The one good thing in Bosch's life, the person he holds most dear, is taken from him and Bosch travels to Hong Kong in an all-or-nothing bid to regain what he's lost. In a place known as Nine Dragons, as the city's Hungry Ghosts festival burns around him, Bosch puts aside everything he knows and risks everything he has in a desperate bid to outmatch the triad's ferocity.
Bestseller Connelly nimbly balances Harry Bosch's personal and professional lives, both of which take a substantial beating, in his 14th novel to feature the LAPD homicide detective. Bosch, last seen with his recently discovered half-brother, lawyer Mickey Haller, in The Brass Verdict (2008), investigates the shooting death of a liquor store owner. While the murder has none of the hallmarks of a regular gang hit, Bosch discovers the dead man was paying a weekly protection fee to a man Bosch suspects is part of a Chinese triad. Even though Bosch is warned to drop the case, he doesn't take the threat seriously until he receives a video showing his 13-year-old daughter, Madeline, being kidnapped in Hong Kong, where she lives with her mother and Bosch's ex-wife, a former FBI agent. Bosch flies to Hong Kong to try to rescue Madeline, prepared to face down one of the world's most powerful crime syndicates. Tenacious as ever, Bosch is even more formidable in his role as a protective father. 10-city author tour. (Oct. 13)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
By the time their series reach a 15th installment, authors tend to fall back on the status quo, putting familiar characters in recognizable situations. Not so with Connelly, who continues to explore the darkest reaches of Harry Bosch's psyche in ways that will surprise even Connelly's die-hard fans. In fact, it is the author's deft combination of police procedural and taut psychological suspense that separates Bosch from other fictional crime detectives. A few critics thought that the condensed time frame led to some unbelievable scenes, but the majority hailed Nine Dragons as one of Connelly's best. Introducing plotlines that will influence Bosch well into the future (his career in books has so far covered nearly two decades, starting with the 1990 Edgar-winning Black Echo), Nine Dragons once again illustrates Connelly's magic touch.
Nine Dragons ignites Bosch's personal and professional lives, bringing them together in an explosive manner....Harry's feverish race against the clock and the international dateline...plunges the reader into a firestorm of danger and tragedy....To say that Nine Dragons is coiled tight with suspense understates Connelly's accomplishment in portraying Bosch at the cusp of a new world." (Los Angeles TimesPaula L. Woods )
"A Michael Connelly novel is a thing of cool beauty, meticulously plotted, rigorously controlled....In Nine Dragons, Bosch's crisp, cold-eyed rationality is blown to smithereens. Stoicism goes right out the window. And the vivid drama of this contrast gives the novel its ferocious energy. Once under way, you can't stop reading Nine Dragons, and not just because you want to know whodunit. You want to know how Bosch is going to operate in a whole new kind of darkness." (Chicago TribuneJulia Keller )
"May be the most wrenching Bosch novel yet....The jagged intersection between a cop's personal and professional lives is a recurring theme in many crime novels, but never has it been portrayed with the razor-edge sharpness and psychological acuity that Connelly brings to the subjects. And that's layered underneath the nonstop action of the novel's last half-the kind of full-throttle, blood-spattered narrative road race one associates with Lee Child or Stephen Hunter." (BooklistBill Ott )
"Engrossing...one of the best in this series. Nine Dragons works as a gripping police procedural, an intense character study and an international thriller....Connelly is one of the best living crime writers and the consistency of his work continues through Nine Dragons." (South Florida Sun-SentinelOline H. Cogdill )
"Bosch is back...this latest appearance is a complex and meticulously crafted tale...packed with jump and juice....This is Bosch at his sharpest and Connelly at his most engaging. High-voltage stuff." (OregonianKatherine Dunn )
"Bestseller Connelly nimbly balances Harry Bosch's personal and professional lives....Tenacious as ever, Bosch is even more formidable in his role as a protective father." (Publishers Weekly )
"Connelly unveils his most personal Bosch story yet with this fish-out-of-water story. The pages fly...another Connelly masterpiece." (Library JournalJeff Ayers )
"Remarkably fine....With Nine Dragons, Connelly has taken a chance by transforming a character millions have come to know well. In doing so, he has made Harry Bosch more human and interesting than ever." (Associated PressBruce DeSilva )
"Connelly is in top form with the Bosch tale, his 15th: the story unfolds with exquisite procedural details; unexpected violence; and increased insight into the stoic, jazz-loving, relentless, flawed detective who bears the burden of every case." (Columbus DispatchNancy Gilson )
Michael Connelly, a #1 New York Times bestselling novelist and a former journalist, has won numerous crime fiction prizes. He lives in Florida.
From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com Reviewed by by Donna Rifkind Michael Connelly's crime novels are so infused with Los Angeles atmosphere that some readers might have trouble imagining his key protagonist, Detective Harry Bosch, surviving for long in any other environment. In more than a dozen previous novels, Bosch has occasionally followed a case beyond L.A. -- to Mexico, say, or Las Vegas. But the City of Angels is where he begins and ends his work, searching every overlook and underpass in his single-minded mission to bring murderers to justice. Bosch is feeling his age after more than 30 years spent working homicide, mostly for the LAPD, and now relies mostly on momentum. "I just want to keep moving," he insists throughout his latest case, which takes him from Los Angeles all the way to Hong Kong. By sending the cop so far from his beat, is Connelly trying to shore up an aging series, to reinvigorate a worn-out hero? No and no. There's still plenty of juice in the older but fiercer Bosch. As the new novel begins, he's eagerly awaiting a new assignment at Homicide Special while losing patience with his young partner, Detective Ignacio Ferras, whose dedication to police work seems to be waning. Faithful readers know that Hong Kong isn't a far-fetched destination for Bosch. In "Lost Light" (2003), he discovered he had a daughter named Madeline, who's now 13 and living in Hong Kong with her mother, an ex-FBI agent. Harry visits Maddie regularly and keeps in close touch via texting, video and e-mail on matching late-model cellphones that they bought together. (This capitulation to digital tech is a sure sign of paternal devotion: In the last Bosch novel, "The Overlook," famously old-fashioned Harry was dependent on his partner, Ignacio, to help him work a BlackBerry.) Bosch's latest case begins close to home, in a familiar South L.A. neighborhood. In fact, the victim is someone he knew. John Li was the 70-ish owner of Fortune Liquors, located just a few blocks from the epicenter of the 1992 riots. Bosch had been involved in a case on this gang-infested street 12 years ago and remembers the store and its proprietor well. Now Li, a Chinese immigrant who stubbornly refused to relocate despite a slew of dangerous robberies and the urgings of his wife and grown children, has been shot dead behind the store's counter. "Three in the chest was not personal. It was business," Bosch notes of this particular murder. But he doubts that his first suspect, a teenage shoplifter, was the shooter: "That would be too easy and there were things about the case that defied easy." Instead, with the help of a young detective from the Asian Gang Unit, he gathers clues suggesting that Li owed protection money to a Hong Kong triad, a criminal organization with origins in 17th-century China. When Bosch gets a menacing call on his office phone warning him to back off the case, he's not especially fazed. But everything changes after he receives a cellphone video containing evidence that Maddie has been kidnapped in Hong Kong. Was there a leak within the various police departments involved in the investigation? And how can Bosch begin to penetrate the shadowy triad, whose lethal influence on both sides of the Pacific is now threatening his own daughter? With no time to brood, Harry jumps on a plane and counts on pure momentum to propel him through a frantic 39-hour "day" in which he races through Hong Kong and its environs to try to rescue Maddie. But that momentum, while crucial, comes with a price: In his adrenaline-charged pursuit, Bosch puts lives in jeopardy and leaves a trail of blood behind him when he returns to Los Angeles. Connelly has taken his hero into unfamiliar territory in more ways than one. Bosch's dash through an intensely atmospheric foreign city -- teeming, incomprehensibly chaotic, dense with smoke from the rites of an ancient festival -- is, for the first time, the duty of a terrified parent as well as a professional detective. Forced to give up any pretense of bulletproof independence, from now on the lone-wolf cop "would be forever connected to the world in the way only a father knew." It's tempting to look at Connelly's large oeuvre -- which includes novels starring two other engaging protagonists, lawyer Mickey Haller and journalist Jack McEvoy -- as one huge, Trollopean vision of the way we live now, offering a swift, up-to-the-minute mosaic of contemporary urban life by exploring every corner of the criminal justice system, from ganglands to gated communities, from office cubicles to forensic labs, from boom times to recessions. "Nine Dragons" continues to broaden that vision through Bosch's eyes with an installment that's at once more global and more intimate than anything Connelly has published since his first novel, "The Black Echo" (1992). [email protected]
Copyright 2009, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.